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The Listening Skin by Glenis Redmond

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The dedication page of this poetry book explains its title with a quote from MC Richards, “Sometimes the skin seems to be the best listener, as it prickles and thrills, say to a sound or a silence; or the fantasy, the imagination: how it bursts into inner pictures as it listens and then responds by pressing its language, its forms, into the listening day.” For someone who describes herself in the title to her first poem as an “Afro Carolinian,” Glenis Redmond is especially aware of her skin. Living mostly in Greenville, South Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina, Glenis Redmond is in demand as both a performance poet and as a mentor poet serving young people. "In The Listening Skin, Glenis Redmond returns to the ancestors and the deep knowing that comes from being ever ready to receive the wisdom they give us. She plants us again in the South Carolinian soil and reaches across decades and continents back to the motherland for historical context, for truth, and for healing. She does not flinch from racism nor the complexities of what it means to carry trauma inside the Black body. These poems are beautifully rendered but don't shrink. I am grateful for the depth and breadth of the music and the keen use of the line in this collection but mostly I'm taken by the way Glenis holds us up to the light. In her sure hands we shine!"- Crystal Wilkinson. "When a voice ripens into full measure it is a moment to celebrate, and it was a feeling I couldn’t shake as I read Glenis Redmond’s superb and powerful new book The Listening Skin. Her poems are finely rendered daguerreotypes of histories entwined, of silences ended. Redmond often uses the image of flight here, and I couldn’t agree more; The Listening Skin has that certainty of lift, of knowing of how and when to turn once wing touches wind. The fuse that tells the bud now tells us that we are in the presence of a poet who has unfurled her finest moment."- Cornelius Eady.

New York: Four Way Books, 2022. 124 pages. Trade paperback.