While on assignment for the Virginia Quarterly Review to report on the impact of HIV/AIDS on Jamaica, Kwame Dawes could not prevent himself from writing poems in response to the stories he heard. In a way journalism is not designed to do, these poems pare away detail to reveal the truths of character and situation, and find forms which both give expression to and find a kind of perfection for fleeting, difficult lives. These poems became, in time, this, his fourteenth collection of verse.
Powerfully illustrated by Joshua Cogan’s photographs, the art of Dawes’s poems makes it impossible to see HIV/AIDS as something that only happens to other people, and to marginalise their lives. Here, the experience of the disease becomes the channel for dramas that are both universal and unique, voices that are archetypal and highly individual – stories of despair and stoicism, deception and self-honesty, misery and joy in life.
Kwame Dawes is the author of over thirty books, and is widely recognized as one the Caribbean’s leading writers. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska.
ISBN: 9781845230784 Pages: 68 Published: 04 May 2009