Tony Connor was born in Manchester, England, in 1930. He left school at 14 and apprenticed in the textile industry, working as a designer until he was 30. From 1948 to 1950, Connor served as a trooper in the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, a cavalry regiment. He earned an M.A. in 1967 from the University of Manchester in England, and spent the following year as a visiting writer at Amherst College in Massachusetts.
His first collection of poetry, With Love Somehow, was published in 1962 by Oxford University Press. His numerous other collections include Lodgers (1965), Kon in Springtime (1968), In the Happy Valley (1971), The Memoirs of Uncle Harry (1974), New and Selected Poems (1982), Spirits of the Place (1986), Metamorphic Adventures (1996), and most recently Things Unsaid: New and Selected Poems 1960–2005 (Anvil Press, 2006).
About Connor's New and Selected Poems, Dana Gioia wrote in The Hudson Review: "His work is both original and entertaining .... Connor does not simply report events, he vividly recreates them, shaping each scene with the skill and care of a novelist .... his work remains clear-headed, intelligent and immensely readable."
In addition to poetry, Connor has written a number of plays for adults and children, all of which have received professional productions on the British stage. In the early 1960s, he wrote scripts for Granada Television and often appeared onscreen as a presenter and anchor.
During the 1960s, Connor taught textile design, cake design, and life drawing, and served as a lecturer in liberal studies at Bolton Technical College. From 1971 until his retirement in 1998, he was a Professor of English at Wesleyan University, where he taught verse writing and writing for the stage and ran a studio theater devoted to the production of new drama written by students.
In 1974, Connor was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, founded by King George IV in 1820 to "reward literary merit and excite literary talent." He became an American citizen in 1982 and currently lives in Middletown, CT and London, England.