I would like to introduce you to a powerhouse of a woman. She is a real life friend of a friend. I just learned of her this past week. I was wowed.
Glenis Gale Redmond’s love of words has carried her across the country for two decades. She logs over 35,000 miles a year bringing poetry to the masses. This Road Warrior Poet, though steeped in Afro-Carolininan roots, speaks a universal tongue of love, loss, celebration, sorrow and hope. Her verse uplifts family, culture and community. Glenis is a gentle pen pusher as she encourages others at diverse venues across the country from prisons, universities, festivals, conferences, camps, keynotes, rallies, to schools.
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 Yolanda Walker, in her opinion, the coolest black girl that ever lived, 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 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, twenty years later, she is a full-time poet, traveling, writing, performing and teaching.
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.
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.
She has been published most recently in Meridians, African Voices, EMRYS, Asheville Poetry Review,Kakalak: A Journal of Carolina Poets, Appalachian Heritage and the Appalachian Journal. Her manuscript Under The Sun was short listed by Autumn House Press. Her poems soothe, illicit and inspire others to pick up their pen and travel their own poetic road. 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.
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, homeless shelters, half-way houses, Blue Cross Blue Shield,and Helpmate.
Once a native of nowhere, Glenis now knows that she belongs everywhere.