Cover image for Discrepant engagement : dissonance, cross-culturality, and experimental writing
Discrepant engagement : dissonance, cross-culturality, and experimental writing
Mackey, Nathaniel, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Tuscaloosa : University of Alabama Press, 2000.

Physical Description:
vii, 313 pages ; 23 cm.
General Note:
Originally published: Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1993, in series: Cambridge studies in American literature and culture.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS221 .M24 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This highly regarded and frequently referenced work of literary criticism is essential to any study of avant garde poetics.

Nathaniel Mackey addresses the poetry and prose of a number of authors not commonly grouped together: black writers from the United States and the Caribbean and the so-called Black Mountain poets. Although they are seemingly disparate, these writers are united by their experimentation with style and form. Mackey, an important contemporary poet and critic, focuses on the experimental aspects of their work rather than on its subject matter or authorship to show that they all share an implied critique of conventional poetic practices.

Mackey analyzes the work of Black Mountain poets Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, and Charles Olson, African American poets Amiri Baraka and Clarence Major, and Caribbean writers Edward Kamau Brathwaite and Wilson Harris. He frequently brings the work of these authors into dialogue and juxtaposition, noting the parallels and counterpoint that exist among writers normally separated by ethnic, temporal, or regional boundaries. By insisting that their experimentation unites these writers rather than marginalizes them, Mackey questions traditional notions that underlie conventional perceptions and practice.

In his epilogue and bibliographic essay, volume editor Michael Conniff suggests new directions for further research and offers a comprehensive survey of the evolution of major writings, theories, and methodologies in the field.

Author Notes

Nathaniel Mackey is Professor of Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
1. Introduction: And All the Birds Sing Bassp. 1
2. The Changing Same: Black Music in the Poetry of Amiri Barakap. 22
3. To Define An Ultimate Dimness: The Poetry of Clarence Majorp. 49
4. The World-Poem in Microcosm: Robert Duncan's "The Continent"p. 66
5. Uroboros: Robert Duncan's Dante and A Seventeenth Century Suitep. 88
6. Robert Creeley's The Gold Diggers: Projective Prosep. 104
7. That Words Can Be on the Page: The Graphic Aspect of Charles Olson's Poeticsp. 121
8. New Series I (Folk Series): Edward Kamau Brathwaite's New World Trilogyp. 139
9. Limbo, Dislocation, Phantom Limb: Wilson Harris and the Caribbean Occasionp. 162
10. Poseidon (Dub Version)p. 180
11. The Unruly Pivot: Wilson Harris's The Eye of the Scarecrowp. 191
12. The Imagination of Justice: Wilson Harris's Ascent to Omaip. 214
13. Sound and Sentiment, Sound and Symbolp. 231
14. On Edgep. 260
15. Other: From Noun to Verbp. 265
Notesp. 287
Indexp. 305