Feb. 25, 2019—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 on the campus of Missouri Western State University. “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 sign copies of his books during a reception following the event.
Kwame 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. He 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. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2009, Dawes won an Emmy for LiveHopeLove.com, an interactive site based on Kwame Dawes’s Pulitzer Center project, HOPE: Living and loving with AIDS in Jamaica.
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. From more than 100 applicants, Dawes selected as the contest winner Jennifer Woolard’s poem “Whalebone,” which will appear in The Mochila Review’s Spring 2019 issue.
“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 MWSU’s 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 Missouri Western’s English and Modern Languages department, the St. Joseph Public Library, and Rolling Hills Public Library.
Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.