Sunday, July 13, 2014





True poet of coal region dies


February 16. 2013 4:48PM


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Local novelist, poet and playwright Karen Blomain passed away Wednesday, leaving a legacy of creative writing works that span more than 30 years.


Published for the first time in 1980, the Scranton native would go on to compile a total of four volumes of poetry, two novels and numerous short stories as well as several plays performed in venues throughout the country.


"Karen's narratives chronicled the character and characters of the coal region," fellow local author Craig Czury said.


"Her poems are written out of the everyday backyard grit we all breathed growing up in our dingy coal towns," he said.


In addition to her work as a writer, Blomain lent her expertise to others by teaching English at Keystone College, Kutztown University and Wilkes University, as well as conducting writing workshops in France, Austria, Russia and throughout the United States.


One person who benefited from one of Blomain's workshops was Laurie McCants, a member of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble.


After participating in one of Blomain's afternoon workshops, McCants said, she carried Blomain's words with her as inspiration during production of the BTE's music-theater piece "Hard Coal."


"She was a wonderful writer, and I think of her as one of our great ‘coal region' poets. She etched poetical portraits of our region, and taught me how to look at this landscape with love," McCants said.


Already an established poet and playwright, Blomain would have her first novel published in 2000.


"A Trick of Light" follows the story of Hattie Darling, who mourns her husband's untimely death only to find that he had taken a second wife. The story follows Hattie as she decides to confront the other woman and reveals the understanding the two eventually come to possess.


The second in what was to be a three-part series, "The Season of Lost Children," traces 50 years of the interwoven lives and friendship of three women in a Pennsylvania college town.


Educated in Lackawanna County and New York state, Blomain completed her undergraduate degree at Marywood College, her master's degree in English at The University of Scranton and her MFA in Creative Writing at Columbia University.


She later married Michael Downend, a writer and photographer. They would go on to have nine children together.



Blomain's obituary can be seen on page 8A.




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