Joan Beverly- poet/journalist
Joan is an accomplished award-winning journalist, and an award-winning, nationally published Long Island Poet. Her work experience includes time as a feature editor for major Long Island magazines, arts writer for Spotlight Magazine, as well as writing feature articles, news articles and columns. Her byline and articles have also appeared locally on Long Island, in the tri-state area and nationally in various publications including- House Magazine, North Shore and Nightlife Magazine. As if that didn’t keep her busy enough, she was an Assistant Professor of English, adjunct faculty, at SUNY Nassau in Garden City.
During a conversation with Joan, she reminisced about her early days of writing, and how her writing career began. She told me many interesting stories and memories of her time as a journalist; I enjoyed hearing them. One was about being in a knitting shop in her hometown of Pt. Washington, NY, and overhearing the owner discuss an advertisement for her store with the Advertising Manager from the Port Washington News. They were having trouble coming up with a logo, Joan thought for a moment and turning to them said, “How about, let us keep you in stiches.” They loved the idea! The advertising manager started speaking with Joan, even offered her a column to write about what was happening in the stores, restaurants, businesses around Pt. Washington. She accepted, and it became a weekly column “Joanies Corner”.
Eventually Joan began writing other news articles in the Pt. Washington News, as well as for other local papers. Throughout the years at her various papers and magazines, Joan had the opportunity to hold numerous celebrity phone interviews including Alan King, Harry Goz, Billy Joel, George Siegal, Patrice Munsel, Marv Alpert, and Peter Nero.
During this time, she heard a lot about poetry groups and began going to workshops, to learn more and attempt writing poems. As she learned, wrote, and experienced the poetry of others, her interest continued to grow. She attended various writers’ conferences and sat in on many Non-Fiction and Poetry sessions.
While attending a weekly Poetry Reading in a local Pt. Washington Restaurant, the idea for Performance Poets Association was sparked. As the association grew with increasing membership and recognition, it also got legs. From this first group, members spread out to other neighborhood coffee shops, book stores, libraries, and cafes- basically anywhere an owner would allow them to host it. Joan hosted her own group for many years at the Manhasset Barnes and Noble Book Store where she would have a weekly feature Poet, read her own poems and provide time for ‘open mic’ so other poets could share their works.
As one of the founding members of this active poetry group here on Long Island, PPA- Performance Poets Association, Joan helped name their yearly poetry volume called Performance Poets Association Literary Review, and also served as an editor and contest judge.
As her own writing increased, Joan thought about submitting some of her poems into local poetry contests and poetry journals. She would buy Writers Digests, to research poetry magazines and journals that would be suitable for her to submit her work. To her initial astonishment, she began receiving acceptance letters. Over the years, she has been published so many times that two of her bookshelves are filled with volumes of books containing her poems.
In addition, having entered numerous poetry contests on Long Island, Joan has won several awards, including first place, twice and third place for poems in contests sponsored by Performance Poets Association. She received honorable mention from Princess Ronkonkoma Productions, adult poetry contest and recently honorable mention from the Babylon Council on the Arts for her poem, “Palm Avenue Love Song.” In a contest sponsored by the National League of American Pen Women, she won second prize for her poem, “The Empty Room.”
Eventually after about 20 years of writing poetry, and with encouragement of family and friends, she decided to compile some of her favorite poems, shine them up, and publish her own book. In April of 2021 Joan self-published a book of poetry called Push Back the Boundaries, – [not available to public], In May of 2021, with Peppertree Press publishers, she published another book of poetry, Tender Chains, which is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Bks-a-Million.
Tender Chains, is a volume of poetry divided into four sections. The first with serious themes, is ‘Hearing Voices’. The second, ‘Parodies’ stem from traditional poems and songs. Third is Tender Chains, containing poems about love; romance, and family. The final section Short Verse, is a gathering of personal reflections, a mix of childhood reflections, a group of humorous reflections, haiku, and limericks.
Currently, Joan is working on another humorous volume of Poetry which Peppertree Press will publish when it’s complete; Haiku for Jewtalian Mothers, for which she told me she interviewed both Jewish and Italian mothers to gather material. In addition, Newsy Limericks will also be completed at the end of the year; to be published in 2022.
In her retirement, Joan keeps busy writing, publishing, giving readings both on LI [Port Washington, Roslyn, Westhampton Beach, Hampton Bays Library…],as well as in Florida during the winter months. Prior to COVID, Joan had also expanded the PPA to Florida; hosting groups in local book stores and libraries, as well as providing workshops for aspiring poets. She has quite a busy retirement!
It was lovely to hear the excitement in Joan’s voice as she shared her memories and accomplishments with me. I asked her to send me a couple of her favorite poems for our audience to enjoy, along with a personal comment about why she chose each one. I hope you enjoy them.
I Choose My Muse
My safe space is easy to find.
I simply leave the crowds behind.
I nest in the warmth of a country breeze.
I’m shaded by mountains, grass and trees.
With thoughts of Shelley, an aubade,
A triolet, a serenade,
Among the melodies of birds
with pen in hand I search for words.
Butterflies and dragonflies
become my muses in disguise.
Crickets chirping in the night
remind me that I’m here to write.
I find it easy to compose
with jasmine and lilac at my nose.
The shifting clouds across the sky
convince me to personify.
The crunch of twigs beneath my feet,
The rustic air of folks I meet,
the hum of flies, the buzz of bees
coax my thoughts to flow with ease.
The distant mooing of a cow
encourages more rhymes somehow.
Like Wordsworth who called the meadows “home,”
green and serene I write my poem.
“I chose the poem “I Chose My Muse” because I love to write about the process of writing and what motivates me to write. I’m motivated by nature, whether it be a beach, the mountains, the ocean, animals, etc. I like the rhyme scheme and the rhythmic sound it makes when read. I self-published a collection of my poems about writing called, “On Writing.”
I watch the sun
drop into the ocean
It reminds me
I have one day less to live
The ocean sends waves
that break at shore
like millions of fresh tears
I chose “Sympathy” a short verse because it deals with thoughts that bind us, that transcend our financial positions or places in society… that is the process of aging. Something none of us can control. I also like the imagery in the poem. Best, Joan
Here’s a final thought from Joan – “An interesting thought came to me. Many years ago, I attended a writers’ conference in Manhattan. Erica Jongg was the guest speaker. She said people ask me why I write and I answer, I have to. I can relate to that!”
In each issue of the Montauk Sun, I will have a book and /or author highlighted. However, I also welcome submissions from readers. So, if you have an author/book to recommend I’d love to hear about it. Or, do a short review and I’ll add it to the column. If not, I’ll just continue to share some of my favorites. Please e-mail your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.