Forrest Scene

August 2012 News Releases

Jamaican poet Kwame Dawes to speak at Washburn University

TOPEKA – Jamaican poet and award-winning author Kwame Dawes will speak at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5 at the Mabee Library at Washburn University. No admission is charged.

 In addition to numerous books of fiction, non-fiction, criticism and drama, Dawes is the author of 16 books of poetry, the most recent of which is Wheels, published in 2011.

As a poet, Dawes has said to be profoundly influenced by the rhythms and textures of Jamaica, and notes his “spiritual, intellectual, and emotional engagement with reggae music.” His book, “Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius” (2002), remains the most authoritative study of the lyrics of Marley.

In 2009, Dawes won an Emmy Award in the category of New Approaches to news and Documentary Programming: Arts, Lifestyle and Culture for “,” an interactive site based on his  Pulitzer Center project, HOPE: Living and Loving with AIDS in Jamaica. The project documented HIV/AIDS in Jamaica, interspersed with poetry, photography by Andre Lambertson, and music by Kevin Simmonds.

He is the Glenna Luschei Editor of the literary magazine Prairie Schooner and a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Newbraska. Dawes’ “Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems” will be published by Copper Canyon in 2013.  He’s currently researching playwright August Wilson with a Guggenheim Fellowship.  More information is at


Dena Anson, university relations, (785) 670-1711