Kwame Dawes & Safiya Sinclair: Natural Mystic: A Poetic Celebration of Reggae

Monday, February 05, 2018, 7:30 pm
Folger Theatre

“With exquisite lyrical precision, Safiya Sinclair is offering us a new muscular music that is as brutal as it is beautiful” —Ada Limón

This evening of poetry celebrates 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. Born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica, Kwame Dawes 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.

Born and raised in Montego Bay, Safiya Sinclair 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.

Check out this Spotify play list of music that inspired this reading.

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.