Archive | August 2013

Obituaries: Fostoria Review Times, August 27, 2013

Fostoria Review Times, August 27, 2013

Elizabeth Ann Porter Shiblaq

1208892_10200376427677569_1699172268_nThe former Elizabeth Ann Porter died Sunday, August 4, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio. She was born in Fostoria on March 18, 1935, the daughter of William T. and Elizabeth (Carter) Porter.

Elizabeth Ann married Adnan Shiblaq December 21,1957, in the old Methodist Church in Fostoria. The couple then made their home in Columbus.

Elizabeth Ann was preceded in death by her parents and a brother, Thomas. She is survived by her husband, Adnan, and a son, Saladin, both of Columbus; a son, Omar, and granddaughter, Hannah, of Alexandria, VA; brothers, John and William Porter, of Washington, D.C.; a sister, Christina Llewellyn, of Silver Spring, MD; and a sister, Sara Reinhart, of Berwick, OH; several nieces and nephews, and a host of cousins and friends.

She graduated from Fostoria High School in 1953. After graduation she was employed at the Fostoria Public Library and was an active member of the Fostoria Art League. She taught ballet classes in her home on West Fremont Street and danced in the corps de ballet with the Toledo Ballet.

She was a writer and poet who published in scores of periodicals, journals and anthologies under the pen name of Elizabeth Ann James. Many of her poems referred to Fostoria and the people she had known here.

Ms. James gave poetry readings throughout Ohio and at national venues including the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Renwick Gallery of Art, and the Library of Congress. She was host and interviewer for “Writers’ Roundtable” on Columbus cable television, an instructor with Artists In The Schools for the greater Columbus area, and Writer in Residence for the Columbus Public Libraries. She served on the Ohio Arts Council, and was a member of the Ohio Poetry Association. Among her awards were those from the International Journal of James Joyce Studies and the Academy of American Poets.

Elizabeth Ann collaborated with many other poets and artists, writing and directing several plays about famous people, including John Quinn, art collector, who grew up in Fostoria. Her local poetry readings and workshops gave encouragement and instruction to many, and she was eventually recognized as the grande dame of Columbus poetry. In addition to her poetry, she wrote arts reviews for the Columbus Free Press, Short North Gazette, and on her blog, Liz James Art Scene.

Graveside services were held August 9 at Union Cemetery, Columbus. A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 7, 2013, from 1-4 pm, at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 93 West Weisheimer Road, Columbus, OH 43214.


Photos: Elizabeth and the Umbrella Poets

One of the poetry groups thta Liz founded is  the Umbrella Poets. I have identified the poets as best I can.  Clarifications welcome:


IMG_1351 (1)

Back row: Steve Abbot, Mim Chenfield, Fred Andrle, Craig McVay,  Front Row:  Jim Coe, Elizabeth Ann James, Faye Ettinger.

Photos courtesy of Fred Anderle

Photo: Elizabeth the teacher


Elizabeth Ann identified herself as a writer, specifically a poet. Over the years she was involved with — indeed, organized — several small groups of writers and poets. She encouraged, listened, read, and challenged in workshops, poetry readings and other gatherings. Now, when I think back, I realize she had remained the same person who, 70 years ago, gathered us little kids together and read a story to us.

Photo and text courtesy of Jill Carter Knuth


Photo: Elizabeth, Jill, and the Bronte poem quilt


Elizabeth Ann and I didn’t see each other often after I moved to California, but we collaborated on a few projects: I illustrated “Lena Bernice: Her Christmas in Wood County, 1895” and typeset “Death in Ohio”. The poem “Ivory” inspired a small stitchery. The Bronte quilt poem was a family project. I drew the text on the fabric, our Aunt Dorothy cross-stitched the border, and my mom, Wilda, did the hand quilting.

Photo and text courtesy of Jill Carter Knuth

Photos: The young Elizabeth Ann

Elizabeth Ann’s cousin Jill Carter Knuth has sent us some early delightful pictures of EA along with descriptions:


 She was my oldest cousin. One day when she was probably seven or eight and I was three or four, she gathered us together and read a story to us. I thought how wonderful it was to be able to read. Her interest in the written word was manifested from the very beginning. Here’s Elizabeth Ann at age two or three.


 Elzabeth Ann was the oldest of six children, and the oldest of the 20 grandchildren of our Grandmother Carter. Here is Liz as the young matriarch with Grandma and some of the younger grandchildren. Liz grew up in the small town of Fostoria, Ohio, where Grandma lived and where I grew up. Many of her poems relate to the town and the people she knew there.

1149078_10200351541495430_842279952_n (1)

As a teen-ager, Elizabeth Ann studied ballet, and taught dance to several young students. Here is a dance recital from 1952, the year before she graduated from high school Throughout her life she had a flair for the dramatic and loved to dress “in character”. She wrote reviews of dance performances and staged poetry readings.

Photos and text courtesy of Jill Carter Knuth.