When acclaimed poet Kwame Dawes couldn’t find a press devoted to African poetry, he resolved to start his own. Established in 2012 in partnership with Prairie Schooner and the University of Nebraska, the African Poetry Book Fund (APBF) publishes and supports African poets in a variety of ways. From publication to collaborations with other organizations, the APBF is building a conversation around African poetry here and around the world.
The APBF finds that the “discourse about Africa is too often monolithic and demeaning, and access to contemporary poetry by African writers is vital in driving a thoughtful global conversation about art and culture.” To date the APBF has published 15 chapbooks and offers two annual publishing prizes. And, in addition to building an audience for African poetry in the US, the APBF is also helping to increase distribution of Africa’s local poets around the continent by planting “poetry libraries” in Gambia, Botswana, Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya.