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Joanne the Poet - The Poetry of Joanne M. Clarkson

Poetry as Profession

I have been lucky in my life. I have had two careers that I passionately believed in and got to practice for many years. There are lots of ways to define “making a living”: work, career, calling, occupation, profession.

As a librarian, I spent my days ensuring that information was available to everyone – anything they needed to know, no matter their age, economic status or mindset. I got to help provide a place where everyone was safe and could visit for learning or for fun. Daily I defended the first amendment right of authors to write their truth and readers to seek their truth. I felt that I got up in the morning to do something worthwhile.

After taking care of my mother through a long and difficult illness, I re-careered as a Registered Nurse. I felt especially called to Home Health and Hospice work. I visited people in their homes as they recovered from devastating illnesses, educating and supporting both patient and caregiver in their quest to return to balance of body, mind and spirit. Or I came to help them cross over providing ways to control the many types of pain that confront the body as it shifts closer and closer to pure spirit. I felt so blessed to be part of so many courageous lives.

As I enter my seventh decade, now retired, I am taking my life-long love of Poetry as my Profession. Reading, writing, teaching, sharing and manifesting Poetry is not only my work or occupation, it is my affirmation. How I say Yes to living every day. It is not only what I do, it is who I am. “Hi! I’m Joanne the Poet!”

For me poetry is how I come closest to understanding the essence of anything. Words come from mind, heart and our lungs! It is all about truth, an evolving voice not afraid to speak what it feels, what it has seen and heard. Like a library it provides a safe space. Like nursing, it provides balance and healing.

I am so grateful to my mother, a teacher, who first introduced me to poetry. And to my teachers who made poetry not a chore, but a delight. And to my fellow poets whose work inspires and encourages me every day. I vow to be a poet of truth and reconciliation. I vow to never underestimate the power of words. I vow to reverence the beauty of image and metaphor. I vow to say thank you every day for the life-giving nature of Poetry.

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