About Joy

Go to Links to read more of my poems - and to hear me read. Also, to find poems and essays online.
Joy Gaines-Friedler grew up in Oak Park Michigan. She spent a great deal of her childhood in and out of the children's ward at The University Hospital in Ann Arbor.
At 21 Joy traveled cross-country with a band called The Midnight Special. Her travels took her to South Padre Island, Texas, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and to Redlands, California. The band broke up in California. Joy stayed in California for two years to attend photography school at The Artography Academy in North Hollywood then returned to Michigan in 1978 where she lived in the basement of her best friend Jim's house in Inkster.
In 1990 Jim died from AIDS. Two years later, Linda, her best friend from high school, whom she talked to or saw every day, was killed at the hands of her husband in what is labeled “domestic violence.” He shot her. Writing is the means by which she survived those tragedies and stays connected to those she's lost.
In 1997, after two decades as a professional photographer, Joy enrolled in Oakland Community College. With the inspiration of amazing teachers she graduated with honors, including writing awards for both her academic and creative writing. Later, at Oakland University she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and History. She took some graduate low-residency Master’s of Fine Arts courses at Ashland University in Ohio then switched to a Master's program in literatrue at Oakland. 
Joy attends at least two writing conferences a year and has had the opportunity to work with such renowned poets and teachers of poetry as, Mary Ann Samyn, Gerry LaFemina, Bob Hicok, Marie Howe, Tom Lux, Donald Hall, Nancy Eimers, Laura Kasischke, Alison Joseph, David James, Linda Gregerson, Jim Daniels, Thomas Lynch, Keith Taylor, Jane Hischfield, Dorianne Laux, Kim Addonizio, Stephen Dunn, Gladys Cardiff, and others.
Her greatest time spent on the planet is working with Jack Ridl once a month in Holland Michigan, and his/our writing group at the beautiful home of Colette Volkema Denooyer on Lake Michigan. Joy gets to stay at the farmhouse of poet Barbara Saunier during those monthly opportunities where Barb and Joy talk poetry and other things, while Barb feeds the horses or hangs her laundry outside on the line.
For ten years Joy worked at Oakland Community College as a Literacy Para-Professional in a Developmental Literacy classroom for students who need help reaching their college level reading and writing skills. She taught reading and writing to students, in the classroom, and in small groups of 5-6 students. She recently received the internationally recognized CRLA (College Reading and Learning Association) certification. In addition she has earned an Associates Degree (Summa Cum Laude) a Bachellor Degree from Oakland University, a Master's Degree (MFA) from Ashland University and an not yet completed but almost degree (MA in Literature) from Oakland University. 
Joy runs creative writing seminars and workshops around the community, including Haven Residential for Battered Women, Children's Village for "At Risk" girls, Oakland Community College, Oakwood Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital, Eaton Academy, Roeper School, The Jewish Historical Society of Michigan, Women's Conferences and other literary conferences, including The Penisula Writers' Conference, The Farmington Community Library for Springfed Arts where she teaches creative writing and advanced poetry. She was also a Writer-In-Residence for InsideOut Literary Arts Project under the direction of the founder Terry Blackhawk. In 2010 she taught poetry to 6th and 8th graders at Lessenger Junior High in Detroit. She also volunteers to teach at Common Ground. Common Ground is a core provider organization for young adults and adults "at risk." Many come from situations of homelessness, drug abuse, and/or mental illness. She's also had the priviledge to work with families of victims of violent crime and murder at Common Ground and was recently the Keynote Speaker/Addressee for the women's conference at Oakland Community College. And she taught male prisoners at The Lapeer Correctional Facility through the University of Michigan PCAP (Prisoner Creative Arts Project) Program.

Joy’s essays and poetry have won numerous awards, including, First Place in, The Litchfield Review, 2006 contest for a series of poems she wrote based on Jim’s diary he so lovingly “willed” to her, and First Place in the 2004 Mandy Poetry Contest for her poem Welfare In America. Her poem Capitalism, South Carolina was a Finalist in the 2007 Margie, poetry contest, she was a finalist in the 2008 Paunamauk Poetry Contest and a Honorable Mention in the 2010 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. Her awards also include 6th place in The 2010 Writer's Digest Annual Poetry Awards. And a Pushcart Nomination for her poem Harbors published in The San Pedro River Review. 

Her poems have been featured in many literary journals, including, The Driftwood Review, Pebble Lake Review, Lilliput, HazMat Review, RATTLE, Margie, The New York Quarterly, Poetica, Ekrphrasis, Poetry East, Peninsula Writers, and others. Check out her "Awards & Publications" page or her "LINKS" for a full list and some samples.

To Joy, poetry is a natural extension of photography both in their use of images to convey what language cannot, and as art forms.
And now that I'm done talking about myself in third person... please contact me - I would love to hear from you.