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Biography of Kwame DAWES

Ghana > Literature : Kwame DAWES

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Born on 28/07/1962 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Kwame Dawes (b. July 28,  1962) ,was born  in Ghana and spent most of his childhood in Jamaica.
He is a , musician , writer  of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and plays. As a poet, he is profoundly influenced by the rhythms and textures of that lush place, citing in a recent interview his “spiritual, intellectual, and emotional engagement with reggae music.” His book Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius remains the most authoritative study of the lyrics of Bob Marley.

 He   was born in Ghana on 28 July 1962. He grew up in Jamaica and was educated at Jamaica College, the University of the West Indies and the University of New Brunswick, where he gained his Ph.D. He is currently Professor of English and Director of the S. C. Poetry Initiative at the University of South Carolina, where he has taught since 1992, and where he served for several years as Director of the MFA Writing Programme in Creative Writing. A reviewer, broadcaster, actor, storyteller, broadcaster, critic, poet and playwright, his play One Love (2001), an adaptation of Roger Mais' novel Brotherman, was commissioned by Talawa, one of Britain's leading black theatre companies, and premiered at the Lyric Theatre in London in 2001.

His poetry collections include Progeny of Air (1994), winner of the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection, Prophets (1995), Jacko Jacobus (1995), Requiem (1996), Shook Foil: A Collection of Reggae Poetry (1997), and Map-Maker (2000). His New and Selected Poems, 1994-2002 was published in 2002. He has also published a  book of short stories, A Place to Hide and Other Stories (2002), and the first full-length study of the lyrics of Bob Marley - Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius (2002). He reviews and writes articles widely for newspapers and journals including the Washington Post, Wasafiri, the London Review of Books and World Literature Today, and is currently Criticism Editor for Obsidian II, an African-American literary journal, and author of a regular poetry column with the State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina. He also writes poems and stories for children, which have appeared in various anthologies.

Kwame Dawes was Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa in 1986 and was made Associate Fellow at the Centre for Caribbean Studies, University of Warwick, in 1996. In the same year he won an Individual Artist Fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission. His book of poems, Midland (2000), draws deeply on personal travels and experiences in Africa, the Caribbean, Britain and the American South, and won the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize from Ohio University Press. His other awards include a Poetry Business Prize (2000) and a Pushcart Prize for Poetry (2001). He was John Henrik Clarke Distinguished Lecturer in Autumn 2001 at the University of Alabama where he delivered a lecture entitled Natural Mysticism: Towards a New Reggae Aesthetic. He is currently the series editor of a new series of Caribbean plays and of Sweet Sop books, a Black British Poetry series, both by Peepal Tree Press.

Kwame Dawes lives in the United States. He is married with three children. His most recent books are Gomer's Song (2008) and She's Gone (2008).


Progeny of Air   Peepal Tree Press, 1994

Jacko Jacobus   Peepal Tree Press, 1995

Prophets   Peepal Tree Press, 1995

Resisting the Anomie   Goose Lane Editions (Canada), 1995

Requiem   Peepal Tree Press, 1996

Shook Foil: A Collection of Reggae Poetry   Peepal Tree Press, 1997

Natural Mysticism: Towards a New Reggae Aesthetic   Peepal Tree Press, 1998

Talk Yuh Talk: Interviews with Caribbean Poets   University of Virginia Press, 1998

Wheel and Come Again: An Anthology of Reggae Poetry   (editor)   Peepal Tree Press, 1998

Map-Maker   Smith/Doorstop, 2000

Midland   Ohio University Press (US), 2000

One Love   Methuen, 2001

A Place to Hide and Other Stories   Peepal Tree Press, 2002

Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius   Sanctuary Publishing, 2002

New and Selected Poems, 1994-2002   Peepal Tree Press, 2002

I Saw Your Face   (illustrated by Tom Feelings)   Dial Books, 2005

Twenty: South Carolina Poetry Fellows   (editor)   Hub City Press, 2005

Wisteria: Twilight Songs from the Swamp Country   Red Hen Press (US), 2006

A Far Cry from Plymouth Rock   Peepal Tree Press, 2007

Impossible Flying   Peepal Tree Press, 2007

Gomer's Song (Black Goat)   Akashic Books, 2008

She's Gone   Macmillan Caribbean, 2008

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Last update : 04/16/2009

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