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Midland: Poems

Overview

The winning manuscript of the fourth annual Hollis Summers Poetry Prize is also the exciting American debut by a poet who has already established himself as an important international poetic voice. Midland, the seventh collection by Kwame Dawes, draws deeply on the poet's travels and experiences in Africa, the Caribbean, England, and the American South. Marked equally by a lushness of imagery, an urgency of tone, and a muscular rhythm, Midland, in the words of the final judge, Eavan Boland, is “a powerful ...

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Midland: Poems

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Overview

The winning manuscript of the fourth annual Hollis Summers Poetry Prize is also the exciting American debut by a poet who has already established himself as an important international poetic voice. Midland, the seventh collection by Kwame Dawes, draws deeply on the poet's travels and experiences in Africa, the Caribbean, England, and the American South. Marked equally by a lushness of imagery, an urgency of tone, and a muscular rhythm, Midland, in the words of the final judge, Eavan Boland, is “a powerful testament of the complexity, pain, and enrichment of inheritance. ... It is a compelling meditation on what is given and taken away in the acts of generation and influence. Of a father’s example and his oppression. There are different places throughout the book. They come willfully in and out of the poems: Jamaica. London. Africa. America. But all the places become one place in the central theme and undersong here: which is displacement. ... The achievement of this book is a beautifully crafted voice which follows the painful and vivid theme of homelessness in and out of the mysteries of loss and belonging.”

Midland is the work of a keen and transcendent intellect, a collection of poems that speaks to the landscape from inside, from an emotional and experiential place of risk and commitment.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"He is young, highly original and intelligent, possessing poetic sensibility that is rooted and sound, unshakeable and unstopped, both in its vibrancy and direction. He writes poetry as it ought to be written."

World Literature Today (USA)

"The busiest man in literature ... prolific poet, passionate teacher and high priest of reggae ..."

Independent on Sunday (UK)

Library Journal
Reading the sensuous poetry of Dawes, one's first impression is of immersion in the atmosphere of the Caribbean, "the stench of wisteria crawling its pale purple/ path through a dying swamp." (Born in Ghana, Dawes grew up in Jamaica and now teaches at the University of South Carolina.) Ultimately, however, Midland takes the reader on an autobiographical journey to exile and self-discovery. Dawes is less concerned with reggae than with the need to speak the truth about "the generation that understood the smell/ of burning flesh." The 11-page title poem, "Midland," a "dialect of ire" unfolding like "the hung man dangling/ from a live oak," addresses the burden of "ash and tar of a Sumter lynching" with fortitude. In graphic language, he insists that one look beneath "affinities of skin, sin, and suffering" to the roots of a brutal inheritance. Awarded Ohio University's Hollis Summers Poetry Prize 2000, this book superimposes landscapes of Africa, Jamaica, and the United States, transforming the poetry of protest into a compassionate search for the "dusty graves" of his ancestors. These poems form "hieroglyphs of belonging" that help us come to terms with a complex heritage of intolerance and progress.--Frank Allen, Northampton Community Coll., Tannersville, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821413562
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Pages: 104
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Kwame Dawes
Kwame Dawes was born in Ghana, grew up in Jamaica, and studied and taught in New Brunswick, Canada. He has published five volumes of poetry, an anthology of reggae poetry, and a critical volume on reggae music and literature. His first book of poems, Progeny of Air, won the prestigous Forward Poetry Prize. He teaches at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Kwame Dawes was born in Ghana, grew up in Jamaica, and studied and taught in New Brunswick, Canada. He has published five volumes of poetry, an anthology of reggae poetry, and a critical volume on reggae music and literature. His first book of poems, Progeny of Air, won the prestigous Forward Poetry Prize. He teaches at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

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Table of Contents

Inheritance 3
Hoarding 14
Ska Memory 15
Holy Dub 16
Liminal 19
Timehri 20
Memory: An Abstraction 21
Caricature 22
Sanctuary 23
Genocide 24
Sun Strokes 26
Map Maker 31
Two Premonitions 35
Eating with Fingers 37
Umpire at the Portrait Gallery 38
Reaper in a Wheat Field 40
Bridge 41
Cortege on Leyton High Road 42
Memory of a Garden 43
Excursion to Port Royal 44
Art Appreciation 49
History Cartoon 50
Gothic 51
Marriage 52
Hymn 54
Grace 55
The Glory 56
Baptism 57
Home Town 63
Parasite 64
Libation 65
Tornado Child 66
Satta: En Route to Columbia, S.C. 68
Belle 70
Hawk 72
Sabbath 74
Wisteria 75
Midland 76
Love Oil 88
Easter Sunday 90
Notes 93
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