Dr. Kwame Dawes is a nationally and internationally recognized and award-winning poet, fiction writer, scholar of Caribbean literature and culture and editor. He is currently the Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and poetry editor of Peepal Tree Press. He is the author of fifteen collections of poetry, as well as many books of fiction, non-fiction, plays, essays, and literary criticism. Formerly, he was a Distinguished Poet in Residence at the University of South Carolina where he directed the SC Poetry Initiative and the University of South Carolina Arts Institute. He was also one of the founders of the Calabash literary festival held annually in Jamaica.
His most recent titles include Back of Mount, Peace and Wheels (2010); Hope’s Hospice (2009); Gomer’s Song (2007); Wisteria (2006), finalist for the Patterson Memorial Prize, and Impossible Flying (2006). Progeny of Air (1994) was the winner of the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection in the UK. Other poetry collections include Resisting the Anomie (1995); Prophets (1995); Jacko Jacobus, (1996); and Requiem, (1996), a suite of poems inspired by the illustrations of African American artist, Tom Feelings in his landmark book The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo; and Shook Foil (1998), a collection of reggae-inspired poems.
Recently, Dr. Dawes has been active with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and has been working on a project related to HIV in Haiti. Over the past two years, he has traveled to Haiti to report on and write poems about people’s experiences after the earthquake. In September 2009, he won an Emmy for LiveHopeLove (http://www.livehopelove.com/), an interactive site based on his Pulitzer Center project, HOPE: Living and loving with AIDS in Jamaica. It has won other accolades including a People’s Voice Webby Award, and was the inspiration for the music/spoken word performance Wisteria & HOPE which premiered at the National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina.