Faculty 101 talks poetry, reggae with Dawes
Welcome to season four of Faculty 101, a podcast that offers a listen into the pursuits and perspectives of Husker faculty.
Hosted by Mary Jane Bruce, these stories explore how our faculty got here, what they’ve learned along the way, and why they do what they do at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
The fourth-season curtains open on Kwame Dawes: world-renowned poet, Glenna Luschei Editor-in-Chief of the Prairie Schooner literary journal, and subject of a postponed but forthcoming multi-day celebration at the university.
In the episode, Dawes offers his thoughts on literature’s ability to stir empathy and his efforts to channel literature into critical thinking among his students. Born in Ghana and raised from age 10 in Jamaica, Dawes also tells of his enduring fascination with Bob Marley, whose “pure poetics” helped mold his literary aspirations and anchor his sense of heritage.
Later, Bruce and Dawes discuss his oversight of the Prairie Schooner, founding of the African Poetry Book Fund, and involvement in hiring the university’s first vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion. He also explains how an overlooked aspect of the Nebraska environment — its “generosity of light” — inspires his poetic musings during regular walks around campus.
Dawes closes the episode with advice on finding enjoyable poetry, his affinity for streaming TV, and diplomatic opinions on the Lakers vs. Celtics.
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