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Joanne the Poet - The Poetry of Joanne M. Clarkson




“Magnified” in Ars Poetica Galleries

My poem “Magnified” has been chosen by two artists as an inspiration for their creative expressions. The poem is displayed during the month of April along with the art it inspired in Rimbert Illustrations Gallery in Bremerton and Front Street Gallery in Poulsbo.

I will be reading my poem as the artist describes their creative process on Sunday, April 14 in Bremerton and Sunday April 21 in Poulsbo.

The competition is sponsored by a group called Ars Poetica in Kitsap county. By the first of the new year, poets are invited to submit 3 poems with a small fee. Artists are then able to select pieces that they believe will help them create new artwork. The results are displayed during National Poetry Month.

I just and absolutely love this concept. More frequently poets participate in Ekphrasis when they write in response to the work of art. It is very rewarding to have the process reversed and have artists respond to the written word. I am so excited to meet the artists that my poem inspired later this month. I know that one created a painting and the other a found item collage.




“Joseph” in the December 2023 Issue of Literary Mama

My poem, “Joseph,” is in the online issue of Literary Mama this December. You can find it at Http://literarymama.com. This is such a lovely journal, one of my favorites. The work captures such a range of parenting experiences as well relationships to parents past. This poem of mine describes a heart-breaking experience, but one that also includes a miracle of the kindness of strangers. I haven’t written about this very much before. One day when I was sitting at my writing/meditation table, it came through me. This version has been through some revision but not much. When we are ready to write about an experience, the words appear. Thank you, Muse! And I love you, tiny Joseph.




Blue Heron Review Nominates for Pushcart Prize

Blue Heron Review has nominated my poem, “The Library on Market Street,” for a Pushcart Prize. Many thanks to founding editor Cristina Norcross for selecting my poem.

I included the poem in the post in October when it appeared on the Blue Heron website. I am proud of this one since it speaks to the importance of libraries in our society today. The mission of the public library has changed over recent years but its qualities of inclusion, open access to materials and its role as a haven for those needing a place to feel safe and learn, grow and enjoy life is as relevant as ever. Thank you to all the brave librarians defending free speech.




Pushcart Nomination from MoonPath!

MoonPath press has nominated the poem “Phases of Mourning” from my book Hospice House for a Pushcart Prize. I have had poems nominated before, but it has been several years. This poem was one of the last ones to go into the book. I wrote it about my friend and neighbor Mardella who lost her beloved husband Bryan. When I walk to the mailboxes here in Cape George I pass her house. That day I saw her placing a geranium on her porch. It seemed a tribute to how we all have to go on after terrible loss. Thank you to Lana for this honor for me, Mardella and Bryan!




“Lucky” in Poetry Anthology About Cats

I am so proud to have my poem “Lucky” included in the rich and diverse collection, Purr and Yowl,” about all aspects of human’s relationship to felines. It just appeared this Fall 2023. The Anthology is published by World Enough Writers and edited by David D. Horowitz. Many of my poet friends also have work included. Most of the poems are about house cats, but other wild variations are here too. There are kittens and mature cats at the end of their lives. Many poems are about adopting cats, like our Lucky. Anyone who has any relationship to cats at all will really enjoy reading this excellent gracing of poems which are as contrary, attractive and independent as the animal itself.




Blue Heron Review published my poem, “The Library on Market Street”

Blue Heron Review’s Fall 2023 edition themed ‘Heart Source and Haven’ includes my poem “The Library on Market Street.” It is the true story of many children who came to the Aberdeen Timberland Library when I served as Youth Services Librarian there. My co-workers and I worked very hard to be sure that all children and families felt welcome. In a community ravaged by unemployment and other negative effects of downturns in the forestry and fishing industries, many children lived in unstable situations. We always wanted the library to be a bright and cheerful place with lots of fun programs and also independent ways to pass the time. I hope we engendered a love of reading and made each and every young patron feel honored and valued. Here is my poem:

The Library on Market Street

Child with no address finds herself

in an adventure with the dog

she always wanted. It is afternoon

and she is locked out again.

But this place is always open

when it says it will be.

She found the library when she

visited with her fourth grade class.

Was allowed to check out a book

to take home. A book about

Egypt. But they moved from the car

to the shelter and she couldn’t find

Egypt to return. The librarian said

she would save books behind the desk

so the girl could read on weekends

or after school. Like the one called

How to Draw Horses she could use

to create her own mustang and a mare.

Then the librarian gathered the class

for a story, a silly story about magic

animals and when the children joined

in the refrain the girl laughed

for the first time in this town. She

has never been to Disneyland or Six Flags

or Yellowstone, but she comes

to the public library all summer. Scratch

paper and pencils wait on a shelf

and a new paperback about a girl

and a puppy. No one else has read it

yet. The pages smell like clean sheets.

They welcome her within them.




Colours of Memory Published in Fieldstone

My poem, “Colours of Memory,” is in the 2023 Issue #15 of the wonderful Canadian journal “The Fieldstone Review.” This magazine is published by the English Graduate Department of the University of Saskatchewan. Since it is an online publication, the entire issue can be read by going to Https://thefieldstonereview.ca.

The theme is Reversals and my poem is about a ‘psychic trick’ a fellow fortune teller taught me about how to find lost items using a ‘golden thread’ that the mind unwinds until the missing object is located. But, alas, this method never worked for me – which is the point of the poem and its ‘reversal.’ Partly it is the color – when I went to imagine an unspooling thread I got all sorts of shades but never that one. However, my colored filaments did inspire worthwhile memories….




Wild Crone Wisdom!

I am so fortunate to have two of my poems included in the Wild Crone Wisdom Anthology released this Fall 2023 by Wild Librarian Press. My friend Linda Strever also has one of her beautiful Agnes poems in this book.

My first poem is called “The Art of Chickens” and honors my paternal Grandmother Veronica Mokosh who raised chickens and sold eggs on a little farm in the hills of Wheeling, West Virginia. She was a loving person despite terrible hardships and was completely in tune with Earth and innocent living things. I have always felt so blessed she was my grandma.

My second poem about a relic I found on the beach north of Cape George where erosion has eaten away a cliffside and debris from a long ago landfill has fallen under the spell of the Salish sea. I discovered an old spoon there one day with its bowl twisted as if looking backwards. My other grandmother collected spoons.