Recent Reviews for J. Joy Matthews Alford - Sistah Joy
From Pain To Empowerment - The Fabric of My Being (Book) - 10/13/2009 9:56:37 PM|
A review of From Pain to Empowerment-The Fabric of My Being-Selected Poems by J. Joy “Sistah Joy” Matthews Alford
> Poetry can be full of odd phrases,conundrums, enigmatic expressions and obscure meaning. J. Joy “Sistah Joy” Matthews Alford is a poet with a very distinctive poetic voice who never resorts to these literary devices. She creates poetry that may appear rather transparent initially, but is very thought provoking and wise once the reader has peered into its depths. Her latest collection of poems “From Pain to Empowerment-The Fabric of My Being”, a chapbook from J&D Publishing, is a testament to her intelligence and creative talents. Alford artfully provides the reader with a well-scripted view of her journey through life thus far. She does not hide or disguise emotions. The words and lines in this chapbook are sensitive, spiritual and personal. Alford is not afraid to express her pain as reflected in “I Stand Tall” or her triumphs, as reflected in one of her signature pieces “Get Outta My Way.” She is a master of narrative verse as demonstrated in “I Pray For You” and “Coming Into Focus.”
> An in-depth analysis of her chapbook reveals several things about this talented poet. Creating poetry is as much a cathartic process for her as it is a method of releasing pain, despair and disappointment. Additionally, as it relates to her life, it appears she has asked herself the hard questions and not dodged the equally hard answers; see “Seeking The Light” and “Faded Passion.” One of Alford’s strengths is her ability to chronicle the complexities and incongruence of her life “Desire II” and “My Sister’s Light.” She allows us to overhear clearly what she has discovered no matter how transparent and painful. And thankfully, she does not fall20into the boring and simplistic trap of lyrical verse to explain her discoveries.
> In “Decisions” and “The Stillness Inside” her language and phrasing are precise and offer a poets view into the deepest emotions of the human heart. Alford has penned a powerful and emotional testimony to the power of the saving graces of her Creator, which are enunciated in “Peace Be still,” and “I Pray For You.” None of the poems in “From Pain to Empowerment-The Fabric of My Being” fall flat, or miss the mark. Her spirituality, insightfulness, and attention to detail in selecting just the right words to capture a moment are qualities to be admired.
> Her poems convey the myriad nuances of discovery, joy, disappointment, and revelation. Alford takes emotional risk many talented writers only envy and her works are timeless, as they exist un-tethered to a specific moment in her life. Her creativity and versatility are very evident as in “Sweet Lit tle One” and “Remembrances.” And all of her works are technically proficient.
> It has been said that authentic and passionate Poetry will ensure a Poet’s immortality. Alford has created a set of poems that are ardent and honest in their self-revelation and authenticity. These works will survive the test of time.
> Sistah Joy Alford can be found hosting poetry and open mic every third Thursday of the month at Annie’s Art Gallery in Temple Hills Maryland. The chapbook “From Pain to Empowerment-The Fabric of My Being” can be purchased from J&D Publications, P.O. Box 44353. Washington, D.C., The Parrish Gallery-Georgetown 1054 31st St. NW Washington, D.C. 20007 and Annie’s Art Gallery 5814 Allentown Way Camp Springs Maryland 20748.
Lord I'm Dancin' As Fast As I Can (Book) - 3/30/2008 5:22:57 PM
We have spent the past several weeks reading the poetic offerings of J. Joy Matthew Alford, “Lord, I’m Dancin’ As Fast As I Can” Thelemaque Publishing, 2nd. Edition 2003, an insightful, spiritually laden book of poetry, filled with insight, beauty and passion.
More widely known as “Sistah Joy,” Ms. Alford’s initial offering is divided into six (6) chapters which address three distinct and wholly separate subject matters, social consciousness, relationships and spirituality.
Of particular interest is her treatment of African American men. She confronts the plight of her Brothers in a very clear and supportive manner. The poem “No Complicity” demonstrates a surprising understanding of the trials and tribulations faced by Black men seldom written about by Black women authors. She honors Black men by treating them with respect and dignity, while clearly acknowledging their struggle. Her acknowledgement is most refreshing.
