Tuesday, 4 January 2011

One Stop Spotlight - Joy Ann Jones aka hedgewitch

It is my pleasure to introduce a poet I've come to appreciate during the last weeks for her writing and also her eloquent and sensitive commenting on other people's work.

Joy Ann blogs as Hedgewitch at Verse escape and her poems often have an epic and a bit of a "Lord of the Rings" feeling clinging to them, mingled with a dash of ancient mysteries. You may discover some of this in Joy Ann's poem "My New Dragon" below.

Enjoy the reading and make sure to pay her a visit over at Verse escape..

~ Claudia

My New Dragon

Flies above the forest
His spine a swift reticulated run
Of cloud croquet hoops,
His breath the flinty white
Of ashen cinders in the grate,
Flaring back behind him like a banner
Of all that overcomes.

                                             My New Dragon

Fought the old all summer long,
All winter in a haze of snow and fire,
Til victory was made in blurry battles
High where eyes of mortal could not peer
And now he mounts his watch above
In case his rival someday
Comes back home.

His head is turned to follow
The disappearing backside of his foe.
His three-horned crest stands tall
And watchful, full
Of secret raptor pleasures
Bone bred in dragonkind.
Though rain patters grey
turning blue as it falls
like steel on the scales of

                                            My New Dragon’s  

skin, his heart is light
And on his broad back of clouds and vapor
I go riding.

© Joy Ann Jones, November 2010


The soul within / smooth, reflective curve
Glossy with the sheen of old smokes
Something about the light, he said
There is a wild piece of it in the dark.
It winks in the corner of the mirror,
An absent flame / the memory of a flame
Whiskered by the haze,
Reaching out to touch it you feel
First the illusion, then the fingertips finally
The smooth cold feel of the mirror
Asking which is real.

Perhaps it’s over, the light show,
The flowers powerless against the machine.
Only a curve reflecting forward
Some piece of light
To kindle the back ward glancing eye

© Joy Ann Jones, January 1988

I asked Joy Ann to share a bit about herself and her writing...

First of all, I’m very flattered to be here at One Stop Poetry, a place I consider one of the best networking sites for poets and writers on the web. The talent on display here from week to week is astonishing, and it’s a pleasure and honor to be a part of it even in a small way.

I first came to love poetry at the age of eight when I found a volume of classic poetry included in my Childcraft encyclopedia set. In a turbulent childhood, that volume was my refuge, and I read and reread poems like The Highwayman, and La Belle Dame Sans Merci til I knew them by heart. That’s when I discovered that mere words expressed in certain ways were able to create a living world of the imagination that is far more attractive and often seems more real than the mundane one we inhabit. That empowering and intoxicating combination of control and creation is what continues to make me write poetry.

In high school, I was fortunate to have a great Creative Writing teacher who took a personal interest in motivating young writers, and as her student I even won fourth place in a national competition (Atlantic Monthly) which at the time was quite heady stuff. After that, however, life intervened, and my poetry was strictly something that came pouring out when it had to, and the rest of the time was pushed aside. It’s only recently that I’ve had the resources and leisure to get back to writing. Always, though, at the hardest crossroads and in the most painful situations of my life, it was there for me, and is still the way I work through all the inarticulate forces that challenge us to the max, and of which life never seems to run out.

The writing process itself for me starts with an emotion, or a tag line in my mind that has to be written down. I jot sentences, phrases and paragraphs down as they come to me, and occasionally I get a whole poem that way. Usually, though, the lines have to be worked with, written, paired with others, and rewritten. Then I often let the poem ‘steep,’ and come back for a final microscopic go at it word for word and line by line. I often enjoy the process as much as I do the end product.

...and I was curious about how Joy Ann reads other people's works and if there is a structure when she comments, how she looks at a poem from different angles or compares with something she knows or has learned...

One of the best things about blogging poetry is that you get to see so much creativity and so many different ways of writing. When I comment at a poet’s site, I feel there are two things that are important, respect and connection. It takes courage to post your work out where everyone can see it and leave yourself open to the reactions of total strangers. Also, fundamentally all art is, at its most basic level, a giving back. I feel you have to respect that. Then, I think if someone’s work has said something to you, made you think, provoked an emotional response, or engaged you at all, it’s important to try to show the poet how s/he did that, just why that piece worked. So I try to do that when I comment, sometimes through drawing in a personal reference, or by comparison. Mostly, I want to pass on some of that encouragement I got as an adolescent when it meant so much, and share the enjoyment that poetry gives me with everyone who experiences it.


Brian Miller said...

like she needs any introduction...smiles. joy thank you for the great support of one stop...i see you on the 1sw trail weekly...and you have incredible talent as well...keep it up...

