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Poetry Reading with Karen Kotrba Monday, Nov. 5

Posted Oct. 26, 2012


“Women. Horses. Babies. Mountains.  Eastern Kentucky in the early twentieth century.  The nurse-midwives of the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS) rode cabin to cabin on horseback, navigating a mountain landscape to deliver babies and care for families. FNS Founder Mary Breckinridge, the nurse-midwives and the families they touched have long intrigued me.” Karen Kotrba

Poet Karen Kotrba will read from her recently published book of poems She Who Is Like a Mare: Poems of Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service on November 5, 2012. Readings will be held at 1:00 pm at Java Jo’s, 514 East 5th Street, East Liverpool  and at 5:30 pm in the Quiet Study Lounge of the Main Building, 400 E. 4th Street.   

Karen Kotrba grew up and lives in Columbiana, Ohio. She is a graduate of Kent State University and the Northeast Ohio MFA Program. A former professor of writing at Kent State University East Liverpool Campus, Kotrba currently teaches at Youngstown State University.  She has taught a number of writing workshops in community venues, including a workshop for MS patients at Cleveland Clinic. Kotrba says her interest in nursing and in the nursing profession was sparked by her mother’s career in nursing.

Maggie Anderson, poet and retired Director of the Wick Poetry Program at Kent State writes: “The skillfully rendered dramatic monologues of Karen Kotrba’s She Who is Like a Mare document the remarkable history of the Frontier Nursing Service in eastern Kentucky in the early twentieth century...She has brought to light a little known piece of women’s history--a story of cunning, courage, and caring- and has done so with unforgettable imagery, beautiful music, and love. This is a book I want to keep near me and reread, to remind myself of what is still possible in poetry and in our lives.” 

Of Kotrba’s work, poet and nurse Jeanne Bryner writes, “through the capable hands of Karen Kotrba’s artistry, we saddle up, heave ourselves into the night’s saddle and ride off to Kentucky’s back country. In this book we witness the birthing of Mary Breckinridge’s vision for healthcare delivery. These wellcrafted poems reconstruct a community of women pushing the boundaries of their lives.” 

Kotrba’s readings are free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and for signing.


Dr. Patti Swartz,, 330-382-7450