Joe the Poet is the brainchild of John Roche, Professor of English at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. According to him, Joe the Poet first turned up in a poem of the same title in a magazine called Rootdrinker #17, 2009 and eventually the poem appeared in Road Ghosts published by theenk Books, 2011. The initial poem was a found poem appropriating lines from famous poems and signs.
Then something extraordinary happened, according to Roche.
“ Joe the Poet was not willing to stay silent and started to assert his and her identity in poems set in distant lands and eras. Joe kept talking, kept morphing into the consciousness of other writers and poets, into various guises and avatars, all embodying some sort of ideal Wandering Bard.”
Joe earned his own book, The Joe Poem: The Continuing Saga of Joe the Poet, FootHills Publishing, 2011. But he didn’t stop there; he somehow compelled Roche’s friends and acquaintances to write their own Joe poems.
“Finally I gave in and agreed to put together an anthology. Through Jules Nyquist I made the acquaintance of Beatlick Press publishers Pamela Hirst and Deborah Coy, who feel Beatlick Joe is the quintessential Joe the Poet.”
“I feel there are many Joes throughout the galaxies of poetry. We hope this volume contributes to a better understanding of Joeness,” says Roche.
This edition of Mo’Joe: The Anthology features the literary form of the joey, which consists of exactly ten lines, less than one hundred words, compressed syntax with minimal punctuation. This has been the general literary form for the Joe the Poet series.
In this publication by Beatlick Press well over a hundred writers and poets from across the country participated.
“I am really pleased by the quality of poems both by leading poets and those relatively new to poetry. Noted LA poet Michael C. Ford told me he thinks the form brings out the creative best in these contributors,” says Roche.
“The form is inspirational,” says Deborah Coy.
When asked if he is surprised at how your concept has morphed over time, John says, “Absolutely, it originally started as a kind of satirical form and then it changed in mysterious ways and continues to surprise me. One of the nice things about doing the anthology was I was able to see all of the varied takes on the Joe concept. I believe the form brings something more to the concept by being gender-free and there are multi-cultural aspects to the concept of Joe the Poet. It transcends most national and gender boundaries.”
We at Beatlick Press are proud to be associated with this literary endeavor.