Eugene B. Redmond
(Poet Laureate of East St. Louis; Emeritus Professor of English, Founding Editor of Drumvoices Revue, and former Chairman of Creative Writing Committee at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville)
Eugene B. Redmond was named Poet Laureate of East St. Louis (Illinois) in 1976, the year Doubleday Publishing Co. released his best selling book, Drumvoices: The Mission of Afro-American Poetry. Earlier, he spent two years (1967-69) as Teacher-Counselor and Poet-in-Residence at Southern Illinois University’s Experiment in Higher Education (ESL) where he taught with Katherine Dunham. (In 2006 he coordinated the International Memorial Celebration for Miss Dunham.) From 1970-85, he was Professor of English and Poet-in-Residence at California State University-Sacramento. During that time he won an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, an Outstanding Faculty Research Award, a Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, and served as a visiting professor at universities in the U.S., Africa, and Europe. In 1986, a year after he returned home to East St. Louis, local authors created the Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club in his honor.
Author/editor of 25 volumes of poetry, collections of diverse writings, plays for stage and TV, and posthumously published works of Henry Dumas, Redmond read a poem at Maya Angelou’s 70th birthday gala (1998) hosted by Oprah Winfrey. (In April of 2008, his photo exhibit, “Eighty Moods of Maya,” was featured at Angelou’s 80th birthday party in Palm Beach, Florida.) The year 2008 also capped a long line of awards and accolades when he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from SIUE. Additionally, Redmond has won an American Book Award (for The Eye in the Ceiling), the Sterling Brown Award from ALA’s African American Literature and Culture Association, a Staying the Course Award from ETA of Chicago and a the St. Louis American Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award
(Salute to Excellence in Education Gala 2009).