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Progeny of Air

Written by Lois McKoy for Weekly Gleaner on no date provided

Kwame Dawes is definitely a ‘new generation Caribbean writer’ - in the sense that his style contrasts sharply with traditional, structured works such as those of VS Naipaul. The Ghanaian-Jamaican resident of Canada, visited England recently to promote his new collection Progeny of Air at the Black Archives, Brixton, southwest London.

Progeny of Air is divided into four sections, reflecting, firstly, on schooldays in Jamaica, and progresses to North America as an adult, where the title poem ‘Progeny of Air’ is taken from.
The first section ‘Singing Stories’ consists of mainly brief narrative poems which focus on the passage from childhood vulnerability at the hands of bigger children. The second, ‘Hall of fame’ deals with relationships between being influential and having choice in a more mature person. It is set in the Jamaica College in the 1970s, an environment which is at once a cocoon of colonial values.

The third part entitled ‘Cabinet of Beggars’ tackles the socioeconomic aspects of Jamaica, away from the educational institution, and the fourth set, ‘Grace’ is mainly set in Canada and the southern States of America.

Kwame is also and actor, storyteller, published and essayist. His reggae band Ujamaa, have just released their first CD. He is currently a Professor at the University of South Carolina.

This is a review of Progeny of Air

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