Whether it is a poem about a near victim of the Lockerbie bombing reflecting on the nature of grace, a president considering the function of art, or a Rastafarian defending his faith, the selections all seek illumination and understanding in the world. Using images from Garcia Marquez’s novels, accounts of slave rebellions, passages from the Book of Ezekiel, the art of modernist painters and wall-to-wall news coverage, Dawes creates a striking series of poems that are about finding pathways of meaning, and the quest for love and faith.
Kwame Dawes was born in Ghana in 1962 but grew up in Jamaica. He is widely acknowledged as the foremost Caribbean poet of the post-Walcott generation. A poet, actor, editor, critic, musician and professor of English, he is the author of 17 books. He was awarded a Pushcart Prize for Poetry in 2001. His poetry collections include Progeny of Air (Peepal Tree, 1994), winner of the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection, Shook Foil: A Collection of Reggae Poetry (Peepal Tree, 1997) and Map-Maker (Smith/Doorstop, 2000), winner of the The Poetry Business Prize. His New and Selected Poems, 1994-2002 was published by Peepal Tree in 2002. He recently edited the acclaimed anthology Red: Contemporary Black British Poetry (Peepal Tree, 2010).