Kathryn Waddell Takara, PhD, is a scholar, performance artist, and author of nine books of poetry, a biography, and a collection of oral histories. The Before Columbus Foundation honored her in 2010 with the American Book Award. She has appeared on television and in documentary films, and frequently has given media and publication interviews. She publishes articles on culture, most recently in The Black Chicago Renaissance and Black Hollywood Unchained.
Born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, in the Jim Crow era, Takara is a longtime resident of Hawai`i. With an MA in French and a PhD in Political Science, until retiring as an Associate Professor, at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, she taught African American and African history, politics, literature, and culture, and organized conferences on minority issues.
Takara delivers lectures and performs her unique ethnic, travel, political, and eco-poetry across the United States and internationally. Notably, she has appeared in China at Qingdao University and Beijing University of Foreign Studies; Bordeaux, France; Abidjan, Côte d`Ivoire; and Niamey, Niger. In 2018-2019,she gave poetry readings in California, New York, and Virginia. She often shares her poetry with audiences in Hawai`i, including this year at the Paliku Arts Festival—and at a jazz event featuring the music of Thelonious Monk, which she co-produced.
She is the owner and publisher of Pacific Raven Press, LLC (established 2008), which has published 19 titles.