Adumbration Bound Our Book: Nathaniel Mackey’s ‘Song of the Andoumboulou’

  • Matthew Carbery
Part of the Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics book series (MPCC)


This chapter offers a detailed reading of Nathaniel Mackey’s long poem ‘Song of the Andoumboulou’, which began in 1985 and is still being composed in 2019. Carbery’s argument does not anticipate the ‘final shape’ of Mackey’s long poem, but rather seeks to establish the guiding influences and compositional strategies used in the work. In this sense, Carbery reads the poem’s relationship with jazz improvisation, as well as its ‘hybrid’ use of a range of cultural influences, most notably the mythos of the Dogon peoples and Garcia Lorca’s theory of ‘Duende’. The result of this reading is an alternative take on phenomenology, grounded not in European intellectual tradition but in ideas related to music and the potential of song. Carbery concludes by proposing an understanding of Mackey as a phenomenologist of song.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Carbery
    • 1
  1. 1.Plymouth UniversityPlymouthUK

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