Joanne grew up in southern California near Venice Beach. At night, the deep booming sound of fog horns and lights from the lighthouse warning of approaching airplanes, inspired her first poem, “Awake.”
The black and white photo is a picture of Joanne in 1949. She was five. Two years later she wrote this poem in rhyme, because her second grade teacher told the class that poetry had to rhyme.
Last night as I lay down to sleep
I pulled the blinds way above my sheet
I looked at the stars way up so high
And the beam of light that streaked the sky
No birds nor bees, just plain dark blue
And the little white stars that glowed like dew
That night our neighbors lights were still on
It was twelve o’clock, five hours till dawn
But since my head lay down so low
All I could see were the stars aglow
Poetry continued to be one of the driving forces in Joanne’s life. Her book of poems, Piggybacked, was written as a tribute to her late grandfather, Samuel Bodin, also a poet. His poetry, written in Russian and Yiddish, was translated into English, and some of his love poems are included in Piggybacked.
Since her retirement from a thirty-four year teaching career, Joanne has continued to pursue her writing. Her first novel, Walking Fish, won the New Mexico Book Award and the International Book Award in gay/lesbian fiction and Piggybacked was a finalist in the New Mexico Book Awards. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications. Orchid of the Night, her second novel, is a dark psychological thriller about a man running from his troubled past who finds solace in the gay community of Ixtlan where, even his new identity cannot protect him from a tragic fate.
Currently, Joanne is writing her memoir and finishing another book of poetry. She is also a water color hobbyist and plays classical and jazz piano.