Emmy award-winning poet and writer, Kwame Dawes, will be featured on the next Presidential Lecture Series presentation at Northeastern Illinois University.
Dr. Dawes will present a talk with readings from his 2010 collection of poems entitled Wheels. Born in Ghana in 1962, Kwame Dawes moved to Jamaica in 1971 and spent most of his childhood and early adult life there. As a poet, he is profoundly influenced by the rhythms and textures of that lush place, citing in a recent interview his “spiritual, intellectual, and emotional engagement with reggae music.” In Jamaica, he attended Jamaica College and the University of the West Indies at Mona. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of New Brunswick on a Commonwealth Scholarship, and he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Brunswickan. A former Scudder Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of South Carolina, he taught English and was Distinguished Poet-in-Residence, Director of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative, and Director of the USC Arts Initiative. He is currently Professor of English at the University Nebraska, Lincoln. He serves as editor-in-chief of the Prairie Schooner and teaches in the Pacific University MFA Writing Program. A prolific author and social activist, Dr. Dawes is the author of sixteen poetry books and numerous other works, including plays, fiction and nonfiction. In 1994, he won the Forward Poetry Prize - Best First Collection- for his work Progeny of Air. Other awards and honors throughout his career include: a Pushcart Prize for the best American poetry for his long poem “Inheritance” (2001); the Hollis Summers Prize for Poetry for his book Midland (2002); the Musgrave Silver Medal for Contributions to the Arts in Jamaica (2004); Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Best First Novel for She’s Gone, and the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for Service To The Arts in South Carolina (2008); induction into the South Carolina Academy of Authors, and an Emmy award form LiveHopeLove.com (an interactive site based on Kwame Dawes’s Pulitzer Center project: HOPE: Living and loving with AIDS in Jamaica) (2009); the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award (2011); and a Guggenheim Fellowship for Poetry (2012). His forthcoming opus is as editor of an anthology entitled Seeking: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green, due to be published in 2013.
The author will be available to sign his books immediately following his presentation.