In Wheels, Kwame Dawes brings the lyric poem face to face with the politics, natural disasters, social upheavals and ideological complexity of the world in the first part of this century.
Kwame Dawes
ISBN number
Country setting
Pan African
United States of America
Publication date
30 Oct 2011

The poems do not pretend to have answers, and Dawes’s core interest remains the power of language to explore and discover patterns of meaning in the world around him. So that whether it is a poem about a near victim of the Lockerbie terrorist attack reflecting on the nature of grace, a sonnet sequence contemplating the significance of the election of Barak Obama, an Ethiopian emperor lamenting the death of a trusted servant in the middle of the twentieth century, a Rastafarian in Ethiopia defending his faith at the turn of the twenty-first century, a Haitian reflecting on the loss of everything familiar, these are poems seeking a way to understand the world.

One sequence is framed around the imagined wheels of the prophet Ezekiel’s vision, mixing in images from Garcia Marquez’s novels, passages from the Book of Ezekiel and the current overwhelming bombardment of wall-to-wall news; another reflects on Ethiopia and Rastafarian faith; and a third dialogues with the postmodernist South Carolinian landscape artist, Brian Rutenberg. At the heart of the collection is a book’s worth of poems written in homage to the people of Haiti following repeated visits after the earthquake of 2010. The collection ends where Dawes’ poetry began: on the streets of Kingston, Jamaica. 

Somewhere between prophecy and meditation, this major and extensive new collection of Kwame Dawes’ work illuminates our confusing world.

kwame dawes

Kwame Dawes

Kwame Dawes is the Poet Laureate of Jamaica. He is the author of twenty-two 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.
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