Nathaniel Mackey and Marilyn Crispell

03/28/2013 - 7:00pm


The UA Poetry Center, Chax Press, POG and Poets & Writers, Inc. present an exciting opportunity to hear two powerful artists, in words and music, who each bring great discipline, depth, and storms of imagination to this sharing of their creative work.

Nathaniel Mackey brings at least three traditions to bear on his poetry and prose. Taking from musical traditions that include jazz and other rhythmic practices, history of migration from Africa to the United States, and a poetic heritage that comes from modernist and postmodern masters such as William Carlos Williams, Robert Duncan, and Amiri Baraka, he explores the mixed infusions in a work that is entirely his own. He has described his exploration of language as “a kind of angular suggestion,” yet it comes to us as a measured and careful development of meaning in time, what another master poet, Robin Blaser, has called “a brilliant renewal of and experiment with the language of our spiritual condition and a measure of what poetry gives in trust—‘heart’s/meat’ and the rush of language to bear it.”

What Mackey gives in poetry infused with music, Marilyn Crispell also gives in abundance, through a music deeply trained in jazz and classical possibilities, yet stunning in its improvisational ecstasy. Crispell also hails from a tradition, one that includes early jazz pianists such as Art Tatum, and other keyboard magicians like Oscar Peterson to Cecil Taylor, but that shares a project to open the piano to the world, the world to the piano, in an intensely near-mystical flow that has been described as “breathtaking in its originality and visceral energy.” A San Francisco critic has said her “improvisational approach is so personal, so explosive and so devastating that it makes jazz (and most other music) sound like the archaic language of an ancient people. There’s also a gentle side that makes even simple melodies seem radiantly beautiful.”

If you are someone who goes to many poetry readings and musical events, this one is probably already on your schedule; you will be well rewarded. If you are someone who rarely goes to a poetry reading, or to a jazz concert, this is the one to mark Not To Be Missed.

Tickets $18 general/$10 student. Buy tickets online here or by calling the PCCCA box office at 520-206-6986, or stopping by the box office (box office hours: Tuesday-Friday, noon-5:00 p.m. and one hour prior to performance).

Check out the article about the event at Tucson Weekly.


Pima Community College Center for the Arts Recital Hall
West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Road
Tucson, AZ
United States
Nathaniel Mackey
Nathaniel Mackey

Nathaniel Mackey is a poet, novelist, editor, and critic. His many volumes of poetry include Nod House (New Directions, 2011), Splay Anthem (New Directions, 2006), winner of the 2006 National Book Award in Poetry; and ...

Marilyn Crispell
Marilyn Crispell

Marilyn Crispell has been a composer and performer of contemporary improvised music since 1978. For ten years, she was a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet and the Reggie Workman Ensemble, and she has performed and recorded extensively as a...


Tickets: $18 regular admission / $10 student admission. Buy tickets online here:

You may also call or stop by the PCCCA box office at PCC West Campus to purchase tickets (box office hours: Tuesday-Friday, noon-5:00 p.m. and one hour prior to performance).


Arizona Board of Regents