Mary Beth O'Connor

Mary Beth O'Connor

Retired Assistant Professor, Department of Writing
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences
Faculty, Honors Program

Specialty:Personal Narrative

I grew up in northern New Jersey: Irish Catholic family, parochial schools, nuns who taught us to diagram sentences. In the early seventies I studied Folklore & Oral History at the University of Maine, Orono, then went on to graduate work in Cultural Anthropology at Syracuse University. I dropped out after receiving my M.A. and passing my Ph.D. exams (but before fieldwork and dissertation) to move to a "rustic" cabin in the Berkshires and work with schizophrenic adolescent boys at a residential institution. For the next 20 years or so I held a variety of low-paying jobs: Ithaca Journal delivery person, frat cook, part-time photographer... and finally returned to school in 1990 to pursue my Ph.D. in English/Writing, which is what I had really wanted to do all along (it takes some people awhile to figure things out). I live in an old farmhouse in the country with my spouse, whose two grown children often come around to visit. We now have a grandson to dote on, and another on the way. The only thing we're missing is a dog, and we hope to remedy that soon. I've been teaching at IC since 1996 and plan to retire at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year, so I can devote myself to various writing and painting projects.


  • Personal Narrative
  • Poetry
  • Poetics
  • Creativity and Madness Studies


  • Ph.D. English (poetry), Binghamton University, 1996
  • M.A. English (poetry), SUNY Binghamton, 1992 
  • M.A. Anthropology, Syracuse University, 1979
  • B.A. Anthropology, University of Maine, 1975

Some Publications 

  • “Annie Oakley Versus Eleven O’Clock Mass,” (story) forthcoming in Minerva Rising
  • “Every time, the same” (poem) Passager, Issue 59, 2014
  • “The Reincarnation of Wittgenstein” (poem) Sliver of Stone, August, 2014
  • "Virtue" (story), The Penduline Press," No. 10 September, 2013
  • "You Scared Me" (short short), River Lit 12/3/12
  • "Rigged and Ready" (short short), River Lit 11/26/12
  • "In Abruzzo" (short short), River Lit, 11/12/12
  • "Elegy" (poem), The Healing Muse, Vol. 12 No. 1, 2012
  • "Foreigners" and "Cures for Insomnia" (prose poems), Literary Bohemian, Issue 16, 2012
  • “These East Coast Tourists” (poem), Painted Bride Quarterly, Issue 85, 2012
  • "Age, Body, Repetition" (short short), River Lit, 9/24/12
  • "My Early Seventies" (Creative Non-Fiction), Inkwell, Issue 10, 2012
  • "Rite," "Professor X Circles the Drain," and "Preston" (shorts), Red Fez
  • “Gravity” and “When we aren’t looking” (poems), Printer’s Devil Review, Spring, 2011
  • “I’ll Have the Fish” (short story), Asinine Poetry, May, 2011
  • "Inheritance" (story) The Cafe Irreal, August, 2010, and Fiction Daily, September, 2010
  • "Sociology" (short) Mad Hatters' Review, 2010.
  • "Think of E. B. White" (poem) The Comstock Review, 2009.
  • "Harmony Falls," (one-act play), Prick of the Spindle. Vol 3.3, Fall 2009.
  • "Freud's Dream" (poem), Blue Earth Review, 2007.
  • "Waiting for the Alligators" (poem), In the Eye, Thunder Rain Publishing, 2007.
  • Smackdown! Winner of the 2006 Teachers' Voice Chapbook Competition.
  • "The Story of My Travels" (story), Massachusetts Review. Summer 2001, Vol. XLII, No. 2
  • Book Review: Ordinary Words, by Ruth Stone. Paintbrush: A Journal of Poetry and Translation. Vol. XXVII, 2000-2001.
  • "Memoir: Ruth Stone," Paintbrush: A Journal of Poetry and Translation. Vol. XXVII, 2000-2001.
  • "Pantoum" (poem), Massachusetts Review. Winter, Vol. XLI, No. 4, 2000-2001.


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