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       Okantah, The MKE Poet

     Poetry is how I see.  I never know when a poem might present itself or when a poem might choose me.  I write because I have something to say and I live in an age when I can create my own space to say it.  I write to contribute to that Great Black Story Well. 

     I subscribe to the message in Ayi Kwei Armah's novel, 2000 Seasons.  We have experienced the descent,1000 Seasons into slavery.  We are now experiencing the rising,1000 Seasons crawling maimed from it.  We are a people in need of physical, psychological and spiritual healing. Complete recovery and reclamation will not occur in our lifetime, but, I believe that it will come. 

     I write because poetry and music are the weapons I have chosen to wield in this war, not only for the souls of our people, but for all humanity as well.  I write because, "word sounds have power!"

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     Okantah is a Professor, Director of the Ghana Study Abroad Program and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Kent State University.  He is the author of Afreeka Brass (1983), Collage (1984), Legacy: for Martin & Malcolm (1987), Cheikh Anta Diop: Poem for the Living (1997/2017), Reconnecting Memories: Dreams No Longer Deferred (2004), Muntu Kuntu Energy: New and Selected Poetry (2013) and Guerrilla Dread: Poetry for Hearts and Minds (2019).

     He has performed as Griot for the Iroko African Drum & Dance Society, and, as a guest artist with the Cavani String Quartet, as well as with Vince Robinson and the Jazz Poets. For more information, visit

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