Natural Mystic: A Poetic Celebration of Reggae: Kwame Dawes and Safiya Sinclair (2018)

The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series presented Natural Mystic: A Poetic Celebration of Reggae: Kwame Dawes and Safiya Sinclair on February 05, 2018 at 7:30pm in the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre. This evening of poetry celebrated reggae music and pays tribute to one of its most acclaimed singer/songwriters, Robert "Bob" Nestor Marley, the day before what would have been his 73rd birthday.

Kwame Dawes

Kwame Dawes.

Kwame Dawes, who was born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica, is the author of 20 collections of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays, including most recently City of Bones: A Testament, Speak from Here to There, and Duppy Conqueror. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival.

Dawes has read for the O.B. Hardison Poetry series previously, on November 5, 2012.

Safiya Sinclair

Safiya Sinclair.

Safiya Sinclair, who was born and raised in Montego Bay, is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including a Whiting Writers’ Award. She is the author of Cannibal, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, the Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature in Poetry.

Reviews and excerpts

From "Gourd"

The browned gourd

carries the echo of music

like the taste of garden eggs and okra stew

with its slivers of white river fish

with its crimson peppers

islanding a mound of pounded cassava.

The browned gourd

is the pregnant fullness

of a woman’s belly,

the wounds of its water

the suck-suck of an infant

the hum of a deep water

when you pluck a string.

Excerpt from “Gourd” from Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems by Kwame Dawes © 2013, published by Copper Canyon Press. Used with permission.