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ISBN: 978-0-9994471-5-4
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Categories Chapbooks, Nomadic, Poetry

Southern Migrant Mixtape

Publication Date: January 2018


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Southern Migrant Mixtape was originally published by Nomadic.

Southern Migrant Mixtape relays the experiences and observations of a black, queer man from Virginia who thought he was leaving racism and sexual intolerance behind in the regions where he initially experienced them. Plunge heart first into this emotive journey of growth, transformation of pain into armor, and the lessons that can be learned when one is true to themselves.


Trees become wood / then thump against / concrete—damming / the river altogether.Vividly, from a post-American century, Vernon Keeve III–a post-millennial, book-loving AfricanAmerican–shares, reflects and reports on life lived at global split-levels. Southern Virginia-born, gay, comfortably reared, poet-storyteller Keeve takes unblinking looks at how the damage and ravages of so-called white privilege split and splintered the world. Upbringing, family, education, world-outlook, environment, spirituality–all of it trembles here on edge. Mamie Till said you could smell her / son’s decomposing body from miles/ away in uninterrupted heat of a 1955 /Indian Summer when she forced the/ America to open his casket, and see what it had done. //The decomposition of Emmett / is still happening.
Al Young California’s Poet Laureate Emeritus

Vernon Keeve’s Southern Migrant Mixtape, is a beautiful and historic analog move of memory as poems and prose, to record. On his tracks, Keeve soulfully, sensually and vulnerably lays down his journey. The story songs are full of queer ripening and racial awakening, mother tongue and father wit—all at play with the specificity of the colors, sounds, textures, smells and monuments of the country. This collection crackles with blackness, queerness, spirit, grit, trauma, surrender, and joy and the distortions of the south. You are left knowing that what is shared, curated by the writer’s heart, is dedicated to you and your story.
Marvin K. White, author of four collections of poetry including Our Name Be Witness; and Last Rights.

Vernon Keeve III crafted a collection that is artisanal, bold, and worthy of the cross-country road trip on which it inevitably takes you. Southern Migrant Mixtape is equal parts paean and pain. Vernon does not glamorize the blood shed for this collection to exist, instead he immortalizes his ancestors and reunites them with current and future generations. Mixtape takes on America’s greatest hits––negro spirituals, Baldwin, racism, Dubois, swimming, misogynoir, and The Color Purple––then remixes, interpolates, and samples them into newer truths that cannot be unheard. Brace yourself, Southern Migrant Mixtape will “[re]introduce you to [your] spirit.”

Roberto F. Santiago, author of Angel Park

Southern Migrant Mixtape surges with color, sound, and emotion. Keeve’s Juxtaposition of historical and present-day violence creates empathy and a deeper understanding of love and the power of the imagination.
Rochelle Spencer, author of AfroSurrealism: The African Diaspora’s Surrealist Fiction (Routledge, 2018)

About the Author

© Joe Carrow

Vernon (Trey) Keeve III

Vernon (Trey) Keeve III is an inquiry-based educator who taught in a school for expelled youth in Oakland, CA for seven years. They are currently pursuing a doctorate in the Teaching of English at Teachers College, Columbia University. Their research is anchored in interventions and alternatives for suspension and expulsion, strategies that combat the adultification of expelled youth, and practices that reinvigorate disengaged learners. Their book Southern Migrant Mixtape was the recipient of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award in 2019. Trey can be reached via email at [email protected].

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