A Closer Look at the African Poetry Book Series

Under the helm of series editor Kwame Dawes, the African Poetry Book Series seeks to discover and highlight works of African poetry with a wide-ranging scope; from classic works to modern and contemporary voices. The greatest challenge facing African poetry in English is a lack of access to both classic works and the stream of works from new African writers. Currently there is no press in the United States, or elsewhere, that devotes itself entirely to the publication of African poetry written in English. This series looks to rectify this gap and also collect works of classic African poetry that have otherwise been forgotten.

With the help of an Editorial Board made up of gifted and internationally regarded poets, Kwame Dawes looks to publish two to three new titles per year.



The Promise of Hope: New and Selected Poems, 1964-2013 by Kofi Awoonor

This engaging volume serves as a fitting contribution to the inaugural cohort of books in the African Poetry Book Series.


Madman at Kilifi by Clifton Gachagua

Gachagua’s is a world fully grounded in the postmodern Kenyan cultural cauldron, a world in which people speak with “satellite mouths,” with bodies that are “singing machines,” and in which the most we can do is “collide against each other.”


The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony by Ladan Osman

“In a world that too often plugs its ears to voices it thinks unworthy, Osman shows that it’s actually more inappropriate to be decorous.”—Kathleen Rooney, Chicago Tribune


Gabriel Okara: Collected Poems by Gabriel Okara

These collected poems are at once a treasure for those long in search of a single authoritative edition and a revelation and timely introduction for readers new to the work of one of Africa’s most revered poets.


Fuchsia by Mahtem Shiferraw

“The magical, raw, bittersweet duende of Fuchsia speaks boldly. The personal history and emotional architecture of Ethiopia and Eritrea reside in every portentous poem here.”—Yusef Komunyakaa, author of The Emperor of Water Clocks 


Logotherapy by Mukoma Wa Ngugi

Written as a tribute to family, place, and bodily awareness, Mukoma Wa Ngugi’s poems speak of love, war, violence, language, immigration, and exile.


When the Wanderers Come Home by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley

Wesley, a native Liberian, calls on deeply rooted African motifs and proverbs, utilizing the poetics of both the West and Africa to convey her grief.



After the Ceremonies: New and Selected Poems (March 2017) by Ama Ata Aidoo

Spanning three decades of work, the poems in this collection address themes of colonialism, independence, motherhood, and gender in intimate, personal ways alongside commentary on broader social issues.


The January Children (March 2017) by Safia Elhillo

In her dedication Safia Elhillo writes, “The January Children are the generation born in Sudan under British occupation, where children were assigned birth years by height, all given the birth date January 1.” You can access an advanced reading copy of The January Children now on NetGalley.


Beating the Graves (March 2017) by Tsitsi Ella Jaji

“This offering shows Tsitsi Jaji to be an explorer of the textures of lived experience with admirable clarity of vision and expression, in short, a poet deep to the marrow of her sensibility.”—Keorapetse Kgositsile, South Africa’s poet laureate

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