Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems

Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems


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Paterson Award for Literary Excellence.

Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award, finalist.

“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.”— New York Times Book Review

“Raised in Jamaica, Dawes takes some of his cues, and this book’s title, from reggae music. But his voice in these long and short poems and sequences selected from each of his many books, which began appearing in the mid-1990s, is crystal clear, accessible and serious, mixing a timeless myth-making energy with a strong contemporary conscience…” —National Public Radio

“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.” — Publishers Weekly

"[Dawes] is 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

"Dawes asserts himself as man and artist and finally, with grace achieved and grace said, sits down to begin life's tragic feast . . . a writer of major significance."— Brag Book

"The notion of a reggae aesthetic—of the language moving to a different rhythm, under different kinds of pressure . . . underpins all Dawes' work as poet."—Stewart Brown

Born in Ghana, raised in Jamaica, and educated in Canada, Kwame Dawes is a dynamic and electrifying poet. In this generous collection, new poems appear with the best work from fifteen previous volumes. Deeply nuanced in exploring the human condition, Dawes' poems are filled with complex emotion and consistently remind us what it means to be a global citizen.

From "The Lessons":

Fingers can be trained to make shapes
that, pressed just right on the gleaming
keys, will make a sound that can stay
tears or cause them to flow for days.
Anyone can learn to make some music,
but not all have the heart to beat
• ut the tunes that will turn us inside out. . .

Kwame Dawes is the author of fifteen collections of poetry, two novels, four anthologies, and numerous essays and plays. In 2009 he won an Emmy Award for his interactive website, LiveHopeLove.com. Since 2011 he has taught at the University of Nebraska, and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781556594236
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Publication date: 05/14/2013
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kwame Dawes: Kwame Dawes was born in Ghana in 1962 and moved with his family to Jamaica at the age of ten. He is the author of fifteen collections of poetry, two novels, four anthologies, numerous essays, and has seen fifteen of his plays produced. In 2009 he was awarded an Emmy for his interactive website, LiveHopeLove.com. Since 2011 he has taught at the University of Nebraska as a Chancellor’s Professor of English as well as the Editor of Prairie Schooner. He is a Cave Canem faculty member and teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Matthew Shenoda: Matthew Shenoda has coedited four previous anthologies including From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great (Persea Books, 2009) and Enough: Poets Against the War (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2003). Associate Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago, Shenoda’s collection of poetry Somewhere Else (Coffeehouse Press, 2005) was named a 2005 debut book of the year by Poets and Writers and his second collection Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone was published in 2009 by BOA editions. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note xiii

Progeny of Air (1994)

Change 5

Barnabas Collins 6

Excursion to Port Royal 9

Progeny of Air 11

Akwaba 15

Resisting the Anomie (1995)

After "Acceptance" 19

House Arrest 23

Straitjacket and All 26

Dreaming on My Music Box 28

History Lesson at Eight a.m. 29

Prophets (1995)

Chapter X 33

Hermit 33

Chapter XVII 39

It Is the Cause (Belleview Ska) 39

Chapter XXVIII 44

Flight 44

Jacko Jacobus (1996)

A Way of Seeing 55

Emigrant 56

Trickster I 58

Trickster II 60

Trickster III 62

Trickster IV 63

Kingston Harbor 65

Requiem (1996)

Research 69

Swamp Poem 71

Requiem 72

Language 74

Shame 75

Warrior 76

Land Ho 79

Shook Foil (1997)

Caution 83

Natural 85

Silent 86

Shook Foil 88

Prayer for My Son 90

Shadow Play 92

Rita 93

Midland (2001)

Inheritance 99

Holy Dub 107

Satta: En Route to Columbia, S.C. 110

Midland 111

A Letter from Greeleyville 111

Blues on Route 15 with Krystal 112

In Search of Alma 113

Crow over Corn Row 114

Roosting 115

Decent Folk 116

Epoch 117

To the Third and Fourth Generations 118

Somebody Trouble the Water 119

Bruised Totems (2004)

Bruised Totems 123

Mask 124

Gallery Art 125

Sight 126

Gourd 127

Brimming (2006)

Dreaming of Saint Augustine 131

How to Pick a Hanging Tree 132

Brimming 133

Graves 134

Carolina Gold 135

Wisteria (2006)

Wisteria 139

Tornado Child 140

Black Funk 142

Dem 144

Long Memory 146

Fire Makers 148

Gomer's Song (2007)

Hinterland 151

What We Have Learned 153

Sweet Old Women 156

Water Carrier 159

Long Time 160

Impossible Flying (2007)

Legend 163

Estimated Prophet 165

Impossible Flying 166

Casting Out Demons 170

Secrets 172

Wasps 173

Switch 175

Mistaken 176

Hope's Hospice (2009)

Coffee Break 181

Live Up 182

Making Ends Meet 183

Yap 185

Faith 187

The Seen Things 187

The Unseen Things 189

Evidence and Substance 190

Back of Mount Peace (2010)

Found 195

The Habits of Love 196

Steamed Fish Supper 197

Evidence 198

A Woman Wants 199

Sea 200

Seer 201

Redux 202

Esther's Nightmares 203

The Accident 203

The Drowning 204

The First Body 205

Esther's Daughter Returns 206

Prognosis 207

Wheels (2011)

The Glory Has Left the Temple 211

Wise Man 213

Patience 215

Faithful 217

Rasta 220

African Postman 221

Reach 223

New Poems

Steel 227

Dirt 229

Talk 231

Transaction 232

Apparition 234

Playing Lymon 236

Prophet 237

Divination 239

Revolution Man 240

Traveling Man 241

Penitentiary 243

Piano and the Drunken Wake 245

Playing Wining Boy 247

Elevator 249

Avery 252

A Good Woman Blues 254

Soldier Man 257

Rupture 259

Coreen 261

Prophet Man 263

The Actors' Meeting 265

Salesman 267

Creed 269

The Transaction 271

Thieving 273

Four Songs for Berniece 275

If You Know Her 279

Role Playing 281

The Host of Holy Witnesses 283

Avoiding the Spirits 289

The Burden 291

Death 293

Fire 295

Land 297

To Tame the Savage Beast 299

Mama 301

Exorcism 304

Old Man under a Pecan Tree 306

The Lessons 308

Index of First Lines 311

Index of Titles 315

About the Author 317

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