Central Ohio is mourning poet and human-rights activist Elizabeth Ann James, who died on Sunday. She was 78.
A leader in organizing area poetry events since the 1970s and a co-founder of the Poetry Forum at Larry’s, James helped organize the first poetry readings at the Columbus Arts Festival.
“Liz James was the grande dame of Columbus poetry,” Columbus poet Steve Abbott said.
“She was one of the most creative, brilliant and interesting people, at the center of the poetry world in Columbus,” said poet and educator Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld.
In 1998, James co-founded the Umbrella Poets, which presented readings at galleries and bookstores.
She was active in Cows in Flight, one of the first area poetry troupes and a member of the Women’s Poetry Workshop.
Active in First Unitarian Universalist Church and a member of Central Ohioans for Peace, James also worked to promote human rights and civil rights.
She is survived by her husband, Adnan Shiblaq; sons Omar and Salah; granddaughter Hannah; two sisters; two brothers; and cousins and nieces.
Calling hours will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday at Weir-Arend Funeral Home, 4221 N. High St., with a graveside service at 2 p.m. Friday at Union Cemetery, 3349 Olentangy River Rd.
A memorial service will take place on Sept. 7 at First Unitarian Universalist Church, 93 W. Weisheimer Rd.