The University of Nebraska Libraries, Prairie Schooner magazine, and the African Poetry Book Fund have joined forces to establish five poetry libraries in Africa. The five libraries are scheduled to open in September and will include contemporary poetry books and journals. Each library contains room for more than 1,500 titles, offers resources for those interested in publishing their poems, and will serve as a hub for poets to meet and collaborate while remaining open to all. The libraries are located in Gambia, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda.
The project is the idea of Kwame Dawes, the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. Professor Dawes says that “too many poets working in Africa today have limited access to contemporary poetry, partly because of poor distribution by international publishers within Africa and partly because of the cost of books. We felt it would be a great idea to establish small poetry libraries in as many places as possible.”
Professor Dawes is the author of 17 books of poetry including Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2013). He is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and holds a Ph.D. from the University of New Brunswick in Canada.