86-Year-Old Poet Jean L. Connor to Read from Debut Book Oct. 6
September 15, 2005
Contact: University Relations
Jean L. Connor, the 86-year-old poet whose book, A Cartography of Peace, is the first selection published by the University of Baltimore-affiliated Passager Books imprint, will conduct a reading from her work at UB on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. in Room 003 in the William H. Thumel Sr. Business Center. The event, the first in this year’s Fall Reading Series at UB, is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.
Connor, who resides in a retirement community called Wake Robin in Shelburne, Vt., had not published a book until Cartography came out earlier this year. The poems in the collection were written between her 75th and 85th years, after she retired as a director of library development for the State of New York. Connor is a 1941 graduate of Middlebury College and Columbia University and a veteran of many writing workshops. Prior to her retirement, she lived in Albany, N.Y.
“When I thought about how I would like to spend my time after retirement, I decided I wanted to use my imagination,” Connor said about her decision to take up poetry.
U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser selected a poem by Connor for his American Life in Poetry series, a syndicated column appearing in newspapers across the country.
Passager Books is a new imprint of Passager, a national literary journal affiliated with the University of Baltimore and the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts.
Passager editor and co-founder Kendra Kopelke, director of the master’s program in creative writing and publishing arts at UB, said of the journal and imprint, “Our mission is to promote creativity in old age, change and broaden thinking, and explore imagination at this stage of life.”
Kopelke, who accompanied Connor on the author’s reading tour this past summer, said she is excited to bring Connor to UB.
“Cartography has received such an enthusiastic response from a wide audience,” she said. “As one of our readers wrote to us, Connor gives us all hope.”
A Cartography of Peace is earning praise from critics far and wide. Writer David Huddle said, “These are poems to get you through the winter, move you through the dark, and help you love the world again.” Poet Joan Aleshire said, “Connor’s eye and remarkable ear create a space in which the reader stops in wonder at this poet’s ability to evoke the evanescent details of observable life, and at her bravery in facing the unanswerable questions at life’s invisible heart. Reading this book is a meditative act.” The (Baltimore) Sun said: “[Connor] exemplifies the kind of emerging voice for which [Passager] is known – surprising, honest, spirited and with the perspective and refinement that comes from knocking about on the planet for a half century or more.”
Founded 15 years ago, Passager is published twice annually, once as the result of a poetry contest for writers over 50, and the second as an open issue for writers of all ages, featuring fiction, poetry, and memoirs.
Upcoming readings in UB’s series will be announced shortly. Additional information about Passager and Passager Books is available at www.passager press.com.
The University of Baltimore is an upper-division, graduate and professional university. UB—the state’s career-minded university—is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts and the Robert G. Merrick School of Business.