The second renowned poet to visit Anson County in two days, Glenis Redmond spoke to several students at the Ansonia Theatre on Wednesday.
Redmond’s appearance in Anson followed that of N.C. Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti’s on Tuesday evening. While Bathanti spoke to an adult audience, Redmond focused on the children from Anson Middle and Anson High Schools.
Students were able to hear some of Redmond’s own work and to be inspired by her encouragement for them to write. “Writing is important,” she stressed to them. “Write your thoughts, your dreams, your inspirations, because writing is power.” She encouraged every student there to buy a notebook to jot their thoughts in.
Redmond spoke to them about one of her favorite poets, David Drake. She said that Drake was known as “Dave the Potter,” because, born in the 1800s, Drake was a slave who made pottery. But although some know his as “Dave the Slave,” Redmond said that he should be known as a person, an artist and a poet before that. She read a couplet he inscribed on a pottery piece: “I wonder where is all my relations/friendship to all in every nation.”
She broke this down for the children, explaining that Drake’s curiosity for his parents was a result of his family members being sold away as slaves. He expressed his thoughts and emotions at his experiences through his poetry. These small inscriptions were also acts of rebellion, as slaves were not allowed to read and write.
Redmond read a poem called “Praise Dave” that she wrote in Dave’s own voice. Through this poem, “I’m using my imagination, I’m shapeshifting, becoming a slave, becoming a man,” she told the children. “I’m using his voice.” She encouraged the children to constantly use their imagination and to write. At the end of the presentation, she answered their questions.
Before presenting to the AMS and AHS children at the Ansonia, Redmond visited the high school and Anson Early College. Some of her work can be found at her website at www.glenisredmond.com.