Blue Fasa

Nathaniel Mackey

This is the sixth collection of poems by Mackey, Reynolds Price Professor of Creative Writing. Blue Fasa carries forward what the New Yorker has described as the “mythological conception” and “descriptive daring” of his two intertwined serial poems.

A long song that's one and more than one, this collection takes its title from two related black musical traditions, a West African griot epic as told by the Fasa, a clan in ancient Ghana, and trumpeter Kenny Dorham’s hard bop classic “Blue Bossa,” influenced by the emergence of Brazilian bossa nova. The book opens with the catch of the heart and the call of romance, as it follows a band of travelers, refugees from history, on their incessant migrations through time, place, and polity toward a truer sense of being and belonging.

Blue Fasa received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly which picked it for its Best Summer Books 2015 list. In a recent Duke Today feature “Taking Note,” Mackey, winner of the 2006 National Book Award for poetry, describes how poetry can offer a refuge from our fragmented, distractible times. You can also hear him on WUNC 91.5 “The State of Things,” talking about his new book and his lifelong love of music and deejaying.