Kwame Dawes: What Art Can Teach the Poet

Don't miss this opportunity to learn from one of Nebraska's most accomplished poets. Kwame Dawes' teaching style is warm and accepting with a unique ability to draw out the best in his students.

Poets over the centuries have found value and challenge in dialoguing with the work of painters, photographers, sculptors and other artists who find expression through the physical image. It is a challenge because the poet trades in words—in the abstraction of words. Many poets in the past didn't have access to art unless it was available in museums and other centers close to them. Today, technology has given us access to great artwork from the past and in the present moment and from all over the world. As Nebraska poets, there may be a great deal we can learn from the art of the Midwest which has a long tradition. French novelist, Marcel Proust, made some provocative and helpful comments on art in his insanely long opus, A La Reserche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time): “It is only through art that we can escape from ourselves and know how another person sees a universe which is not the same as our own and whose landscapes would otherwise have remained as unknown as any there may be on the moon.” There is something richly complex about the strange combination of empathy and self-awareness, which strikes me as important to poets—how we can be native and alien to ourselves and to others and how productive that can be for poets. This workshop will devote itself to writing in response to art—seeking language that can live up to the brilliance of great art. The workshop will combine some useful considerations of technique and strategy with actual writing time and the time to share.

​KWAME DAWES is the author of twenty-two books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. His collection, Nebraska was published in 2019. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and George W. Holmes University Professor at the University of Nebraska.  He teaches 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 and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  His awards include an Emmy, the Forward Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Nora Magid Award and the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for Poetry. In 2021, Kwame Dawes was named editor of American Life in Poetry. In 2021, Dawes was nominated for the Neustadt Prize.

​After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.