Leo Connellan (November 30, 1928 – February 22, 2001) was an American poet born in Portland, Maine. He grew up in Rockland, Maine, spent much of his life in the environs of New York, and lived at the time of his death in Sprague, Connecticut. He spent considerable time traveling in the United States between the ages of 19 and 36, taking work as a salesman after his daughter was born.
Connellan's rough, "everyman" lyricism won him the admiration of such poet-critics as Karl Shapiro, Robert Penn Warren, Richard Eberhart, Richard Wilbur, David B. Axelrod and other major voices of the twentieth century. Connellan won the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and served as Connecticut's second Poet Laureate from 1996 until his death. His duties in this post were little defined, but Connellan said he saw promoting poetry in schools and supporting new writers as among his responsibilities. From 1987 until the time of his death, he was poet-in-residence for the Connecticut State University System. Connellan had himself attended the University of Maine. He was designated one of Maine's most prominent poets in the Maine Literary Hall of Fame.
Connellan took among his themes the fishing and lobstering industries in Maine, and the lives of New York commuters. His work featured in anthologies, including Wesley McNair's The Maine Poets: An Anthology of Verse, and the Curbstone Press's Poetry like bread anthology of "poets of the political imagination."
List of Publications
- The Maine Poems (1999)
- Short Poems, City Poems, 1944--1998 (1998)
- Provincetown and Other Poems (1995)
- New and Collected Poems (1989)
- The Clear Blue Lobster-Water Country: A Trilogy (1985)
- Shatterhouse (1983)
- Massachusetts Poems (1981)
- The Gunman and Other poems (1979)
- Death in Lobster Land: New Poems (1978)
- First Selected Poems (1976)
- Crossing America (1976) - Considered by many to be Connellan at his best.
- Another Poet in New York (1975)
- Penobscot Poems (1974)
- Ryan, Bill (23 June 1996). "A poet laureate's voice for the working class". New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Wolf, Stephen (2007). I Speak of the City. Connecticut University Press. p. 184.
- Weiss, Tara (24 February 2001). "A working man who wrote poetry: Connecticut's poet laureate dies after suffering massive stroke a week ago". Hartford Courant.
- Bernstein, Hattie (10 December 1989). "Poet teaches by example". Sunday Telegraph (Massachusetts).
- "Leo Connellan". Great American Publishing Society.
- Battista, Carolyn (2 January 1994). "A down-to-earth poet is an inspiration to students". New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Dufresne, Bethe (18 April 1996). "Connellan is named state poet laureate". The Day.
- Axelrod, David B (Spring 2001). "IN MEMORIUM, LEO CONNELLAN". Poetry Bay. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- "Leo Connellan, state poet laureate, 72". Associated Press. 24 February 2001. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Stowe, Stacey (19 March 2000). "It's official: fossil, bug, and bird, but dirt gets a veto". New York Times.
- Smith, Martha (5 February 1995). "Leo Connellan: I write about people who struggle just to stay alive". The Providence Journal.
- "Leo Connellan, Connecticut's poet laureate, 72". New York Times. 24 February 2001. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- "Maine Literary Hall of Fame". Maine Literature. Retrieved 29 March 2010.
- Wesley McNair, ed. (2006). The Maine Poets: An Anthology of Verse. Down East. ISBN 0-89272-708-X.
- Zapata, Martin (1994). Poetry like bread. Curbstone Press. ISBN 1-880684-15-2.
- Flint, RW (14 July 1985). "Sad and shaggy down east". New York Times.
- Carruth, Hayden (23 May 1976). "First selected poems". New York Times.
- Anstead, Alice (4 May 1994). "Commissioner of civic purity (Connellan biography)". Bangor Daily News.
- Connecticut Review Eulogy for Leo Connellan
- Maine honors
- Audio link