Nathaniel Mackey, Destination Out: Essays on His Work

Jeanne Heuving (editor), Joseph Donahue (contributor)


University of Iowa Press

In this first book of essays devoted entirely to Nathaniel Mackey’s work, prominent critics respond to a major oeuvre that is at once affirmative and utopic, negational and dystopic. Drawing on multiple genealogies and traditions, primarily from African and African diaspora histories and cultures, Mackey’s work envisions cultural creation as cross-cultural, based in the damaging relationships of Africans brought against their will to the Americas and the resulting innovations of New World African literatures and music.

This collection is organized through broad topics in order to provide entrances into his challenging work: myth, literature, and seriality; music, performance, and collaboration; syncretism, synopsis, and what-saying. It engages Mackey’s spiritual and esoteric disposition along with his attention to what Amiri Baraka called the “enraged sociologies” of Black music. In his manifesto “Destination Out,” Mackey describes his work as “wanting to bid all givens goodbye” and as “centrifugal.” It is also centripetal, manifesting a reflexive interiority that creates itself through recurring forms.
Contributors: Maria Damon, Joseph Donahue, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Norman Finkelstein, Luke Harley, Paul Jaussen, Adalaide Morris, Fred Moten, Peter O’Leary, Anthony Reed