This selection provides a convenient and generous introduction to Kwame Dawes' work at a price that will make it an attractive text for courses on contemporary Caribbean poetry or Comparative Literature alongside the work of Derek Walcott and Kamau Brathwaite. Since Kwame Dawes first published his prestigious Forward Poetry prize-winning Progeny of Air in 1994, six further collections have followed which have changed the face of Caribbean poetry. Selected Poems contains a generous selection from all these volumes, showing the breadth and depth of Dawes's achievement. Sensitive both to the 'low-riding, swamp' landscapes of South Carolina (where he lives) and the hills and city streets of Jamaica (where he grew up) Dawes is increasingly recognised as a poet of both the Caribbean and of the USA, especially for his Midland (Ohio University Press, 2001), which won the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize.
Whether writing the poems of displacement and loss of Resisting the Anomie, the vibrant, unstoppable narratives of Prophets (a work of dramatic celebration of the resources of Jamaican popular culture as well as an exploration of the ambiguous nature of inspirationand prophecy, both religious and literary) or Jacko Jacobus, (a dub reggae version of the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau, an exploration of the intersection of prophecy and anancy tricksterism in Caribbean culture), the concentrated lapidiary poems of Requiem ('shrines of remembrance' for the millions of victims of transatlantic slavery), the autobiographical poems of Progeny of Air, the questioning psalms and reggae poetry of Shook Foil (poetry walking the bassline), Kwame Dawes poetry has a unique, signal voice.