Keith S. Wilson


Keith S. Wilson’s project is a manuscript of lyric and visual poems dealing with the complicated history and continued proliferation of American violence, especially as it pertains to antebellum concepts of liberty and modern values of identity, class, and power. Specifically, this manuscript deals with late 18th and early 19th century slave insurrections, as told through a series of vignettes as foreseen by enslaved African American lay preachers. One of the questions Wilson asks is ‘what is the role of violence in the liberation of disenfranchised and enslaved peoples?’ He has written and designed a portion of this work already—one epic poem entitled Cotton Sweating Coolly. The project will also incorporate images, diagrams, photography, and found documents.

Keith S. Wilson is an Affrilachian Poet and a Cave Canem fellow. He is a recipient of an NEA Fellowship, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, and an Illinois Arts Council Agency Award, and has received a Kenyon Review Fellowship. Additionally, he has received fellowships or grants from Bread Loaf, Tin House, and the MacDowell Colony, among others. His book, Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love (Copper Canyon), was recognized by the New York Times as a best new book of poetry.