Mwatabu S. Okantah holds the BA in English and African Studies from Kent State University (1976) and the MA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York (1982). Currently, he is an Assistant Professor and Poet in Residence in the Department of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University. He also serves as Director of the Center of Pan-African Culture. He has taught at Union College, The Livingston College of Rutgers University, Cleveland State University and Lakeland Community College.
Okantah is the author of Afreeka Brass (1983), Collage (1984), Legacy: for Martin & Malcolm (1987) and Cheikh Anta Diop: Poem for the Living—published as a limited trilingual edition in English, French and Wolof (1997). Work has been anthologized in The Poet’s Bookshelf: Contemporary Poets On Books That Shaped Their Art, Vol. 2 (2007), Gwendolyn Brooks and Working Writers (2007), Alehouse: Poetry On Tap, No. 1 (2007), Beyond the Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century (2002), Journey to TimBookTu (2001), The Second Set, Vol. 2 (1996) and Soul Looks Back In Wonder (1994). His latest book of poetry, Reconnecting Memories: Dreams No Longer Deferred, was released in 2004 by Africa World Press.
Baba Okantah has worked in a variety of musical situations, including time as Griot for the Iroko African Drum & Dance Society; in an ongoing collaboration with the Cavani String Quartet; and as leader of the Muntu Kuntu Energy Ensemble. A spoken word and original music CD, Guerrilla Dread: Griot Stylee, is scheduled for release in 2008. To date, Mr. Okantah has appeared at diverse venues including Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Museum, Merkin Concert Hall in NYC, Market Square Concert Series in Harrisburg, Cleveland Museum of Art’s Nia Café, Cleveland Institute of Music Concert Series, Cleveland’s Sanaa and Ingenuity Festivals, the Juneteenth Festival at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, First Night Akron, Akron’s Annual African American Festival, Zadok Street Art Festival, Kent Heritage Festival, Detroit’s Broadside Poet’s Theatre, Hiram College, College of Wooster, Antioch College, Thiel College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Writer’s House at the University of Pennsylvania, Paul Robeson Cultural Center at Penn State University, Gettysburg College, Knox College, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, University of Michigan, MLK, Jr. Cultural Center at the University of Kentucky, Cleveland State University, Kent State University, University of Ibadan (Nigeria) and Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal).
The MKE Poet lives in Akron, Ohio with his wife and five of his seven children. For music samples, video clips, photographs, reviews and testimonies log onto www.mkepoet1.com.
You can contact Mr. Okantah by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending an e-mail to TimBookTu and it will be forwarded.