Suzanne Ondrus will be hosting, “A Literary High Tea/Poetry Reading” on Friday, Dec. 5, with the help of the John Carroll Women’s and Gender Studies Program. The event, to be held in room 112 of the O’Malley Center, will ring in the holiday season with readings from Ondrus’ award-winning book, “Passion Seeds.”
“Passion Seeds,” a collection of poems that focuses on an American woman and a Burkinabe man, examines intercultural and interracial love.
“It is inspired by a relationship I had with a man from Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa. I started working on the book during my masters,” said Ondrus.
“Passion Seeds” won the 2013 Vernice Quebodeaux Prize and was published by Little Red Tree Publishing.
“My work explores some very uncomfortable terrain; thoughts and reactions that are usually not talked about, not even acknowledged, privately, in public, or even to oneself,” said Ondrus, addressing the idea of interracial love in her poetry.
“I have a range of poems that discuss race and ask the question: ‘Are we in a post racial society?’ When discussing such topics, I am always a little anxious,” she continued. “But, if we don’t talk about matters like racism, we can’t go forward.”
Ondrus has a doctorate in comparative literary and cultural studies with a focus on African women’s epistolary from the University of Connecticut, a master’s of fine arts from Bowling Green State University, a master’s from Binghamton University and a bachelor’s degree from Wells College.
Ondrus has lived in Russia, Benin, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Italy and Germany and has worked with multiple renowned poets including Ruth Stone, Larissa Szporluk and Amy Newman.
Ondrus added, “It will be interesting to see how the John Carroll audience responds to my poetry. It is a little treat before finals week.”
Editor’s Note: Information from suzanneondrus.com was used in this article.