CSULA Department of English | Events

Eugene B. Redmond, Emeritus Professor of English and Founding Editor of Drumvoices Revue, will read from his works and participate in a critical conversation at CSULA. This event will take place on Thursday, October 25, 2012, in the Music Hall, starting at 5pm and is free and open to the public. Professor Redmond's presentation will be followed by a reception with refreshments, and book sales and signing. 

This event is sponsored by the Department of English, the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, and Statement Magazine

picture of Eugene Redmond


Professor Redmond is former Chairman of the Creative Writing Committee at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Redmond was named Poet Laureate of East Saint Louis (IL) in 1976, the same year Doubleday published his best selling book, Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry: A Critical Commentary. From 1970-85, Redmond was Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence in Ethnic Studies at California State University-Sacramento where he won several honors including an Outstanding Faculty Research Award. Before he began his 15-year stint at CSUS, he spent two years (1967-69) as Teacher-Counselor and Poet-in-Residence at Southern Illinois University's Experiment in Higher Education (EHE) in East St. Louis. At EHE, he taught with Henry Dumas, Joyce Ladner, Oliver Jackson, and Katherine Dunham, serving as a Senior Consultant to the latter at her Performing Arts Training Center.

Currently in the middle of a multi-year epic poem about Dunham, Redmond has authored or edited more than 25 volumes of poetry, collections of diverse writings, and plays for stage and TV. In his capacity as Dumas’ Literary Executor (since 1968) he has, with assistance from Amiri Baraka and Toni Morrison, edited several collections of the late writer’s works.

Redmond's awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Pan-African Movement USA, a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, a Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, a Tribute to an Elder Honor from the African Poetry Theater of NYC, an American Book Award (ABA) for The Eye in the Ceiling: Selected Poems (1993), a second ABA for Lifetime Achievement (2012), and Writing Fellowships from the Art Councils of California, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri and West Virginia.

Other collections of his poetry include Sentry of the Four Golden Pillars (1970), River of Bones and Flesh and Blood (1971), Songs from an Afro-Phone (1972), In a Time of Rain & Desire: New Love Poems (1973), Consider Loneliness as These Things (1974), and Blues-Ode to the Fore Dreamers & Other Poems (2001). He also edited two anthologies: Sides of the River: A Mini-Anthology of Black Writings (1969) and Griefs of Joy: Anthology of Afro-American Poetry for Students (1977), and released an LP recording/CD reading his poetry to musical accompaniment: Blood Links and Sacred Places (1973/2001). Redmond's 50-year retrospective of writings, Arkansippi Memwars: 1962-2012 (Poems, Prose & Chants), will be published later this year by Third World Press.

In 1986, a group of East Saint Louis authors—headed by Sherman L. Fowler and Darlene Roy--established the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club in his honor; and in 1998, Oprah Winfrey invited him to read an original poem at Maya Angelou's 70th birthday gala which took place aboard a cruise ship that Winfrey reserved for Angelou and several hundred of her closest friends. In 1999, Redmond joined Angelou, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, Lerone Bennett Jr., August Wilson and Henry Dumas as an inductee into the International Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent.

In 2003, he received the Staying the Course Award from ETA of Chicago; fellow awardees included Angela Bassett, CCH Pounder, Conrad Worrill, and Gordon Parks. Having begun taking pictures of African American writers and cultural icons in the 1960's, Redmond experienced the fruits of his photographic labors in 2004 when "Visualizing Black Writers: An Extra-Literary Exhibit from the Eugene B. Redmond Collection," curated by Howard Rambsy II, received international premiers at Morris University Center Gallery, SIU-Edwardsville (February); and the African Studies Institute Gallery, University of Ibadan in Nigeria (May).

Other exhibits have occurred at James Madison University, University of Kansas-Lawrence, East St. Louis (IL) Municipal Building, Missouri History Museum (St. Louis), University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa, and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has been Writer-in-Residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Southern University-Baton Rouge, the University of Lagos-Nigeria, Wayne State University (as the Martin Luther King Jr.-Cesar Chavez-Rosa Parks Distinguished Visiting Professor/Writer), Leiden University-Holland, and University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Recent issues of Drumvoices (#15, #16 & #17) feature "Kwansabas for Maya Angelou & Quincy Troupe," as well as interviews with Angelou, Troupe and Michael Datcher; "Kwansabas for Richard Wright/Centennial"; and poetic/prosaic homage to the "20th Anniversary of DR," "The East St. Louis Sesquicentennial," "EBR Writers Club's 25th Birthday," and the "85th Birthday of Miles Davis." Companions to Drumvoices include Images & Homages: 'Memwars' from the Eugene B. Redmond Collection and Eighty Moods of Maya & Other Photo-Poetic Moments from the EBR Collection, all being volumes of photos, paintings, posters, and various memorabilia gathered by Redmond over the past five decades.

In 2007, Redmond was inducted into the Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield, and received the Sterling A. Brown Lifetime Achievement Award from the African American Literature and Culture Society of the American Literature Association. In the same year, during a November event in honor of his 70th birthday and retirement, SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift announced the University’s plan to bestow an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters on Redmond. That bestowal took place in May, 2008, when Redmond gave the commencement address.

For more information, call the Cal State L.A. English Department at (323) 343-4140, or contact Dr. Lauri Ramey ([email protected]). 

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