May 29

Eugene Redmond & Maya Angelou: Two Poet Laureates from East St. Louis

The death of Maya Angelou on May 28, 2014, has been the occasion for a well deserved out pouring of praise, tributes, and “oh I so remember whens.”

I regret not having the opportunity to meet Ms. Angelou nor to hear her in person. As such it is difficult for me to add any even semi erudite comments or thoughts to those which I have had the privilege to read. One such man who has every reason under the sun to make his recollections and reminiscences known is my old friend Eugene Redmond.

Eugene was interviewed by Terry Perkins for St. Louis Public Radio.

“Here in the St. Louis area, where Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, as Marguerite Johnson before moving away to Stamps, Ark., at an early age, she leaves behind her “brother in spirit,” East St. Louis-born poet and scholar, Eugene Redmond.”


In this 2011 photo taken in Harlem, Maya Angelou is seated and Eugene Redmond is at her right.

Credit Ros Crenshaw

“Redmond is known as the Poet Laureate of East St. Louis, and his own literary accomplishments include seven volumes of poetry, as well as his groundbreaking 1976 work, “Drumvoices: The Mission of African-American Poetry, A Critical History.” He first met Angelou nearly half a century ago.”

The link to the complete transcript follows. http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/eugene-redmond-remembers-maya-angelou-she-wrote-truth

RIP Maya Angelou

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