Mwatabu Okantah
Mwatabu's Photo

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 DPAS Study Abroad in Ghana Program. 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), Cheikh Anta Diop: Poem for the Living—published as a limited trilingual edition in English, French and Wolof (1997) and Reconnecting Memories: Dreams No Longer Deferred (2004). 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), 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). Chatter House Press released his latest book of poetry, Muntu Kuntu Energy: New and Selected Poetry in 2013.

As a performer, Mr. Okantah has worked in a variety of musical situations, including time as Griot for the Iroko African Drum & Dance Society and in ongoing collaborations with the Cavani String Quartet and Vince Robinson and the Jazz Poets. A spoken word and original music CD, Guerrilla Dread: Griot Stylee, is scheduled for release in 2016.

Baba Okantah lives in Akron, Ohio with his wife, Aminah, and their children.

You can contact Mr. Okantah by sending an e-mail to or by visiting his website at

Works on TimBookTu by Mwatabu Okantah


Afraid of the Dark
African Morning
African Tree
A New Sun Rising
A Poet's Poem
Breakfast at the Ibis
Can We Talk Aout Race?
Cheikh Anta Diop: Poem for the Living (excerpt)
Cruel News
Driving While Black
For Al Hajj Malik Al Shabazz
Home Boy
Identity Theft
Legacy: for Martin & Malcolm (excerpt)
Market Day
Old News
Poem For Africa
Red, White and Bruised
See Her
Slave Times
That Word We Use
The Aftermath
Time and Place
To A Black Woman
Ugly Beauty
War Queen
Zoo Atlanta


A Case Study: Kubili in the House
From Chaos To Creativity: An African Centered Approach to the Black Man in America
Fihankra: Security in the House
Finding Malcolm X
Pilgrimage: Home to Africa
The View From Stono
Word Roots: The Black Poet Tree
Yankee Dread in Africa

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