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Old Dominion University


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Free Reading: Mary Jean Kledzik and Desiree Cooper

Literary Festival
University Theatre
Wednesday, Oct 9, 2019 at 1:00 PM (ET)

Mary Jean Kledzik’s book, As if Wine Could Pour from Her Nipple, was called “obsessive, lyrical, tender as a lover’s touch, tender as a bruise.” by former VA Poet Laureate Ron Smith. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Hotel Amerika, Agni, Gargoyle, Margie, Western Humanities Review and elsewhere. She won awards from the Barbara Deming Foundation, VCU, Kentucky Women Writers Conference and the Poetry Society of Virginia as well as a fellowship to Ragdale. From a childhood of sexual abuse followed by decades of depression and poverty, she supported herself and two children as a single parent while getting a college degree, one course at a time at age 36. Then, after better jobs, she married, retired and got an MFA from VCU at age 64. She believes in poetry and persistence. David Wojahn wrote “superb collection…with insight, bravado, technical fluency, and bittersweet lucidity.”

A 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow, Desiree Cooper is a former attorney, Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist and community activist. She is an evocative speaker on the themes of racial and gender equality, reproductive freedom, family-positive public policy and the welfare of women and girls. As a full-time caregiver for her aging parents, she writes widely about women, self-care and reinvention. A sought-after creative writing instructor, she conducts readings from her flash fiction collection, Know the Mother, like an “instant book club.”

For more information, please contact the ODU Department of English at (757) 683-3991 or email

Free and open to the community. Free parking is available in Garage D, 1070 W. 45th St., excluding spaces marked "Reserved."

A full list of the ODU Literary Festival events and readers can be found at

This festival is made possible in part through sponsorship by the City of Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

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Event Location
4600 Hampton Blvd Norfolk, VA 23508

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