Poetry is that place where I live fully. I’m wholly alive. And when I say it saves me, that’s how it saves me, it allows me to be whole.—Glenis Redmond
Glenis Redmond is a poet, a teaching artist, and an imagination activist. She travels over 35,000 miles a year bringing poetry to prisons, half-way houses, corporations, and schools. She’s the poet in residence at the Peace Center in Greenville, SC and the State Theater in New Brunswick, NJ as well as a NC Literary Recipient and a Cave Canem Fellow. Glenis lives in Greenville, SC.
What time do you get up?
Depends on whether I am working in the office at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts or the State Theatre. I am Poet-in-Residence at both. One is in Greenville, SC my hometown and the other is in Central Jersery. I’m an early riser. I tend to wake up at 6 am when I am on the work clock. If I am on my own clock, I wake around 8:00. I love morning, but I rather not be verbal during that time. It is really a time for me to muse.
What time do you go to sleep?
Ugh. Ideally between 10:00-11:00 Realistically 12:00-1:30.
Is your creative work your full-time job?
Yes, I am a full-time Poet and Teaching Artist.
Do you wait for inspiration before you begin or do you begin regardless of inspiration?
I do both. I write when the fit of inspiration hits, but I also work on projects and write consistently. There are too many poems to be written in this lifetime.
How many hours a day, on average, do you do your creative work?
Ideally 4 to 5 hours a day, but because I also run literary programming for my two Poet-in-Residence posts I don’t always denote that amount of time.
At what point are you done for the day?
I am never done for the day, but I really try to shut off around 6:00 PM to do family things. Be present for family. I tend to pick up the pen when everyone has gone to sleep.
Do you work primarily in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
I work anytime, but creatively it is in the morning or late evening. The muse likes early morning and late night when not too many people are stirring.
Do you have a daily routine for your creative work?
How does it start?
I write by hand in my journal. I love to be in informal pose: on my bed or on the couch or sometimes on the floor. I am pretty ritualistic too. Sage. Candles. Rosewater.
How does it end?
When I am spent. I can emerge many hours later. I have to remind myself to eat, shower and tend to myself. I get lost.
How has your creative process changed over the years?
One thing that has not change is that I write by hand. However, what has changed is that I have ongoing projects, so when I can get back to my work. I have tasks to complete.
Do you have a dedicated work space?
Yes, However there is the administrative workspace and then there is the library with a comfy chair that appeals to my museI work from home but have a separate studio room.
If yes, do you have anything in your work space to encourage creativity?
I just moved so I have not set up the library, but yes I have pictures of authors. I have quotes and artwork that inspires me and 8-10 bookshelves of books. I am surrounded by kindred thinkers.
How do you stay focused in a world of the internet, social media, interruptions, and other distractions?
I blog on social media about poetry. I can get distracted, but even my distractions are poetry related.
How do you maintain your creative energy?
I walk. I dream. I eat well. I live life fully. I engage in other artistic outings other than poetry: dance, museums and film. I love life. I need to nap more, but I am a bit too high strung for that.
Are there any books that you turn to for inspiration and guidance?
Book of Light by Lucille Clifton
Their eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The Soul of Black Folks by WEB Dubois
Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte
Original Fire by Louise Erdrich
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hays
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
What other activities do you engage in to encourage your creativity outside of your creative work time?
Dance is my first love, though I do not do it enough. I read voraciously. I travel. I love musicals and plays. My grandson Julian is my favorite person and pastime. He keeps me honest with my feelings. We play.
The deeper stuff...To listen to the conversation with Glenis on The Creativity Habit podcast:
Every Monday a new interview.Conversations about art, creativity, and courage.