Aldon Nielsen

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Aldon NielsenAldon Nielsen is a poet and critic born in Grand Island, Nebraska. Educated in Washington, D.C. at Federal City College and George Washington University, Nielsen has taught at Howard University, San Jose State University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Loyola Marymount University. He has published five collections of poetry, Mixage (2006), Vext (1998), Stepping Razor (1996), Evacuation Routes (1992), and Heat Strings (1985). He was the first winner of the Larry Neal Award for poetry, and has received two Gertrude Stein Awards for innovative poetry. His first volume of literary criticism, Reading Race: White American Poets and the Racial Discourse in the Twentieth Century (1988), won the SAMLA Studies Prize, a Myers Citation and the Kayden Award for best book in the humanities. Subsequent works of scholarship include Writing between the Lines: Race and Intertextuality (1994), C.L.R. James: A Critical Introduction (1997), Black Chant: Languages of African-American Postmodernism (1997), and Integral Music: Languages of African American Innovation (2004). Most recently Nielson co-edited, with Lauri Ramey, Every Goodbye Ain’ t Gone: An Anthology of Innovative Poetry by African American Artists (2006). Nielsen is the George and Barbara Kelly Professor of American Literature in the Pennsylvania State University ‘s Department of English. He divides his time between Pennsylvania and California.

Roscoe Mitchell


Steps to the front five
Slips under the thumb rest
Backhand strains to the neck strap
For sound


Steps five
To the front slips
Under the thumb rest backhand
Strains to the neck
Strapped for sound


Five steps to the front
The backhand slips under the thumb
Rest the neck strains
Strapped for sound


The front steps rest
The neck slips under
The strap the backhand five
Strain the thumb
For sound


Steps to the front slip
The neck snaps back
Under the thumb five rest for
Strapping sound



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