Glenis is from many places per her father’s Air Force trek from Washington State, Italy, New Jersey, South Carolina and North Carolina.
When hard pressed to answer the question where she is from, Glenis always goes back to her roots. She calls herself: Bi-Carolinian, a person who is fiercely loyal to both states. Glenis proclaims she was raised in South Carolina, as a child and came into her own as a poet in North Carolina. She started her poetic journey in Greenville, South Carolina in Ms. Sergeant’s english class at Woodmont Junior and Senior High School and then later flared her writer wings in the nineties, when she moved to Asheville, North Carolina.
Though busy mothering her twin daughters at the time, she became an integral part of the already vibrant poetry scene. She kept busy by deepening her craft by participating in weekly slams by night in coffee houses, clubs and colleges and then by day teaching as a teaching artist in classrooms across the country. Simultaneously, she toured with an acting troupe, Poetry Alive! where she performed classic and contemporary poetry to students across the world. She performed five days a week, three shows a day.
Glenis is a poetic fire-starter: She founded the first Greenville Poetry Slam in 1995 and took the first all-women’s team to Nationals. Glenis is a two-time Individual Southern Fried Slam Champion and a two-time top ten finalist at the National Poetry Slam.
She was one of the original founders of WordSlam, the youth slam movement in Asheville, NC that began in 2007.
She also participated on the task force that created the first Writer-in-Residence at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in Flat Rock, NC.
In 2011, she is a founder of Peace Voices, a poetry program dedicated to poetic outreach and engagement in the community through the Education and Outreach Department The Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville, South Carolina.
Glenis is a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist and is listed in their National Touring Directory.
Education: Her B.A. is in Psychology from Erskine College and her Master of Fine Arts in Poetry is from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.
Awards: She is an esteemed Cave Canem Fellow (A Home for Black Poetry) and also an NC Literary Fellowship Recipient from the North Carolina Arts Council and Leo Twigg Award Recipient from the South Carolina Arts Commission.
Recent awards include: The Women Making History Award, 2013 and The Leo Twiggs Award, 2013 for outstanding artistic leadership and the Denny C. Plattner Award from Appalachian Heritage for Outstanding Poetry. Glenis is in the Mountain Xpress’s Hall Fame for being voted by her community as the best WNC Poet for last fifteen years.
Publications: Her first book is titled, Backbone. She has two CDs: Monumental and Glenis on Poetry (an interview that aired on NPR.) Her latest book of poetry is titled Under the Sun published by Main Street Rag.
Glenis is the Poet-in-Resident at The Peace Center for the Performing Arts, and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She makes her home in Charlotte, NC, Greenville, South Carolina and the road.
Glenis is grounded in many worlds: Poetry, The Teaching Arts and Imagination Activism. As a Poet, her feet are firmly planted on both the page and the stage. As a Teaching Artist, her educational reach extends into the classroom, where she teaches both students and teachers to open to their own poetry within. As a Spiritual Activist she uses the bright bloom of her heart and soul to unlock the doors of creativity in others.
Glenis believes poetry is the mouth that speaks, when all other mouths are silent.