Tourmalines: Beyond the Ebony Portal
About the author
Kathryn Waddell Takara, PhD was born and raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, and retired as an Associate Professor from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa where she developed early courses in African American politics, history, literature, and culture beginning in 1971.
She has published 2 books of poetry: New and Collected Poems and Pacific Raven: Hawai`i Poems. Over 250 of her poems have been published separately in a variety of literary magazines and her essays have appeared in various scholarly journals.
Recipient of the Board of Regents Outstanding Teacher Award and a two-time Fulbright Fellow, Takara holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and an M.A. in French and has taught, advised, and mentored innumerable students.
She has read and performed her poetry and lectured extensively in universities, colleges, schools, and at community and military events throughout the Hawaiian Islands, the Continental United States of America and in Beijing and Qingdao, China. Dr. Takara is the daughter of pioneer black veterinarian, author, and world famous Buffalo Soldier, William H. Waddell, VMD (1908-2007).
About the book
Tourmalines: Beyond the Ebony Portal, is a collection of poems with a focus on Black history and African Americans, named and unnamed, represented by various colorful gemstones, with a variety of characteristics, properties and histories, and reflecting their unique experiences in their worlds.
The themes include: African origins, myths, nature, spirituality, music, identity, color and politics, contemporary issues, courage, growth and transformation written in lyrical poetic style. From the ebony of rich and lustrous old world trees and ancient tourmalines, these poems represent the world of a colorful, durable, ancient people still standing in modern times, weathered survivors of cyclones of racism, earthquakes of power, floods of oppression, and cruel sandstorms of history. Darkness presents the riddle of how to see. On close observation of ebony, one sees the fine and intricately grained surface, as things dark or unknown require a new way of looking and seeing depth, finding light, shadows and perhaps a soul of essence.
Like humans, every tourmaline is essentially different. The reader can experience tourmalines as a metaphor for the complexity of African Americans, mixed with people of various origins: different Native American groups, Europeans and euro Americans, Caribbeans, South Americans, Asians and different African ethnic groups. The result is a collection of richly colorful poetic gemstones.
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