Friday, March 29, 2024

Eugene B. Redmond and the Time Machine Operator

He's been an active reader, art enthusiast, attorney, and now Cleophus Thomas, Jr. adds time machine operator to his resume. Here's how. 

He recently contacted me and noted that he had some books by Eugene B. Redmond. He asked would Redmond autograph them. Of course. I had Attorney Thomas send me the books, and I took them to Redmond's house to get them signed. 

Thomas somehow got his hands on Redmond's first poetry  book, Sentry of the Four Golden Pillars (1970) and his second one, Songs from an Afro/Phone (1972). Thomas also acquired Redmond's Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry (1976) and Arkansippi Memwars: Poetry, Prose & Chants 1962-2012 (2014). 

Seeing those 1970s books took Redmond back in time. 

He shared some stories with me about what he was thinking about the world at that time. But beyond what he shared with me out loud, I could see him thinking to himself, recalling memories as he held the books in his hands. 

"Wow," he'd say, and shake his head while looking at the books. "Wow." He published Sentry and Song more than 50 years ago. So more than five decades of writing, teaching, researching, traveling, living.   

"This was my first book of poetry," Redmond said as he prepared to sign Sentry. "This image was done by Oliver Jackson. A really talented artist." 

"You ever seen this one?" Redmond asked as he held and prepared to sign Songs from an Afro/Phone

"When I've seen it," I informed Redmond, "it was under a glass," as in a collection with books from the 1970s. "Or, I'd seen photocopies of it. But not the actual volume."  

I've had many conversations over the last two decades with Redmond about his book Drumvoices, so we didn't talk as much about that one. 

What a good time we had this morning talking poetry and literary criticism and the arts. Big ups to Cleo Thomas, the time machine operator, for sending Redmond and me back to the 1970s, and for giving me yet another excuse to have a long winding conversation with him.


No comments: