Passager (passage + passenger) is a small, independent literary press whose mission is to publish the work of older writers, encourage the imagination in the later stages of life, and create beautiful and welcoming publications.

In 1990, in Baltimore, Passager was born. The idea was to bring attention to writers over 50 by giving them opportunities to publish with a nationally recognized press. At that time, it was unusual to find men and women writing in their 80s and 90s, but now we are happy to report that more and more authors join those ranks every day.

Passager Books, founded in 2005, has published anthologies, poetry collections, short fiction and memoirs by authors whose work has appeared in our journal. Our writers are our high flying birds, our muses, who make public the passions of a generation vital to our survival.

Jump to: Passager Staff | Board of Directors | Diversity Commitment | Passager in the Media

Passager Staff

Mary Azrael

Mary Azrael
Editor


Mary Azrael, Passager editor for over thirty years, said, “I’ve come to know remarkable people, ages 50 to 103, through their poems, stories, memoirs, and letters. What they say continues to surprise me and enrich my life.” Author of four books of poetry and the libretto for Lost Childhood, an opera, she has led poetry workshops for people ages 8-80 through Maryland’s Poets in the Schools and the Johns Hopkins Odyssey (continuing studies) program. As a Feldenkrais practitioner, she guides people through lessons to improve flexibility of movement and thinking. Words that make her heart leap up: bird, puppet, book, boots, post office. She loves finding real letters in her mailbox. Born in 1943, she is the oldest Passager staff member.

Kendra Kopelke portrait

Kendra Kopelke
Editor


Baltimore native Kendra Kopelke holds degrees from Ohio University and The Johns Hopkins University; she also often holds the leashes of her two poodles, Gracie and Mimmy, who delight and astonish her as much as good poetry. She directed the University of Baltimore’s MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from its inception until her retirement. Founding editor of Passager, she is the author of four books of poems, plays ukulele so she can sing along, and loves to pretend she’s Matisse making cutouts. She said, “Passager is a dream [Mary and] I have been having for over 30 years. We make it up as we go along, and in that creative process have had so many marvelous encounters it’s impossible to stop.”

Christine Drawl

Christine Drawl
Managing Editor
& Art Director


Christine Drawl comes from a family of farmers, carpenters and historians. She’s a small town Ohio girl and proud of it. A fiction writer and designer, Christine received her MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore. Her book of short stories, Grandmother Tree, was a 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist. Christine spends at least some of her non-Passager time “reviving” the 1890s house where she and her musical husband Peter live. She said that “as the youngest Passager staff member, I am continually inspired by writers decades older than me whose voices have given me a tremendous amount of hope for my own future.”

Rosanne Singer portrait

Rosanne Singer
Assistant Editor

University of Baltimore MFA Fellow

After 25 years as a teaching artist of poetry in the Maryland schools and two years in northern California where her husband pursued a late-career job, Rosanne is back in Maryland doing the unexpected: getting an MFA in Creative Writing & Publication Arts at the University of Baltimore. She said, “Although I’ve had my work published over the years, I never knew what went on behind the scenes at a small press. I’m still in awe of the careful and loving process Passager’s editors go through as they read and choose material for their twice-yearly journals and individual collections.” Rosanne’s own most recent publication is a collection of poems, Little Red Dot.

Jon Shorr portrait

Jon Shorr
Podcast Producer


Growing up, Jon Shorr loved listening to radio drama, the “theatre of the mind.” He still does. Over the course of his career, along with teaching high school and college, he’s hosted a late night “classic” poetry show on Baltimore’s big band radio station and written and produced audio and video documentaries. Now that he’s retired (and, ironically, wearing hearing aids), he spends a lot of his time writing short stories and essays, writing and producing Passager’s weekly podcast Burning Bright, and looking for ways to bring more attention to Passager’s mission of publishing work by older writers.

Guest Readers
2024 Poetry Contest

TBA

Ashlyn Mason portrait

Ashlyn Mason
Intern


A Maryland native, Ashlyn Mason began her graduate studies in 2021 in the Creative Writing & Publishing program at University of Baltimore. Fueled by her enthusiasm for literature and writing, Ashlyn ventured into various realms within the field of communications and marketing. With experiences in radio and print publications, she sensed the need to reconnect with her creative origins, nurturing her creative writing skills and delving into the vibrant landscape of publishing. Committed to elevating the voices of underrepresented communities, Ashlyn is thrilled to be an intern at Passager.

