by Keegan Lester
West Virginia University Press, 2021
Paper: 978-1-952271-29-8 | eISBN: 978-1-952271-30-4
Library of Congress Classification PS3612.E81955P47 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

Recounted with humor and honesty, Lester invites us into his life as he struggles with masculinity and searches for a place where he fits.

Words have meaning and meaning evolves over time. In Perfect Dirt, Keegan Lester drags us through his failure to grasp the meaning that always seems to be just beyond his fingertips. These lyrical vignettes depict a lifelong search for home, identity, and the language to say the things we wish we could tell people in the moment.

Born in Southern California to parents who had migrated from West Virginia and South Florida, Lester spent summers with his grandparents in Morgantown, which instilled a deep anchor of place that continued to call to him, an Appalachian at heart even while living in New York City as a poet. As small successes started to come his way—a book and numerous tours—so did crises. Lester’s father, meanwhile, experiencing his own life crisis, embarked on a journey to sail the Caribbean. Both end up lost.

Part memoir, part tour diary, part homage to the places and people who have made him who he is, Perfect Dirt digs into the sometimes painful, sometimes jubilant questions of identity and success. This is a book searching to better understand the world and our place in it, the family we’re born into, and the family we make along the way.

Hear the author read an excerpt from the Perfect Dirt.