Born in Ghana in 1962, Kwame Dawes spent most of his childhood in Jamaica. As a poet, he is profoundly influenced by the rhythms and textures of that lush place, citing in a recent interview his “spiritual, intellectual, and emotional engagement with reggae music.” His book Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius (Bob Cat Books, 2005) remains the most authoritative study of the lyrics of Bob Marley. Kwame Dawes is the author of thirteen collections of poetry. His most recent collections are Hope’s Hospice (Peepal Tree, 2009), Impossible Flying (Peepal Tree, 2007), Wisteria (Red Hen, 2006) which has also been set to music by Kevin Simmonds and premiered at the Royal Festival Hall in London England. In January 2007, Akashic Books published his novel, She’s Gone. Dawes is also the editor of several anthologies, and author of a children’s book, a collection of short stories, numerous plays, and many books of criticism. His awards include The Forward Poetry Prize, the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and the Poetry Business Award. His non-fiction writing includes the book A Far Cry from Plymouth Rock: A Personal Narrative (Peepal Tree, January 2007). Kwame Dawes, former director of the MFA program at the University of South Carolina, is founder and director of the USC Poetry Initiative. Since January 2008, Dawes has been the Associate Poetry editor at Peepal Tree Press. In 2005 he was appointed the Executive Director of the University of South Carolina Arts Institute. In 2009, Dawes was inducted into the South Carolina Academy of Authors. Dawes is the programmer for the Calabash International Literary Festival held in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, each year, and is the Director of the Calabash Writer’s Workshop. Kwame Dawes is a faculty member of Cave Canem and the Louise Frye Liberal Arts Professor in the College of Liberal Arts. He is Distinguished Poet in Residence at USC.