Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love

Keith S. Wilson

At first blush, Keith S. Wilson’s debut book is achingly romantic—lilting, lyrical, shaped by the tenderness of regret—but these are poems that speak in layers, bridging the interstitial spaces between personal and societal longing. Whether describing a lover, a scientific concept, or an act of racial violence, these “fieldnotes” are simultaneously fantastic and grounded, celestial and corporeal. The stars look on as the speaker remembers the hips of a lover, just as the stars look on as the speaker is instructed by a policeman to put his hands behind his back. We are in an ordinary studio apartment in Chicago; we are in a Kentucky field. We are in a liminal corridor: between black and not black, pastoral memory and Afrofuturism, the night sky and the cruel light of day, pleasure and emergency.

ISBN: 9781556595615

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Keith S. Wilson is a game designer, Affrilachian Poet, Cave Canem Fellow, and graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. He is the 2018-19 Kenyon Review Poetry Fellow, and the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the MacDowell Colony, Tin House, Community of Writers, Miami Writers Institute, the UCross Foundation, the Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center, among others. Keith serves as assistant poetry editor at Four Way Review and digital media editor …

Read more


“Wilson’s collection is romantic yet world-weary, bereaved yet fortified―a kindred reflection of the heart in the modern world.” ―Publishers Weekly

“These poems [want] something, [are] full of desire to test human limits, to expand the self and its boundaries, to address fathers and lovers in a new terrain, to interrogate systems of beauty and systems of racism while still being open to wonder.” —West Branch

“That consecration of the body is present in nearly all the poems in this fine debut collection. Wilson has found a way into poems and poetry which clearly works for him. It will be very interesting to see where that method takes him next.” —The Manchester Review