Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Eugene B. Redmond Interviews as a Blueprint

Still  of Eugene B. Redmond during interview with Mary Rose in 2011 
In 2011 and 2012, I worked with Lovejoy Library metadata specialist Mary Rose and digital imaging specialist Virginia Stricklin to produce a series of extended interviews with Eugene B. Redmond to complement the overall Eugene B. Redmond Collection and digital collections related to his work. Redmond covers a variety of topics in the interviews, providing a sense of his personal history as well as the larger social histories of black poets.

Overall, I hope that the production of the Redmond interviews serves as a blueprint for how people might go about the task of preserving the work and reflections of African American poets.

The Redmond interviews include video, audio, and transcriptions. Rose deserves special credit for coordinating the efforts to make the productions possible. I recall stopping by her office some years ago as she was studying the processes of producing high-quality oral histories and as she completed grants to purchase recording equipment and software.

Rose interviewed Redmond on October 11, 2011, where he discussed his attending SIUE at the East St. Louis Center, his work with Katherine Dunham, and other topics. I interviewed Redmond on November 23, 2011, as he talked about writing Drumvoices (1976), and select images from his photograph collection. On March 12, 2012, Rose and I interviewed Redmond about his poetry. Stricklin recorded each of the interviews. Rose transcribed the recordings.

Rose's transcriptions of the videos include time markers so that it's possible to read the interview and match the time to particular moments in the video. Her laborious work here with the transcriptions results in a really rewarding document that readers can easily search through for Redmond's discussions of specific words and phrases.

Imagine the wealth of information and reflections that we would have on black poetry and culture history if faculty and staff at various libraries agreed to record, transcribe, and post interviews from poets. The field of African American poetry studies would definitely benefit from such  productions. The Eugene B. Redmond Interviews serves as an important blueprint for what's possible.

A Notebook on Lovejoy Library's EBR Digital Collection
Eugene B. Redmond

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