Sunday, April 21, 2013

The poet as organizer: Treasure Redmond

Treasure Redmond with poets DaMaris Hill and Aisha Sharif
Back in around 1996, while I was a student at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, I once traveled across town to attend a poetry "reading" at Jackson State University. The "reading" featured poetry, rapping, singing, and a live band. The host and organizer for the event, whom I met at the end, was a poet named Treasure.

Friday night, I attended a reading here in St. Louis that included a DJ and featured poets from the expansive and popular poetry group Cave Canem. The event brought a range of artists and arts supporters together in one place. The host and organizer for the event was a poet named Treasure.

I've enjoyed and written about Treasure's poetry for some time now, but it's worth noting her work as an organizer. Over the years, in her brief time here in St. Louis, she's organized formal and informal readings, workshops, parties, and several impromptu get-togethers. Given the notion of novelists and poets as people who go away alone and write, we rarely have examinations of the poet as socialite, the poet as perpetually in the mix, the poet as organizer.

During the intervals of short intermissions for the event, Treasure was working the room, going up speaking to folks, rapping to various people about thises and thats, and keeping her eye and mind on her watch so she could get back to introducing the next poets to read. At one point, I called her name, and she came over to speak. Thanks for coming out, she said, just as she had done about 17 years ago at the reading where we first met in Jackson, Mississippi.

Treasure Redmond hosts poetry reading in St. Louis

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