"Poetry has followed me all the days of my life."
Glenis Gale Redmond, a self-proclaimed native of nowhere, was raised in an Air Force family. Through their many relocations, Glenis' young mind was already creating and collecting the memories and knowledge that laid the framework for her future as a poet. She was a voracious reader, begging to be allowed the library card she received at the age of five. Her favorite characters were likable underdogs like Ramona the Pest and Pippi Longstocking. She found refuge and hope in their stories. Little did she know then, reading was a precursor to her writing, and she was setting her future with every book she read.
When not reading, she could be found dancing to Motown, either in her room or down the Tacoma, Washington sidewalks. Her favorite pastime, however, was catching words in the family home. Whenever there was company, she would settle down in the den and open her ears like a porous, couch-side sponge, soaking in the words. Poetry found Glenis for the first time while the family was stationed in Italy during the early seventies. She was standing in an auditorium during a Black History program where she heard Cynthia Walker, the coolest girl in the world, recite Jacki Earley's socio-political poem, 1,968 Winters. It was this poem that initiated Glenis into the poetry world.
Years later, poetry found Glenis again, this time driving down a street in Richmond, Virginia. She had been a counselor for the last seven years after receiving her B.A. in Psychology from Erskine College. She had also worked on her Master's degree in Child and Family Studies at Texas Tech University. At the time, she was enrolled in the PhD program for Counseling Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth. She was also pregnant with her twin daughters, Amber and Celeste. Driving that day, Glenis had the distinct realization that she was on the wrong path. Poetry was calling her back. Amid the protests of her professors, she left the program, and embarked on the road she travels to this day. Now, fifteen years later, she is a full-time poet, traveling, writing, performing and teaching.
Words have carried Glenis around the globe, to performance venues and classrooms all over the world. She has most recently been invited to join the national touring roster for the Kennedy Center's Partnership in Education Teacher Training, where she will teach teachers what she has learned about making poetry real and accessible to the young. Influenced by her background in counseling, she has found one of her chief talents in working with at-risk teens, using poetry to draw them out of the shells they have built around their hearts and helping them to reach out to the world and express themselves. Through their words and the words of others, many begin to find healing. She has also designed workshops for both amateur and professional writers, from ages 9-90. She teaches them how to access their inner voices and creativity, and how to let their light shine out to the world through their words.
Glenis Redmond found her signature poem form in praise poetry. She has adopted this ancient form and made it her own. Traditionally, indigenous cultures all over the world have celebrated themselves, their heritage, and their gifts through praise poetry. So many cultures have since forgotten the healing power of praise and gratitude and the gifts that come from loving oneself without judgment. Glenis has seen the power of praise in her own life and shares this wisdom with the world through her praise poetry workshops and classes. When Glenis performs, audiences are brought to their feet by the grace, intensity, and passion with which she gives life to her poetry. She floats, glides, and pounds her way across the stage, her voice rings out, then becomes soft. Within moments, she has even the most stoic of audiences in her palm.
Glenis Redmond's poetry has been published in numerous literary journals and publications, including Obsidian II, Stanford University's Black Arts Quarterly, and Emrys Journal. She is the author of three chapbooks and has published a full-length work of poetry entitled Backbone. Her second full-length book is entitled Under the Sun and is scheduled to be released Fall 2005. Also to her credit is an award-winning feature-length video entitled Mama's Magic, as well as two CDs of her poetry. Dedicated to her 104 year-old grandmother, her latest CD is called Monumental.
Through her poetry, Glenis has found community and belonging. She has been associated with many organizations such as YWCA, Girl Scouts, Our Voice, Project STEAM, NC Center for Advancement of Teachers and NC Center for Non-Profits, and Helpmate. Once a native of nowhere, Glenis now knows that she belongs everywhere.
Kennedy Center Partnership in Education Teacher Training Roster
FarragoPoetry Festival , London, England
Nuyorican Poet's Café, New York, NY
Palmdale Playhouse, Palmdale, CA
Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center,Tampa, FL
Peace Center, Greenville, SC
Poetry Circus, Taos, NM
College of Charleston, Charleston,SC
Acadiana Arts Council, Lafayette, LA
Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH
University of Delaware, DE
Artsplosure, Raleigh, NC
Girls on the Move, Central Park, NY
Martin County Library, Stuart, FL
Association for Experiential Education International Conference, Charleston, WV
Women and Addiction National Conference, Kanuga, Hendersonville, NC
D. Michael Warner Foundation Conference, North Carolina Center for Non-Profits Conference, Charlotte, NC
Women's Leadership, Furman University, Greenville, SC
Current nominee~poet laureate to the State of NC
Cary McCray Literary Award 1995
Asheville Arts Council grant 2001
Atlantic Center for the Arts Fellowship 1995, 2002
Vermont Studio Center Fellowship 1998, 2002
Mountain Xpress, Best Poet of Western North Carolina 1999, 2002