Kwame Dawes is director of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative and the University of South Carolina Arts Institute where he also teaches as distinguished poet in residence.
Born in 1962 in Ghana, Dawes grew up in Jamaica where he was influenced by the rhythms of reggae music. He has penned 13 volumes of poems, a novel and an authoritative study of Bob Marley’s lyrics.
Dawes teamed up with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting to create a multimedia Web site called “HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica.” The interactive site pairs his poetry with music, essays and video from people living with the disease and their caretakers.
The site was named an honorable mention in the 2008 Knight-Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism.
Dawes also blogs for the Poetry Foundation and serves as programming director for the Calabash International Literary Festival, which takes place each May in Jamaica.
Watch the extended interview between poet Kwame Dawes and Jeffrey Brown.
Kwame Dawes reads more of his poetry in this web exclusive.