“Published in installments across several decades, Mackey’s two epic series--one called Mu, the other Song of the Andoumboulou--bring the attitudes of free jazz and the reverberating patterns of West African ensemble music to the goals of the American encyclopedic long poem á la Charles Olson. The mysterious, even hermetic, new verse extends both of Mackey’s epics, even (as his prose foreword explains) merging them, so that they form one enormous text describing a mystical quest. Mackey’s figures seek the source of inspiration, and his dense stanzas track their uneven progress; ‘We’ pursue it, by foot, train or boat, into realms of fable and myth, via chants, archival and esoteric references, portmanteau words and archeological research.”
Mackey, Nathaniel. Splay Anthem. New York: New Directions Book, 2006.