The book makes available the fine poems that Dawes wrote, mostly between 1950 and 1970, both as the young man in London exploring a modernist voice and as the ideologically-committed poet returning to his roots. Fugue also includes the celebrated short stories broadcast on the BBC’s Caribbean Voices programme, along with pieces of insightful and humorous autobiography and a section devoted to his critical writing. A long introductory essay by Kwame Dawes brings both a scholar’s studied contextualisation and a son’s moving insight.
Neville Dawes was born in Nigeria in 1926, but grew up in rural Jamaica. He studied for an MA at Oxford, taught in Jamaica, Ghana and Guyana, and was later appointed Director of the Institute of Jamaica. He wrote two novels, The Last Enchantment, reissued by Peepal Tree in 2009 as part of their Caribbean Modern Classics series, and Interim. Always a Marxist, he was deeply immersed in Africa and his nationalist identification with the rural Jamaican working class.