Eugene Redmond was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a poet, playwright, critic, editor, educator, and important figure in the Black Arts Movement. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and Washington University, St. Louis. In 1968 he published his first volume of poetry, A Tale of Two Toms, or Tom-Tom. Subsequent volumes include A Tale of Time & Toilet Tissue (1969), Sentry of the Four Golden Pillars (1970), River of Bones and Flesh and Blood (1971), Songs from an Afro/Phone (1972), Consider Loneliness as These Things (1973), In a Time of Rain & Desire (1973), and The Eye in the Ceiling (1992). Three of these collections were published by the Black Writers Press, which Redmond founded with Henry Dumas and Sherman Fowler. He is also author of Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry, a Critical History (1976), an influential survey of poetry from 1746 to 1976. His awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Pan-African Movement USA, a Pushcart Prize, an American Book Award, and Writing Fellowships from the California, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri and West Virginia Arts Councils. He has been poet in residence at Oberlin College, California State University, University of Wisconsin, and Wayne State University. Since 1990 Redmond has taught at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he is currently an emeritus professor of English and editor of Drumvoices Revue. He lives in East St. Louis, MO.
Lookingback, Jazzstained Jayne
Circa sixty-nine: after poetin out a
November ice/mare (with Robert Hayden, Ishmael Reed
& Stanley Crouch) at Buffalo’s Inter-American
Writers Congress, Quincy Troupe & I, like
gung-ho GI’s, climbed her jazz-stained stairs
where eyes/ears met an edible montage
above Big Apple’s Avenue of the Americas . . .
Ornate in its oblique nest, like Ornette’s
lofty funk/scapes, Jayne’s 4th floor walk-
up earth-whiled into archive, studio, sanctum,
repast, poem: sister-threads winding festivals &
funerals through joyful/elegiac mazes: exiting thru
penises & pearl tongues of artful exults,
in magic/reel yawps of yari yari . . .
Now, Jayne’s axe-bright tomes, flashin &
spittin torrent thru turrets of her fecund
decades, grieve & sculpt a pell mel/l,
you know, of AIDS, female spill/age,
drug gorge/s, walking-dead peeps, impish pimples
on a carcass dressed up in money . . .
Let Freedom Ring | April 17, 2008
Symposium IV | Advancing American Ideals: Democracy as a Goal for the Arts