Sistah Joy Alford
Sistah Joy Alford (J. Joy “Sistah Joy” Matthews Alford), is a poet, author, arts advocate and host of award-winning poetry-based cable television show, Sojourn with Words. She received the Poet Laureate Special Award (2002) for her outstanding contributions and those of her group, Collective Voices, to the art of poetry in her native Washington, DC, and is an alum of the Washington, DC Poet Laureate’s “Poets in Progress” series. She founded the socially-conscious poetry ensemble, Collective Voices in 1995, which has performed nationally and internally (London, England). Sistah Joy is the author of three books, Lord I’m Dancin’ As Fast As I Can (2000), From Pain to Empowerment, The Fabric of My Being (2009), and This Garden Called Life (2011). She has served as the president of the Ebenezer A.M.E. Church Poetry Ministry, whose members are known as The Anointed P.E.N.S. (Poets Empowered to Nurture Souls), since helping to etablish the ministry in 2003. She presents poetry and empowerment workshops primarily for underserved youth groups and women’s support organizations. She is also co-founder of the poetry group, Sounds of Empowerment, as well as the poetry and Jazz performance ensemble, Lyrical Rhythmzz. She hosts “Family Poetry Open Mic Night,” a free, intergenerational, monthly poetry series on 3rd Thursdays at Annie’s Art Gallery in Camp Springs, MD.