Kwame Dawes named Jamaica's poet laureate

Kwame Dawes, distinguished writer and Peepal Tree's Associate Poetry Editor, has been announced as the next Poet Laureate of Jamaica. He follows Mervyn Morris, Lorna Goodison and Olive Senior. The post lasts for three years and the laureate is charged with both developing poets and a love for poetry in Jamaica.

Kwame is the author of over 20 books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. He is Glenna Luschei Editor-in-Chief of Prairie Schooner and George W. Holmes University Professor at the University of Nebraska. Dawes is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His awards include an Emmy, the Felix Dennis (Forward) Prize for Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing, and the Windham Campbell Prize for poetry.

Kwame's most recent collection is Sturge Town, a Poetry Book Society Choice. It is a stunning collection of poems that connects with the earliest days of Kwame Dawes’ work as a poet to the reflections of a man turned 60. Metrically careful and sonorous, these poems engage in a personal dialogue with the reader, serious, confessional, alarmed and sometimes teasing. As the site of the ruined ancestral home of the Dawes, in one of the earliest post-slavery free villages in Jamaica, Sturge Town is both an actual place, and a metaphor of Kwame Dawes' life journey from Ghana, through Jamaica, through South Carolina and now to Nebraska. It is above all the work of an unremitting investment in the beauty, the emotional depth and the vivid indeterminacy of poetry as an art of making.

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