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ISBN: 978-1-955239-05-9
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Categories Nomadic, Poetry

The Move

Publication Date: August 2021


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

Keith Donnell Jr. taps a cultural archive of voices, forms, and intergenerational absence. His poems, so connected by difference, speak across time, place, and persona, always reaching toward song and the dream of a fluid, indestructible beating Black heart. The Move puts the cold out and keeps it there.


If one is seeking directions to a free imagination in the land of social death, Keith Donnell Jr.’s The Move is the perfect roadmap. The long durée of slavery—in the present— is traversed in these poems. Reading these poems, one experiences the Black unconscious teaching the Black conscious mind how to set itself free even as we live and die in the hold of the ship. Donnell’s cadence, rhythmic rather than metric, and the pulse of Black, blood-stuffed lives make me think of Jayne Cortez, Michael S. Harper, Cornelius Eady—and a poet whom I had never read until I read this book.
Frank Wilderson III, author of Afropessimism

Keith Donnell’s collection, The Move, uses familiar rhythms and ancestral voices to build a rich world for the reader, one full of the wisdom, joy, and grief of the Black experience. In this work, Donnell magnifies the power held in the quotidian, the magic we make in our everyday lives, here, in its story tellings and fable-like musings the book feels like kin. “The move,” Donnell makes clear, “is one vehicle of our inheritance–a dimension of that commitment to our shared process of survival”–building both a legacy and a record, a prayer for our past and a dream for our future. The Move is a testament we all should hold.
Naima Yael Tokunow, author of MAKE WITNESS, Planetary Bodies, and Shadow Black and editor of the Black Voice Series for Puerto del Sol.

About the Author

Keith Donnell Jr.

Originally from Philly, Keith Donnell Jr. is a California-based poet, writer, and book editor. His work uses experimental poetics and storytelling to explore experiences of Black life in America, past and present. His editorial and developmental interests lie at the intersection of personal growth and social justice. Keith is the author of The Move (Nomadic Press, 2021) and his work has appeared in journals and anthologies, most recently POETRY, Cagibi, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He lives and writes freely from Salinas, CA.

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