About Joanne M. Clarkson
Poetry has always been my escape into and out of this world. My mother, a teacher, read me poetry all my life. Anthologies of ‘Best Loved Poems’ were our treasures. She loved Kipling, Longfellow, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Lewis Carroll. Through poetry I learned to both laugh and cry. As soon as I could write, I kept notebooks of words describing beautiful things I saw and longings mirrored in images.
My mother’s true passion was her piano. My father’s was building ‘fine homes.’ My piano and architecture became poetry.
I was blessed with poetic genes. My psychic grandmother gave card readings in the back of her sister’s millinery shop. She taught me worlds beyond this one. My grandfather on my father’s side, a brutal alcoholic who died before I was born, gave me my last name, ‘Mokosh.’ By chance I discovered that ‘Mokos’ was the ancient Slavic mother-goddess of weaving and weather. I have claimed her.
If this were a resume, I would say that I went to Seattle University intending to become a nurse, but failed emotionally and turned instead to literature. A few years later I earned my Master’s Degree in English. While we lived in Illinois I pursued a Master’s in Library and Information Science and worked as a professional librarian for many years. After caring for my mother through a long illness until her death, I re-careered as a RN specializing in Hospice and Geriatrics, work I continue to practice. I am a wife, a mother and a grandmother.
I write every day. I have received a grant to teach poetry in rural settings. I give workshops on writing and publishing. I serve on the Board of the Olympia Poetry Network. I am a member of the Pan Writers Group. One of my poems was danced at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Once I went to Paris. I read every day. Every day I am thankful.