Board of Directors

Kendra Kopelke
President

Mary Azrael

Director

Joyce Ritchie

Joyce Ritchie
Vice President


Joyce Ritchie retired after a career in institutional advancement in the non-profit sector. An Indiana University Jacobs School of Music graduate, she performed and taught French horn before relocating to Baltimore. Here, she served in leadership capacities in the arts, public broadcasting, and higher education, including 10 years as Associate Dean for Development for the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute. She has sat on both sides of the “grant-making” table: directing grants programs for a regional arts foundation; and securing funds as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the University of Maryland, Baltimore. “Now,” she said, “I view the world through a poet’s lens, rediscovering my love of words and music — word music — and their power to communicate.”

Kathleen Shemer

Kathleen Shemer
Treasurer


Attorney, poet and novelist Kathleen Shemer is a lifelong Maryland resident. She is Chief Financial Officer of Shemer Bar Review and served as Executive Director of Maryland Defense Counsel and the Women’s Law Center of Maryland. She is most proud of her work to create access to justice programs for underserved populations, particularly in domestic violence cases. In the early 2000’s, she volunteered for Passager, copying subscription checks and packaging journal issues. Mostly retired now, she was drawn back to Passager by its visionary commitment to expanding publishing opportunities for older writers, though, as Treasurer, her responsibilities have been upgraded a bit.

Kathy Mangan portrait

Kathy Mangan
Director


Kathy Mangan is the author of Above the Tree Line. Her poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, The Pushcart Prize, and other journals and anthologies. She has given readings at numerous colleges and universities as well as the Folger Library and the Library of Congress. For more than forty years, she has taught literature and creative writing at McDaniel College, where she holds the Joan Develin Coley Chair in Creative Expression & the Arts. She lives in Baltimore and also spends time at a cabin on Cacapon Mountain in West Virginia.

Sarah Merrow portrait

Sarah Merrow
Director


S.B. Merrow studied literature and Japanese, then apprenticed as a flute-maker. For years she worked with her hands and ears, helping to build concert flutes for musicians around the world. She established her own flute repair business and worked on the instruments of performers, collectors, and conservatories, before returning to her first love, poetry. At 61, she submitted a chapbook to a contest — and won — convincing her that writing was an excellent way to inhabit her senior years. Now she writes, bikes, and plays the ukulele, although not at the same time.

Eva Quintos Tennant portrait

Eva Quintos Tennant
Director


Eva Quintos Tennant began a career in communications more than 25 years ago, holding posts as an editor, production designer, and creative director. After she turned 50, she pursued and earned an MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore where she received the Plork Award, recognizing “extraordinary creativity, originality and imagination in the integration of creative writing and book design.” Here she rekindled her lifelong love of reading and writing. The daughter of Filipino immigrants, Eva is a Maryland-based writer and photographer whose work has appeared in River RiverWelterMaryland in Poetry and elsewhere. She shares Passager’s mission to amplify the voices of emerging mature writers, and is developing a writers’ resource website for aspiring older writers. Eva joined the Board in 2022, and serves as chair of its Marketing Committee. She currently leads a marketing communications and graphic design team at the University of Maryland by day; and by night is at work on a narrative about first-generation identity.

Chris Warman portrait

Chris Warman
Director


Chris Warman is a community organizer and nonprofit professional. He has worked at the Baltimore Community Foundation since 2017, first as a part of the finance team and now as a Program Officer working on BCF’s discretionary grantmaking and impact investing efforts. Chris earned an MS in Nonprofit Management & Social Entrepreneurship and an MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts, both from the University of Baltimore. His poetry and prose have appeared in Welter and Hobo Pancakes, and his plays have been produced at UB and the John Hewitt International Summer School. Lately, he has been writing scenarios set in realms both fantastic and realist for a tabletop roleplaying game group. Chris joined the Board in 2022 and serves as chair of its Nominating & Governance Committee.

Our Commitment to Diversity

At Passager, our mission is to encourage writers and readers to find their creative place in the world. We are committed to creating a literary environment that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion. All submissions receive consideration for publication without regard to race, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, physical ability, education, or veteran status. Our inclusive culture empowers all of us to connect, belong, create, and grow.  

Passager in the Media

Logo reads: Women Over 70, Aging Reimagined
Mary Isabel Azrael: Publishing the Work of Older Writers

Women Over 70