Poet, editor, and Emmy-winner Kwame Dawes will give a public reading of his work at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, in the Potter Hall Theater. Verse & Twirl: An Evening with Kwame Dawes and MWSU Dancers is free and open to the public. Missouri Western dance students, led by Marla Heeler, will perform several choreographed adaptations of Dawes’ poems before and after his reading. Dawes will also sign copies of his books during a reception following the event.
Dawes has authored 35 books of poetry, fiction, criticism, and essays, including, most recently, “Bivouac” (Akashic Books, 2019) and “City of Bones: A Testament” (Northwestern, 2017). “Speak from Here to There” (Peepal Tree Press), co-written with Australian poet John Kinsella, appeared in 2016.
Dawes is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. He is also a faculty member in the Pacific MFA Program. He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival, and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Copies of the Spring 2019 issue of The Mochila Review, Missouri Western’s national undergraduate literary journal, will also be available at the event. The issue features an interview with Dawes, who served as guest judge for Mochila’s annual contest for undergraduate writers.
“We’re honored to have an author of Dawes’ caliber come to our campus,” said Dr. Marianne Kunkel, editor of The Mochila Review. “This event is an incredible opportunity for our students to stand face-to-face with a successful author and editor, and I’m thrilled that we can partner with the School of Fine Arts to showcase our student dancers as well.”
Dawes’ appearance is made possible through a grant from the MWSU Arts Society, as well as support from the Department of English and Modern Languages, the St. Joseph Public Library, and Rolling Hills Public Library.