Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

Glenis Redmond
P/53
Press Fifty-Three

560 N. Trade St, Ste 103
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

POEM

What My Hand Say 
Glenis Redmond

ISBN 978-1-941209-45-5

9 x 6 paperback, 102 pages

Publication date: September 1
$14.95
$14.95
Glenis Redmond travels nationally and internationally reading and teaching poetryso much that she has earned the title, Road Warrior Poet. She has posts as the Poet-in-Residence at The Peace Center for the Performing Arts in Greenville, South Carolina, and also at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, New Jersey. During February 2016, at the request of U.S. State Department for their Speaker's Bureau, Glenis traveled to Muscat, Oman, to teach a series of poetry workshops and perform poetry for Black History Month.

In 2014-16, Glenis served as the Mentor Poet for the National Student Poet's Program to prepare students to read at the Library of Congress, the Department of Education, and for First Lady Michelle Obama at The White House. Glenis is a Cave Canem Fellow, a North Carolina Literary Fellowship Recipient, and a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist. She also helped create the first Writer-in-Residence at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in Flat Rock, North Carolina. 

Glenis believes that poetry is a healer, and she can be found in the trenches across the world applying pressure to those in need, one poem at a time.  

Visit Glenis at www.glenisredmond.com 

Praise for What My Hand Say

In What My Hand Say, Glenis Redmond digs deep, risking peace of mind, the comfort of ignorance and the assurance of being numb to history and memory, to make poems that are urgent, full of alarm, and marked by the realization that the best art is one that dares to look boldly at hard experience and still find a music in it. This a welcome collection by a poet engaged in the necessary work of writing with a full sense of place and history. South Carolina is fecund with stories and musics, and Redmond manages to tap into this complex resource with skill and heart. 

Kwame Dawes, author of City of Bones: A Testament

If poets make words bloom, Glenis Redmond is a master gardener bringing untended history back to life in verse. Rooted in the South Carolina soil where so many stolen Africans were first transplanted, Redmond shares the stories of the state’s sons and daughters: her mama’s cotton, Dave the Potter’s clay vessels, 14-year-old George Stinney’s electric chair, Dizzy’s notes, her father’s fights and fists. Renown as a stage performer, her poems likewise blossom on the page, growing in stanzas that show off Redmond’s mastery of voice and form. Listen to what her hand say, as she pulls stories up by the roots and replants them in this unforgettable volume of verse.

P. Gabrielle Foreman, Ned B. Allen Professor of English, Black Studies and History, University of
   Delaware

Some books of poetry resonate so profoundly with us that they sing to the surface our own stories, helping us understand them within the historical and personal context of another poet's experience. In these too-often divisive times, I am grateful to have Glenis Redmond's new collection, What My Hand Say, in my hands. In its lines I hear a voice that harks back to the praise-singers of West Africa, as well as to the porches and back yards of the deep South, voices that sing beyond their ancestral birthplaces into that larger culture in which we live. What My Hand Say lifts up the lifelines and the song lines of Redmond's people, and in doing so, they encompass all our voices. Her stories become our stories. "My head bowed / eyes intent on the stitch, not busy with blame— / I work the pieces," she tells us. "These stories are useful things, / stitches I follow. / They guide me clear, / and help me stand." They can, if we let them, help us stand, too. This is the joy and power of poetry. 

—Kathryn Stripling Byer, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina and author of Descent
Cover artist April Wilson Harrison paints images primarily in acrylics, powders, watercolors, pencils and collage. She finds that working with this unique palette offers faster drying times, enabling her to overlay color in one painting session, giving the work its tapestry-like background. She often incorporates found objects into her paintings, such as coins from around the world, specialty papers, magazine print, and interesting treasures that she finds on the street. Even nearly discarded paintings are given new life and recycled into newer works of art, thus creating texture and dimension.

She is a self taught artist and believes that she is merely a vessel being utilized to instinctively create narrative, sentiment, and observation. She is humbled by this gift.

Her paintings are the result of internal communication that require expressions of acceptance, pride, adoration, and dignity. In creating these images she has come to appreciate artists who have been granted diverse narratives. April believes that when art moves the heart and awakens the spirit, it makes no distinction as to its originator. 

Find more of April’s art at AprilSongGallery.com

Fight’s On

Before daddy developed
a taste for blood, 
I wondered if he ever 

dreamed of peace 
blooming 
on his tongue.

The world being 
what it is
handed him ends: 

He adjusted his taste for salt,
the thump and bump 
of high blood.

Pig feet and chitlins,
rearing 
into fist.

Our house, his ring—
how he loved
to swing.

We just fell against the ropes
always coming back 
to the center

pulled by love 
or some deep need
to belong or be touched by him

if only by words 
or by fist. 
We found our groove, 

the bob and weave,
the eggshell dance, 
we did upon 

his fickle mood.
Forced moves
he taught 

my headstrong brothers 
to always hear, 
fight’s on.

This is how he saw fit 
to equip them, not with love 
but with gloves,

to connect with fist 
in the middle of the chest
or an upper cut to the jaw.

This is how they grew to men: 
their hard boy bodies 
cured like leather, 

never resting in time or space, 
only to embrace when fatigued. 
Hug only to break a fall.

I wonder what daddy 
would have become, if raised 
on fresh sprouts and fruits,

the sweet juice of life 
not the scrawny ends. 
Would he still scrap for a fight?

Better fight than cry
Better jab than run
Better swing than die

As the stroke placed 
the final blow:  
stripped his speech. 

His last act, 
he forced his fingers. 
into a peace sign 

as if the world 
had finally offered 
him a worthy round.