Beachanny said...

Thank you Claudia for spotlighting my new friend Joy Jones. Always generous, as you said, her comments explicate the work clearly and always finds the best qualities in the work. Her own work is always smart, inventive, and metaphorically superior. Reading her work always inspires me, makes me want to think smarter, feel better, understand more.

Thank you Joy for your interview, and thank you Claudia for a well written article.

hedgewitch said...

And thanks to you, Gay, Brian and Claudia, and everyone at One Stop. You couldn't be more supportive or encouraging of others' work.It's been wonderful finding this place, and seeing all the diverse talents and creativity brought to light here every day.

Fireblossom said...

She sounds kinda weird to me.

Oh all right, I dig the witch. There, I said it. Don't go getting all misty and shit.

Her poetry is original, vital, and a blast to read. Plus, she pushes me to write better, just by being so annoyingly talented herself.

As to her comments, I think she is one of the very coolest commenters there is. No "nice write" throwaway comments from her. I think I would post, just to get her to say something about it.

Get on witchoo bad self, witch. Congratulations on being featured, and junk. You more than deserve it.

signed...bkm said...

Great write-up Claudia on Joy Ann (hedgewitch)..so glad to learn more about her how she writes and reads poetry...I always look forward to and respect her comments...an excellent writer with a creativity that binds earth and soul...

Congrat's Hedgewitch - you are a wonderful example and inspiration to many here at One Stop - bkm

LeiffyV said...

*ahem* SQUEEEE! I know this person! Great little write up on her, gives me a little more light on her upbringing and her writing. Thanks One Stop for shedding a little more light on one of my favorite internet people!

Antoinette Baranov said...

Quite taken by " MIrror" looking forWARD FOR MORE~!

the walking man said...

I liked both pieces very much and can see 12 years worth of grown understanding between how we make poetry live and breathe.

It is always a good thing for the next generation to have one who cares to assist them in this craft. I am happy that you are doing this. Not many do because they fear being outrun, like it is a race instead of a craft.

Ted said...

Thanks for the teacher plug, Joy. If it's January, it must be Julius Caesar. Today, I introduce iambic pentameter.

da Dum/da Dum/da Dum/da Dum/da Dum

Old Hindi Songs said...

Nice post..

APalmerPoetry said...

One of my fav poets I've encountered through Twitter and, particularly, One Stop Poetry. Her words on writing her own poetry and reading others' were wise, revealing, both relatable and teaching, without being overly complicated. And her poetry of course is at times peerless.

Fully deserving of a Spotlight, credit to Claudia for doing so, as more and more poets can now share in the joy of reading Joy's work that I have been enjoying for quite some time. Arron

Tammy said...

One of my favs as well. Hedgewitch and I'll likely always know her has been a great support and model of remarkable talent. I enjoy both following her site and hearing from her. Nice spotlight!

dustus said...

Joy Ann's respect for craft, and her fellow artists, shines through her poems and constructive commentary. Reading Joy Ann's poetry inspires me each time to look at writing differently; motivating by the way she pushes the boundaries of accustomed expression. The care and detail in her work is astounding.

Kenia Cris said...

Joy Ann is a lovely girl, always spreading love in her comments and I feel she really means what she says.

She's magic and writes beautiful, intricate verse, she takes me to a whole new world and dimension whenever I read her.

Kisses to Joy and all the poet friends at One Stop Poetry. =*

Pete Marshall said...

what a wonderful and well deserved spotlight...this lady really is an inspiration in her own right...and so deserves to be championed by so many...her words of encouragement grace so many of my poems...thank you Joy....and thanks clauida..great spotlight

hedgewitch said...

Thanks everyone for such very kind and humbling praise. It's one of the great pleasures of my life to not only write myself and to be read by such a discerning audience, but to read everyone else's work as well. We push each other, inspire each other, and all do better work because of the people who works so hard to make this site a resource, and all the talented poets who contribute to it.

Mama Zen said...

Excellent choice for a Spotlight! Joy's work is amazing.

Shewriting said...

Joy is so supportive and encouraging. I was so exciting to see that she was the spotlight today. Go, hedgewitch!

Anonymous said...

Very excellent pieces, Joy. I hadn't known your first name before. You and I have connected several times on Twitter, and it is good to be in your company.

Anyways, now I wish *I* had a dragon, lol. I can almost see the mist and smell the smoke...


annell said...

I love hedgewitch and what she writes! Thanks so much for featuring this wonderful writer!

Maureen said...

I'm sure I've said this before, but it's true that one of the delights of having found One Stop is the wonderful work everyone here produces. I've really enjoyed reading Joy's work since finding it via this site.