Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems

Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems

by Kwame Dawes

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“The miracle of empathy,” Kwame Dawes once said in an interview, “is the ultimate aim of my writing.”See more details below


“The miracle of empathy,” Kwame Dawes once said in an interview, “is the ultimate aim of my writing.”

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Major Jackson
Dawes's verse has an expressive power and lyric resonance that can be attributed to a trans-Atlantic consciousness weaned on the spiritual sources of reggae…This collection…gathers Dawes's best work and represents his most substantial publication to date in the United States…Whether writing about Jamaican AIDS patients or Jim Crow segregation, he summons a strong sense of righteousness and a stark social awareness. He also revels in the indissoluble properties of song…
Publishers Weekly
This first U.S. selection from the Jamaica-bred, Nebraska-based poet (he also has a reputation in Britain) is his 16th book of verse in just 20 years; it reveals a writer syncretic, effusive, affectionate, alert to familial joys, but also sensitive to history, above all to the struggles of African diasporic history—the Middle Passage, sharecropper-era South Carolina, the Kingston of Bob Marley, whose song gives this big book its title. Dawes is at home with cityscape and seascape, patois and transatlantic tradition; in the title poem from his first book, “Progeny of Air,” “propellers undress the sea;/ the pattern of foam like a broken zip/ opening where the bow cuts the wave.” Yet he is drawn more often to life stories: his troubled brother, his own relocations, Marley and Marley’s widow Rita, the archetypal wanderers of the American South: “Hurl me through memory,” he writes in “Carolina Gold,” “and I will return... with the stories strangers/ tell me at the crossroads.” Thirty-nine new poems speak to and about the characters in August Wilson’s plays: “You, August, have carried in your belly,/ every song of affront your characters/ have spoken.... and in this cacophonic chorus/ we find the ritual of living.” (Apr.)

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Copper Canyon Press
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