Library leads poet to life of writing

Rylee Seavers | Broadcast Reporter

Poet Tony Connor was born in 1930 and grew up in Manchester, England. He began writing poetry when he was only 13 years old, after first being exposed to it at his local library.

“What I noticed is at the back of the library, the dark shelves where hardly anybody ever went and I started to explore these shelves and found that these were full of poetry books,” Connor said.

Connor said he left school at 14 years old and did not attend college. He said this was a good thing because he was not overwhelmed with ideas.

“Shakespeare didn’t go to university, Keats didn’t go to university, Dylan Thomas didn’t go to university and I’m just one of very many poets who’ve come to it by a different route,” he said.

Connor said he started taking poetry seriously when he was in his 20’s, but didn’t think he would become a poet.

“I’m not one of these people who has lots and lots of fine ideas. Anything that I’ve got to say about the nature of human life or about truth or anything else is always told through anecdotes of the human life that I’ve lead and that I’ve known about through the lives of other people,” Connor said.

Dr. Kevin Gardner, chair of the English department, said poetry can seem confusing and distant, but it should be accessible. Connor makes it clear that his poetry is intended for everybody.

“He believes that poetry is for the people and that anybody should be able to read it or listen to it and learn from it,” Gardner said.

Connor read some of his poems on Thursday night at a poetry reading in Armstrong Browning Library.