National Poetry Month Celebration
Bio: J. Joy Matthews Alford, a.k.a. “Sistah Joy" is a poet and the author of 3 books:
Lord I’m Dancin’ As Fast As I Can,
This Garden Called Life, and
From Pain to Empowerment – The Fabric of My Being.
Sistah Joy received the Poet Laureate Special Award from the Washington, DC Office of the Poet Laureate in 2002. She originated and co-produces/hosts the award-winning cable television program, Sojourn with Words.
In 1995 Sistah Joy founded the socially-conscious poetry ensemble, Collective Voices, which continues to perform locally and has performed nationally and abroad (London, England). She is also co-founder of Sounds of Empowerment, a poetry-based ensemble that performs and conducts poetry workshops primarily geared to women and survivors of abuse. Sistah Joy is also a co-founder of Lyrical Rhythmzz, a poetry and jazz performance ensemble. In 2003, Sistah Joy helped to establish and has served as president of the Ebenezer A.M.E. Church Poetry Ministry for the past 10 years.
Sistah Joy is a full-time poet who writes, publishes and performs her poetry at all types of venues. During its entire 6 year run, she served as the poetry editor for ACE-Dialogue literary quarterly. She is an arts events consultant who coordinates and develops programs for individuals, companies and organizations.
Sistah Joy also serves as Poet-in-Residence at Annie’s Art Gallery (www.anniesartgallery.net) in Camp Springs, Maryland where, among other activities, she hosts a monthly Family Night Poetry Open Mic from 6 to 9 PM on 3rd Thursdays. Poets and non-poets of all ages are welcomed to attend and participate in this free community-based arts series.
Duet at Dawn
The mystery of this new day
With my third eye
I seek to understand and
And embrace the chance to dance again
Mine has been solo for so long
What must I do to prevent
Memory of them
Feels foreign in this place
Today I choose steps
Scripted by faith
So I shall not falter
This new music we share
Belongs only to us
No echoe exists in this
Our sanctuary of discovery
I claim ours as virgin
For never before
Has this moment been unveiled
We take our cues
From one another and God
Giving and receiving
Bending and weaving
Creating our own unique fabric
We wrap ourselves in this
Glorious garb of anticipation
Together we test each new strand
And stand firm for trial and storm
Sure come our way
We welcome and embrace the mystery
Dancing this wondrous new
Duet of love
© 2009, J. Joy “Sistah Joy” Matthews Alford
Where do you draw your inspiration from to write poetry?
My spirituality, life experiences, observations and prayer.
What advice do you have for someone that is threatened by poetry?
I encourage all persons to embrace poetry rather than feel threatened by it.
Poetry reveals truth, either the poet's truth or the reader's/listener's truth.
Truth is power. To be threatened by one's own power is inconsistent with creation.
As a spiritual woman, I embrace the reality that "In the beginning was The Word..."
What is an interesting fact about you?
There are many inconsistencies and incongruities in the universe. I firmly believe that as unique as each of God's creatures are, there is truly nothing new under the sun. I was born into a family of great dysfunction and equally great love. Despite what some would claim as insurmountable obstacles and statistics that would yield my undoing, I am blessed today with a rewarding life of abundance through God's divine gift of poetry.
Where are you from / Where do you live?
Born in Washington, DC, currently live in Prince George's County.
Who is your favorite poet?
So many. Gwendolyn Brooks probably still tops my list. Sterling Brown and Jill Scott are favorites as well.
"Paper Dolls" Exhibit & Poetry Discussion - On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, the Prince George's African American Museum and Cultural Center will present poet Sistah Joy, who will discuss her work as a featured Poet in "Paper Dolls", a poetry and visual art exhibit highlighting the visual art of the renowned Prince George's artist, Ulysses S. Marshall in partnership with 5 county poets. Mr. Marshall's work explores different aspects of southern Black life and intertwines themes of limited freedom, spiritualism and Africanisms in Black American culture. Sistah Joy will discuss her most recent work and perform her original poetry with the accompaniment of musicians Doc Powell (Djembe), Ben Sands (vocals and sax) and Lorenzo Sands (bass). This segment of the "Paper Dolls" art exhibit and poetry discussion series takes place from 7 pm to 9 pm at the Prince George's African American Museum's Gallery 110, at 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, Maryland. The event is free to the public and is co-sponsored by the American Poetry Museum.
Ebenezer AME Church Poetry Ministry - on Friday, April 12, 2013, Ebenezer AME Church will host its Poetry Ministry's 10th Anniversary Celebration from 6:00 - 8:30 pm. Poetry performances, praise music, awards and more will mark this 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Ebenezer AME Church Poetry Ministry. The Ministry and individual ministry members will be recognized for their service to the church and community at the celebration. This multi-tiered event will also include the Church's 2013 National Poetry Month celebration. Members of area churches, community poets, musicians, arts enthusiasts, supporters of the arts and members of the community are invited to attend this free Christ-centered celebration at which guest poets and artists will perform. Refreshments will be served and a free-will offering will be accepted.
Annie's Art Gallery Poetry Open Mic Family Night - A monthly recurring free arts event with a focus on poetry and visual art takes place at Annie's Art Gallery from 6-9 pm each 3rd Thursday. This free-to-the-community poetry and arts series, which is now in its 5th year and hosted by gallery Poet-in-Residence, Sistah Joy, will maintain a particular, but not exclusive, focus throughout 2013 on youth and teen poets and artists. Annie's Art Gallery (www.anniesartgallery.net) is located at 5814 Allentown Way, Camp Springs, MD 20748. April is National Poetry Month (NPM). The gallery's NPM celebration takes place from 6 to 9 pm on Thursday, April 18. Persons of all ages from throughout the community are invited to attend this family-friendly Open Mic event on 3rd Thursdays. Flyer attached.
Intergeneration Mother's Day Breakfast -
"Pearls of Wisdom From Three Generations" have announced their 2013 selected honorees, which include mothers, daughters and granddaughters to receive a special "Pearls of Wisdom Multi-Generational Award" to be presented at the upcoming “Pearls of Wisdom from Three Generations Mother’s Day Breakfast” on Saturday, May 11, 2013 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at the National Country Club (Formerly Tantallon Country Club), 300 Saint Andrews Drive, Fort Washington, Maryland.
The breakfast honors all generations of women and girls from 5 to 95 in an effort to foster communication, encourage fellowship and develop relationships. This year's Invited Honorees to be recognized at the breakfast include Poet, J. Joy "Sistah Joy" Matthews Alford, daughter, Joy Danielle Gregory and granddaughter Jordan; Maryland State Secretary of Aging Gloria Lawlah and daughter Gloria Lawlah-Walker and granddaughter, Gloria. Special Honoree Awards: The Pearls of Wisdom Diamond Award - Ida St. Hill; The Pearls of Wisdom Pearl Award - Rev. Dr. Delores Carpenter; and The Pearl of Wisdom Ruby Award - Ameerah Sabreen. These women are being recognized as women who epitomize the multi-generational unit. This will be a celebration of family, motherhood and legacy. Persons wishing to purchase tickets and well-wishers who would like guidelines for submitting a “Message of Love” to be included in the commemorative program may visit www.pearlsofwisdom3.com, contact PearlsofWisdom3@aol.com. or call 301.203.0929.