Thursday, February 29, 2024

Eugene B. Redmond and Black Arts era poets

Eugene B. Redmond and Jayne Cortez, October 2005, SIUE

Someone was recently asking me about the state of African American literary studies at SIUE when I began in 2003. Of course, I thought about my work with Eugene B. Redmond -- the main reason I came to this university.

He wrote Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry (1976), and I wanted the chance to work with him. So I applied. The rest is history as they say. 

Redmond retired in 2007. Before that, he and I coordinated several readings featuring poets associated with the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Quincy Troupe. Sonia Sanchez. Amiri Baraka. Jayne Cortez. Haki Madhubuti. Mari Evans. [Related: 10 Years of Poets Reading at SIUE].

In retrospect, Redmond was moving toward retirement when I began, and those readings showcasing Black Arts era poets may have been a way of winding down his career. The poets were his old friends stopping by to reconnect.


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