The book opens with poems of social and political consciousness. Ms. Alford poetically pays tribute to Dr. King, Malcolm X, John Brown and Nelson Mandela in a very thoughtfully provoking and powerful turn of words and phrases. Sistah Joy’s works regarding social consciousness address the personal struggles of African-Americans and is artful and very descriptive; e.g. “Change Sisters, “Conditioned to React” and “Death Row Scenario.” All possess an elegant aggression all their own that allows the reader to absorb the message in a very straight forward manner. In keeping with Sistah Joy’s unwavering need for honesty, she adds several works that may be reflective of her own personal struggles; e.g. “Victory Song” “Why Not” as well as “You, Like Me.”
The second segment of the book deals with what may be viewed as her own personal struggle with love gained, “Lower Left Side”; love lost, “Please”, “Mourning,” “All I Ever Wanted” and love never forsaken, “Consumed”, “The Scent”, “My Fine Chocolate Brother.” All powerful pieces that clearly demonstrate that through the pain and tears she still very much believes in romance, love and the quality of Black men.
The final and probably most powerful segment of the book deals with spirituality. This is the common thread throughout the book. While there are poems dedicated to family, loved ones, friends and first time experiences; e.g.“750 Horses,” the common link throughout is her firm and total trust in her Creator.
But don’t be mislead, by the serious nature of her works. Sistah Joy possesses a very refreshing and engaging wit; e.g. “I Be Dancin’, “Pork Chops and Twinkies” and “Beauty Parlor Mess” all show she enjoys expressing her healthy sense of humor.
The power of Sistah Joy’s writings may be their biggest fault. She has an uncompromising need to be brutally honest, and equally not willing to mask her emotions or feeling. But this may as well be her biggest strength, as she seems comfortable laying herself bare to her readers, not willing to compromise her words. Strength derived from her walk of faith and unconditional belief and love in her Creator. She is a strong and courageous Black woman. We look forward to reading her future works with a hope they are equally as honest and insightful.
Lawrence W. Shavers 3/30/2008
Lord I'm Dancin' As Fast As I Can (Book) - 9/8/2007 5:36:23 AM
I sincerely believe every person who is able should read “Lord I’m Dancin’As Fast As I Can” because of its unrivaled ability to grip the soul and massage intimate places. I found myself empathizing and dancin’ with her as she masterfully choreographed each syllable. I was saddened in places and laughed out loud in others. Joy’s poetry moves and lifts and soars and I’m enlightened by her gift.
The world is enriched by your presence/presents and I thank God for creating you.
-Ty Gray-EL 9/8/07
Lord I'm Dancin' As Fast As I Can (Book) - 7/28/2007 1:12:28 PM
Lord I'm Dancin' As Fast As I Can is an excellent book written by Sistah Joy. It is filled with thought provoking poetry and very vivid. The title itself is very profound, dynamic and universal. I think that Sistah Joy did a remarkable job with the overall layout and design. Thank you Sistah Joy for sharing such an unique book with us!
Five Stars Rating
Reviewed by Afrika Midnight Asha Abney
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The Big Read (Article) - 10/19/2009 1:38:03 AM
Poetry Extravaganza 2008, 12 Annual Tribute to Dr. King (Article) - 3/29/2008 5:52:35 PM
I am inspired by all you have accomplished and all that you will accomplish with the guidance and love from our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many Blessing! Success Always!
John Michael Domino
It's There (Poetry) - 5/13/2013 7:24:15 AM
Happy belated Mother's Day.
It's There (Poetry) - 5/12/2013 5:31:12 PM
Beautiful tribute. Happy Mother's Day to YOU.
Love and blessings,
It's There (Poetry) - 5/12/2013 4:31:07 PM
a fine tribute
The Gift of Time (Poetry) - 5/7/2013 3:11:55 PM
Such a beautiful writing! I was lead here today on my sister's 50th birthday. Thank You so much for sharing and bringing light into the lives of others.
I Remember (Poetry) - 3/1/2013 10:05:15 PM
Peace be with you and may love and blessings over flow from above.
I Remember (Poetry) - 2/28/2013 4:28:03 PM
I Remember (Poetry) - 2/28/2013 11:51:07 AM
Your words were lost in the beautiful flute music. And like my videos your camera didn't get focused until the last moment when it was very well framed. It would be nice if you could post your words so we can read them.
I Remember (Poetry) - 2/28/2013 9:52:42 AM
A wonderful tribute
After (Poetry) - 8/8/2012 10:50:14 AM
Yes, you rekindle those memories of days when I would rush out into the warm summer rain just to get wet or wash the car with the benefit of the rain instead of having use a hose. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
After (Poetry) - 8/7/2012 5:32:45 AM
past pleasant memories, spurned by present pleasant experiences. thanks for share
After (Poetry) - 8/5/2012 7:22:08 PM
A joyous read!
No Revolving Doors (Poetry) - 2/19/2012 2:21:27 PM
Rosa, no matter how much we speculate, probably was just tired. Tired of being abused and tired of having to go the extra mile just to live. For that, she is our hero.
The latest sensation, “The Help,” shows us that we are not there yet. Still struggling with problems we should have solved with Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. We are sorry lot because we learn so slow. Sometimes, we just get tired of abuse and things change.
A great tribute to Rosa Parks, a national hero.
I Proudly Wave The Flag (Poetry) - 11/6/2011 1:48:16 PM
I Proudly Wave The Flag (Poetry) - 11/6/2011 9:00:43 AM
Very well said, J Joy!
Peace & Blessings,
A Thanksgiving Prayer Poem (Poetry) - 11/25/2010 7:22:42 PM
Wonderful prayer, Joy, I'm with you. Great meter(s). Hope I can remember... beyond today.
Erin Elizabeth Kelly-Moen
Queen (Poetry) - 10/18/2010 2:30:07 PM
I enjoyed "Queen" very much.
Thurman L Faison
I Stand Tall (Poetry) - 3/27/2010 11:04:54 PM
holds reader interest
I Stand Tall (Poetry) - 10/21/2009 12:12:01 AM
This is a very inspirational and outstanding poem.Excellent poem of motivation and overcoming obstacles.I enjoy reading it,take care
I Stand Tall (Poetry) - 10/17/2009 7:07:23 PM
This is outstanding work! Most all of us have struggles in life that strive to get us down, to keep us from taking that climb, that keeps us from 'standing tall.' This should be read by everyone, J. This is a keeper1
Love an Blessings,
In The Quiet Time (Poetry) - 7/1/2009 10:27:58 AM
Come visit me sometime. Jesus is in command. Amen!
In The Quiet Time (Poetry) - 6/4/2009 6:11:57 PM
This is such a beautiful poem you have written.I love it.Its always good to read your poems :-),take care
In Search Of (Poetry) - 5/2/2009 1:40:44 PM
Excellent poem,great work,take care
Strong Hands of Mother Africa (Poetry) - 4/30/2009 10:16:09 AM
This poem is incredibly powerful,and it is filled with your passion for Mother Africa.
You have done an excellent job of portraying what I, and so many others,feel.
May you continue to awaken and empower those of us who read and listen.
Train Ride To Hope (Poetry) - 3/28/2009 8:27:49 PM
Train Ride To Hope (Poetry) - 2/15/2009 10:05:38 PM
E x c e l l e n t !!!
Train Ride To Hope (Poetry) - 2/4/2009 9:15:40 AM
This is a fine piece of writing. I would like to congratulate you "Train Ride to Hope" is a very good poem. Great elucidation!!! Your vivid description of the scene, the characters, the staging, captures the celebratory atmosphere of the day. Your literary devices and word pictures are very powerful and graphic. They precisely convey the feeling of solidarity and inclusion that seem to be paramount in the piece. One can feel the electricity, the passion and the excitement that did not seem to wane when it became obvious that a visual of the ceremony would not be available. Once again, your skillful depiction of the people and events is elegant and sophisticated; which is a very consistent and appealing characteristic of your writings. This is a very good piece of writing!!! Once again, great job.
Train Ride To Hope (Poetry) - 2/2/2009 3:10:59 AM
You are veyr lucky and bless to be at the inauguration.I saw it on television and seeing all those people were like seeing different flavors of ice cream in this big bowl of the human American spirit along the spoons of humanity and unity at its finest.It was a proud day for everyone.I enjoy reading this poem and I am glad that you experience history firsthand.take good care of yourself
Train Ride To Hope (Poetry) - 2/1/2009 7:37:24 AM
I would love to hear from people who read this poem and would care to comment, perhaps reflecting on their personal 2009 Inauguration experience.
The Discovery of Connectedness (Poetry) - 8/15/2008 11:36:47 AM
Remembrances (Poetry) - 7/31/2008 8:21:06 AM
Yes, I agree!
My first wife died of cancer and it took over 20yrs. to write about our experiences during the last days of her life. I have the short story on my Author's Den Website. Please visit when you have time.
A Poet’s Crystalline Moment (Poetry) - 7/11/2008 9:28:55 PM
With deepest sincerity this creative piece blossomed....
Be always safe,
A Poet’s Crystalline Moment (Poetry) - 7/11/2008 9:40:30 AM
Hi Joy,how are you?This is a very heart-touching poem.Poetry is a powerful tool to release any anger,pain or any other feeling we have inside of our bodies.Like I told a friend of mine,poetry is like doing yoga.Instead of stretching our bodies,we stretch our minds and hearts which is release from the pens in our hands to the page of a book or on a piece of paper.God Bless Poetry and God bless you too.take care of yourself
A Poet’s Crystalline Moment (Poetry) - 7/11/2008 7:03:09 AM
This is beautifully penned Grace in verse - well done!
(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Even more meaningful, since my big, strong Daddy died a little over a month ago - thank you.
A Poet’s Crystalline Moment (Poetry) - 7/11/2008 6:55:32 AM
Lovely, heartfelt writing! Very nice rhythm and flow.
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 7/10/2008 7:55:06 AM
Fantastic! I can visually see and feel His pain. It is nothing like the real experience but your poem took me to a more spirtual level. You gave me MORE of an appreciation for our LORD.
I appreciate YOU for that!
GOD BLESS YOU Debra!
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 7/3/2008 8:29:44 AM
A blessed write and poem this is. Enjoy the summer and spread the world the creativy and joy of your gift. Beautiful piece of work.
Ants to Ancestors (Poetry) - 7/1/2008 4:05:22 AM
Very deep and insightful, bringing to mind the circle which is Alpha and Omega and the connectivity that forever binds us to those who have walked this plane before us and those who will follow. And reminding us that we must both blaze new paths while helping others find existing roads we have been led to by our foreparents.
Remembrances (Poetry) - 6/1/2008 3:31:07 AM
A beautiful write my friend, very inspiring as well as wise...well done poetess, enjoyed this much!
Blessings from Ky.
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 5/28/2008 10:35:37 AM
I am SO glad I read this--I am keeping a copy. It is an awesome, inspired poem, insight beyond human reasoning. Bless you, Sistah Joy, for sharing His poem with us!
A sister's hug,
Ants to Ancestors (Poetry) - 5/27/2008 5:40:58 AM
Our footsteps feed the wisdom of the petals of our souls, we hand them down with hope our predecessors' will continue the dance...
Beautiful wise words of wisdom...
Freedom's Echo (Poetry) - 4/18/2008 7:06:55 AM
Whewww! This will give you the Holy Ghost. I enjoyed the immense feeling of elevation in this as well as your poem Queen. Keep going to the mountain top sista and spreading the wonderful Word!
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 4/6/2008 6:16:40 PM
And what a price only Jesus could pay for a debt we had no ability to amend. For only if a seed is planted can it multiply into the earthen vessels meant to contain it. Thank you Sista Joy. Have a blessed spring.
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 4/5/2008 11:28:05 AM
That was very powerful!!! Sometimes we go through the day with all of our worries and forget about the love that we have from God to carry us through. Thank God that my small worries that make me cry! Don't come close to the many who beg for peace. Many blessing to you. Thank you for the willingness to do his work by spreading the one thing we take for granted. Forgiveness!
Ants to Ancestors (Poetry) - 4/3/2008 9:00:49 PM
Such wisdom in these words and it feels like they were passed down from ancestors which gives this a great quality-enjoyed. Michelle
Ants to Ancestors (Poetry) - 4/2/2008 3:09:13 PM
Well said! And the beat continues.....
Be always safe,
Ants to Ancestors (Poetry) - 4/1/2008 8:09:44 PM
I truly enjoyed reading this poem! It is quite the piece!
We would like to use this particular poem in the Black Rose Poetry Book (www.blackrosewriting.com). We are not paying royalties on this specific book, but you will never pay anything. Plus, you will retain copyright and are free to use your poem again with any of the publicity or advertisement that comes from our publication.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Strong Hands of Mother Africa (Poetry) - 2/12/2008 1:56:49 PM
We all have hands that call us home... to our roots...
This is a beautiful depiction of that cord that binds us to our home.
The Discovery of Connectedness (Poetry) - 11/23/2007 2:59:42 PM
Very profound. Thanks for sharing. Happy Holidays! Stay blessed!
The Discovery of Connectedness (Poetry) - 11/21/2007 8:51:11 AM
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 11/19/2007 8:07:20 PM
This was heart-breaking and touching and sooooo true. Thanks for sharing!
Dawn At The River (Poetry) - 11/16/2007 2:04:04 PM
An excellent poem ... written by a marvelous and talented lady.
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 10/3/2007 6:28:10 AM
O, this is powerful and truly uplifting! Very well done; brava!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 10/2/2007 7:29:41 PM
A splendid uplifting poem celebrating the sacrifice of Christ,as the
"sufficient price" to purchase the souls of humanity!
Thank you for sharing!
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 10/2/2007 7:03:59 PM
I wish I had the 'right' words to describe the impact of this upon my heart and soul, but I don't have any words. YOU said them all.
Thank you for such an inspirational write. There is a lot to think about - personally.
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 10/2/2007 6:08:40 PM
thanks joy for sharing this. it is a good thing for me to read this and reflect on my own life and my own cross.
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 10/2/2007 2:48:44 PM
A powerful inspirational poem...inspiring this reader's heart!
As They Pierced His Palm (Poetry) - 10/2/2007 1:17:48 PM
A very powerful poem of faith. Thank you.
Dawn At The River (Poetry) - 6/11/2007 5:56:07 PM
Since I admire Mark Twain, I found this write exceptionally sweet! Sistah Joy, you rock the Casbah! Blessings ...
Light and Wisdom ...
Dawn At The River (Poetry) - 5/9/2007 9:25:46 PM
Ah yes, the Mighty Mississippi, an alluring river to all. Interesting and a pleasure to read. Thank you!
Dawn At The River (Poetry) - 5/9/2007 5:56:12 AM
Queen (Poetry) - 5/4/2007 7:16:45 PM
I salute this poem. It is a wonderful tribute to our youth. Insight, can be beautifully cherished, if listen to with heart.
Strong Hands of Mother Africa (Poetry) - 4/13/2007 8:24:10 AM
Another great poem--you make ME feel like responding to the call of Africa, but believe me I am pale white!
Your poetry must be a terrific encouragement to any who feel oppressed, to stand tall and proud as children of "Mother Africa."
Freedom's Echo (Poetry) - 4/13/2007 8:18:35 AM
This poem could make any reader's spirit soar! Marvelous reflection on freedom!
Queen (Poetry) - 4/13/2007 8:12:22 AM
What a nice commentary on poetry. Long live the queen!
Welcome to Authors' Den.
Queen (Poetry) - 4/13/2007 7:15:30 AM
Let me share truths from ancestors
With youth and elder alike
Share with true seekers answers that empower
You celebrate National Poetry month extremely well, J. Joy!
Strong Hands of Mother Africa (Poetry) - 4/9/2007 12:33:03 AM
Africa, Such a beautiful land, and you paint it well. Only been there a few times, but out of the cities, it is beautiful, with all those big white teeth smiling at you...
Enjoyed the rhythm, that weaves throughout the poem..