March 30, 2008

Hope: Living and Loving with HIV

Hope: Living and Loving with HIV Behind the images of hedonism in Jamaica, the specter of AIDS has overshadowed the glitter and garish of the Tourist Board commercials. During the last four months of 2007, Kwame Dawes traveled to Jamaica and met with people who are living with the disease and caregivers who have dedicated their lives to bring comfort. What emerged from this encounter was Hope: Living and Loving with HIV, which according to the Pulitzer Center, "Brings him in touch with people who tell their stories, share their lives, and teach him about resilience, hope, and possibility in the face of despair."

The Pulitzer Center continues: "Hope: Living and Loving with HIV is a multi-media reporting project: an extended essay by Kwame Dawes for The Virginia Quarterly Review (Spring 2008), two short documentaries for the public-television program Foreign Exchange, a collection of poetry inspired by his reporting, a performance of the poems set to music by composer Kevin Simmonds, and, an interactive web presentation that synthesizes audio and text versions of the poems, the Foreign Exchange videos, additional video interviews, the music, and photography by Joshua Cogan."

But it is much more than that. Hope: Living and Loving with HIV features "anthems of hope" in which Dawes introduces us to men such as "Nichols":

dub man's charm

in your grin, still all those

women slain by your art.

It is not very often that I am at a loss for words, but Hope: Living and Loving with HIV has shown me the kind of work that an inspired artist can do for his community. Hope Living and Loving with HIV is not just an extended essay with poems, music, photos, and video. It is an experience.


For more information, please visit the Pulitzer Center


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