Joanâ€™s exposure to poetry or â€œverseâ€ began in the family, since her mother had a penchant for composing limericks, such as this, addressed to her brother Alf Rogers.:
There once was a man bald but spry
Who said â€œIâ€™m regular guy,
Iâ€™ve bought a whole block
Of the best rolling stock
Now who could be smarter than Iâ€¦?â€™
They often collaborated, as in the case of a paean for a favorite house guest which began:
â€œA tribute to a parting guest
(which may be damning to the rest â€¦)
Family conversations were sprinkled with telling lines from poems committed to memory, such as these from Cowperâ€™s â€œJohn Gilpinâ€.
â€œAlthough she was on pleasure bent
She had a frugal mind,â€
or Winnie the Poohâ€™s
â€œWhat did happen on Friday?â€
She grew up during World War II and still has An Anthology of Modern Verse, a high school text left behind by one of their English â€œWar Guestsâ€ on her return to England in 1943. This is a collection of the now unfashionable Georgian Poets, who wrote prior to and during World War I, or as it was then known â€œThe Great War.â€
This poetry runs the gamut from the idealistic patriotism of Rupert Brook to the bitter realism of Seigfried Sassoon. Joan still has affection for some of their magnificent visual lines â€¦ and even those unabashed sentiments that brought tears to her adolescent eyes, sentiments far too cynical to be allowed today.
In hindsight, as a photographer she believes it is this visual quality of their poetry which has influenced her writing to this day. She sees and thinks in pictures and if she has to work through a complex or tortured metaphor to arrive at meaning, she is liable to give up.
In High School Joanâ€™s English teacher Edna M. Walker, told her she should be a writer. Instead, she has been a teacher of emotionally disturbed boys, a freelance photojournalist, a university student at the age of 50, Executive Director of a pre-trial residence for men, and finally a desktop publisher. Writing poems became a substitute means of artistic expression when she and her husband Frank sold their house in 1993 and she lost her darkroom.
Her poetry has appeared in The Open Window, volumes 1 and 2, and No Love Lost;(Hidden Brook Press) Sing for the Inner Ear, No Choice but to Trust and Waiting for You To Speak, (all Unmon America anthologies) several CPA Anthologies, and the journals, lichen, Fireweed, and Canadian Writer’s Journal. She has two chapbooks, Pearly Gates and The Streets Where I Live. Her first book, Revelation, (editor Bruce Meyer) was published by Hidden Brook Press and launched in 2007.
To read some of Joan’s work, click on the links below: