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.” 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.  
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.
A great gift has been the opportunity to spend time studying poetry and teaching skills with Jack Ridl. For six years Joy traveled cross state once a month to Holland Michigan. There, she worked with Jack and the Landscapes writing group at the beautiful home of Colette Volkema Denooyer on Lake Michigan. Joy had the great fortune to stay at the farmhouse of her friend, and fellow "Landscaper," the poet Barbara Saunier during those monthly opportunities. Barb and Joy spent many hours talking poetry and other things, while cuddled on the couch or as Barb fed the horses or hung 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 in the classroom, and in small groups of 5-6 students. She 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 "almost" degree (MA in Literature) from Oakland University. 
Joy does readings and runs creative writing seminars and workshops for established writers, beginners and for at risk communities. She's worked at 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, One Earth Writing, PCAP (Prison Creative Arts Project, where she taught male "lifers" at the Lapeer Correctional Facility) She's been a writer in residence at Wayne State University and for Women's and other literary conferences.

Joy teaches for  Springfed Arts, was a Writer-In-Residence for InsideOut Literary Arts Project under the direction of the founder and CEO, Terry Blackhawk and for One Earth Writing under the direction and founder/CEO Lynne Meredith Golodner.

She also volunteers to teach at Common Ground, 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 privilege to work with families of victims of violent crime and murder, at Common Ground. 

Joy’s essays and poetry have won numerous awards, including, First Place in, The 2016 Poetry Society of Michigan (in two categories: The Margo Lagattuta Memorial Poetry Prize, and The Family). She won  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 is a multiple Pushcart Nominee. 

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

Look for her work in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Jewish American Poetry, and Poetry In Michigan in Poetry. 

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. caboti@yahoo.com