Poet Glenis Redmond Explains the Necessity of Optimism in These Troubling Times

When the North Carolina Arts Council asked Glenis Redmond for an interview upon receiving the NC Literary Award Recipient at the McColl Center for the Arts, she was unsure if she would be articulate as recent events had her feeling “raw.” However, at the end of the interview, her interviewer requested that Redmond recite a poem. Redmond chose a poem she wrote in the 90's entitled “Our Spirit Stands.”

She says, “The Charleston Massacre turned me inside out as it did so many. My heart is with the Charleston community and our whole country. I have prayed knee-bent prayers [all] week. This collision of racial tension is not new. It just keeps showing its ugly head and it will not go away until we can deal with this monster and all of its wounds.

“It’s really ugly. So many are up in arms about the Confederate Flag coming down, citing it will cause more problems. They said the same thing about slavery, [but] some problems are worth the pain. Some pain is a path leading toward healing.

I have found solace in many and indifference/apathy and outright hatred in many others, but this is nothing new. It saddens me that people can't just listen and witness when people say they are hurting. Listen that's all—no lecture needed.

“Georgann [Eubanks of Minnow Media] asked [me] to recite a poem at the end of the interview and I said that my poem "Our Spirit Stands" was on my mind. Though it was written in the 90's, it feels relevant for today.

“I hope this poem resonates. I hope that you are cared for and well-loved and circled with understanding tonight.
 I will leave you with the spiritual that my grandma use to sing: ‘I'm gonna treat everybody right. I'm gonna stay on the battlefield until I die.’”

Photo: John Fletcher


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