Keith Wilson

Born in New Mexico, Keith Wilson was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and worked as a professor of english at New Mexico State University for more than 20 years until his retirement in 1988. Wilson has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Border Book Festival, a National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a D.H. Lawrence Creative Fellowship, a Senior Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship, a P.E.N. America Writing Grant, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence and Achievement in Literature, and New Mexico State University’s Westhafer Award.  His most recent book is Transcendental Studies.


Excerpt from December, 1952

It is when the bodies are counted

man sees the cost of lies, tricks

that blind the eyes of the young.  Freedom.

Death.  A life safe for.  The dead.

....all over the nation, these men

deceive themselves.  War is for.  The Dead.


Questions for Reflection: “Excerpt from December, 1952”

  1. What might be the “lies and tricks” that blind the eyes of the young, as referred to in Wilson’s poem?
  2. What is the significant of the words “Freedom” and “Death” as they are used in the poem? Is death the obvious result of freedom? 
  3. What is the deceit that Wilson refers to? Who is the person who is being deceived? By whom or what?
  4. Why might individuals go to war in Wilson’s thinking? How does his thinking concur or how is it different from your own thoughts?