Dear Poetry Community:
For the first time on this poetry path, I am delivering a Community Impact Report so the community-at-large understands the scope of my Road Warrior Journeys. I work at the Peace Center in Greenville, SC, The State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ and also as a teaching artist through the Kennedy Center as a Teaching Artist working with their Partnerships across the country for the last nineteen years. In this role, I teach teachers how to implement poetry in the classroom.
For the last five years I have been honored to Mentor Poet for the National Students Program in Washington DC. My poetic service is not limited to these organizations, but is a large part of the work that I provide. I work in many more places as I am called by my heart – locally, regionally nationally and internationally. This year I was pleased to write commissioned poems – two that I will highlight here are “How to Remember Constellations” for The Lost Souls Memorial Project in New Jersey. It is about a horrible time history when a heinous judge sold free people of color into the deeper south for a higher price. The poem is to help raise funds for the memorial. I also wrote a poem for the Rotary Club Conflict and Resolution Conference, “Peace is a Verb an Action Verb.” You can find the video on my website. http://www.glenisredmond.com/peace-is-a-verb-an-action-word/
This year I have been buffered and buoyed by my engagements. I was pleased by the deepening relationships with institutions and mostly connecting with people. I participated in several profound creative collaborations with my colleagues from University of Delaware. We produced The Three Harriets and David Drake which played Adelaide, Australia states and at the Peace Center. I have been to, Naples, Sarasota, West Palm, Maui, Molokai in Hawaii to Wichita, Kansas and many points in between, but you know what Dorothy says, “There’s no place like home.” One of my most fulfilling moments was in Charleston, South Carolina reading poetry on the McCleod Plantation between the plantation and enslaved cabins that were still inhabited by African-American occupants up until 1976.
During my reading my mama sitting in the audience reported that the whole time a butterfly circled. I take that as an auspicious sign. I kept reaching my right hand back to the field behind me while reading. Mama, “Said if only we could have seen the people in the field working.” This is the way of my mama naming what I am feeling. I could feel the ancestors’ palpable reach. I choose to call that moment: The Field of Us.
All, I just wanted to share some of my work highlights from this year as a teaching artist and poet. Many of you have made it possible for me to be on this journey and do this work. I am grateful to have received just as much as I have been given for that I am grateful.