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Double Trio: Tej Bet, So's Notice, Nerve Church: Limited Edition Box Set

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For thirty-five years American poet Nathaniel Mackey has been writing a long poem of fugitive making like no other: two elegiac, intertwined serial poems—“Song of the Andoumboulou” and “Mu”—that follow a mysterious, migrant “we” through the rhythms and currents of the world with lyrical virtuosity and impassioned expectancy. In a note to this astonishing box set of new wor For thirty-five years American poet Nathaniel Mackey has been writing a long poem of fugitive making like no other: two elegiac, intertwined serial poems—“Song of the Andoumboulou” and “Mu”—that follow a mysterious, migrant “we” through the rhythms and currents of the world with lyrical virtuosity and impassioned expectancy. In a note to this astonishing box set of new work, Mackey writes:      “I turned sixty-five within a couple of months of beginning to write Double Trio and I was within a couple of months of turning seventy-one when I finished it.... It was a period of distress and precarity inside and outside both. During this period, a certain disposition or dispensation came upon me that I would characterize or sum up with the words all day music. It was a period during which I wanted never not to be thinking between poetry and music, poetry and the daily or the everyday, the everyday and the alter-everyday. Philosophically and technically, the work meant to be always pertaining to the relation of parts to one another and of parts to an evolving whole.”       Structured in part after the last three movements of John Coltrane’s Meditations—“Love,” “Consequence,” and “Serenity”—Double Trio stretches the explorations and improvisations of free jazz into unprecedented poetic territory.


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For thirty-five years American poet Nathaniel Mackey has been writing a long poem of fugitive making like no other: two elegiac, intertwined serial poems—“Song of the Andoumboulou” and “Mu”—that follow a mysterious, migrant “we” through the rhythms and currents of the world with lyrical virtuosity and impassioned expectancy. In a note to this astonishing box set of new wor For thirty-five years American poet Nathaniel Mackey has been writing a long poem of fugitive making like no other: two elegiac, intertwined serial poems—“Song of the Andoumboulou” and “Mu”—that follow a mysterious, migrant “we” through the rhythms and currents of the world with lyrical virtuosity and impassioned expectancy. In a note to this astonishing box set of new work, Mackey writes:      “I turned sixty-five within a couple of months of beginning to write Double Trio and I was within a couple of months of turning seventy-one when I finished it.... It was a period of distress and precarity inside and outside both. During this period, a certain disposition or dispensation came upon me that I would characterize or sum up with the words all day music. It was a period during which I wanted never not to be thinking between poetry and music, poetry and the daily or the everyday, the everyday and the alter-everyday. Philosophically and technically, the work meant to be always pertaining to the relation of parts to one another and of parts to an evolving whole.”       Structured in part after the last three movements of John Coltrane’s Meditations—“Love,” “Consequence,” and “Serenity”—Double Trio stretches the explorations and improvisations of free jazz into unprecedented poetic territory.

34 review for Double Trio: Tej Bet, So's Notice, Nerve Church: Limited Edition Box Set

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    (Note that this review is only for the first volume, Tej Bet. The three volumes of Double Trio are not listed separately on Goodreads, so I was forced to shelve them together like this.) Tej Bet was my first experience with Nathaniel Mackey’s poetry, and I must say it was very disappointing. I’m aware that Mackey has been working on “mu” and “Songs of the Andoumboulou” for decades, so perhaps that’s where I went wrong. Maybe reading his work in chronological order would be beneficial. As a stand- (Note that this review is only for the first volume, Tej Bet. The three volumes of Double Trio are not listed separately on Goodreads, so I was forced to shelve them together like this.) Tej Bet was my first experience with Nathaniel Mackey’s poetry, and I must say it was very disappointing. I’m aware that Mackey has been working on “mu” and “Songs of the Andoumboulou” for decades, so perhaps that’s where I went wrong. Maybe reading his work in chronological order would be beneficial. As a stand-alone volume of poetry, though, Tej Bet is largely nonsensical. Like a lot of contemporary poetry, it tries to fashion profundity from incomprehensibility — yet unlike the incomprehensibility of, say, John Ashbery, Mackey’s incomprehensibility is just that: incomprehensible, with seemingly no underlying rewards or mysteries. I can forgive poetic abstraction if it’s rooted in interesting diction or lyrical rhythms, but Mackey’s abstraction is hardly even identifiable as such. In many places, it reads like gibberish. There are so many dependent clauses thrown around that from a grammatical standpoint the poems are literally unreadable, reduced to a concoction of random ideas strewn about random lines of random phrases. Of course, given Mackey’s accolades, I know that these poems are not gibberish (i.e. he wrote them this way intentionally), but I think the question must be asked: at what point must a writer prioritize readability over experimentation? What purpose do these poems serve if no one can make heads or tails of them? I tried very hard to enjoy these poems, but after hours of reading them, I walked away with nothing to show for my effort but a headache.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maxarvo

    Just a brief defense as the other review is negative and unsympathetic. Mackey’s poetry and these projects are doing something actually new, and doing it in a masterful and beautiful way. The syntax and rhythm can’t be found anywhere else. The range of references and allusions and the allusions themselves are unique to Mackey too. It strikes me as both timely and timeless. Although Mackey is rooted in a lot of tradition and erudition, these works stand outside the traditional and the canonical, t Just a brief defense as the other review is negative and unsympathetic. Mackey’s poetry and these projects are doing something actually new, and doing it in a masterful and beautiful way. The syntax and rhythm can’t be found anywhere else. The range of references and allusions and the allusions themselves are unique to Mackey too. It strikes me as both timely and timeless. Although Mackey is rooted in a lot of tradition and erudition, these works stand outside the traditional and the canonical, though in the process I think make themselves works necessary to confront. I think you need to read this if you’re interested in what poetry can do, in general and in the 21st Century. These are big sprawling unique narratives and projects. P.S. I caught a Hart Crane allusion - “the versionary company of love” in Tej Bet; alluding to The Broken Tower: “And so it was I entered the broken world to trace the visionary company of love.” Mackey enters that world too, and traces that same visionary company.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ubaldimir Guerra

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ken Taylor

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  7. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

  8. 4 out of 5

    Verity

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ana

  10. 4 out of 5

    jen

  11. 5 out of 5

    Fareeda

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tom Storer

  13. 4 out of 5

    M Pierce Joyce

  14. 5 out of 5

    James

  15. 5 out of 5

    Giada

  16. 4 out of 5

    Will Hall

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dim Ak

  18. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melon109

  20. 4 out of 5

    Noe

  21. 5 out of 5

    ❂ Ann ❂

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gaius

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dave Holtz

  25. 4 out of 5

    Neal

  26. 5 out of 5

    Leah Levinson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Simon Harper

  28. 5 out of 5

    Poetry Daily

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leena Habiballa

  31. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  32. 5 out of 5

    Niko

  33. 5 out of 5

    John

  34. 4 out of 5

    Charity

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