EAST BRUNSWICK – At 93-years-old, Joyce Fisher proves that with purpose and passion, an individual’s creativity is timeless.
Born in England, Fisher relocated to East Brunswick in 1969. A lover of poetry since childhood, she established an early interest in the written artform.
Surprisingly, her earliest interactions with poetry never involved writing it. In her adolescence she consumed poetry by listening and reading, but never considered creating it herself.
“Writing has always come easily to me, although I never had a desire to sit and write anything serious. I remember loving poetry as a child, but writing them never occurred to me,” Fisher said.
As an adult, that dynamic would change.
Fisher explained that her re-introduction to “modern poetry” began after a young women shared a poem with her. Impressed by the subject matter, Fisher wondered if she herself could produce something similar.
“I knew nothing of modern poetry, so I was very impressed with how relevant and touching these were. I did not think I could ever write like this,” she said.
Eventually, Fisher would attend a poetry workshop at the East Brunswick Senior Center. During a workshop exercise, the participants were asked to craft a poem based on a classical painting. Although pleasantly surprised by the creativity of her poem, Fisher recalls not loving it.
At a different workshop, which Fisher described as “purely academic” and “boring,” she shared what she considered just feelings with fellow participants. Ironically, she didn’t realize what she shared was a heartfelt poem that resonated with those in attendance.
“As the students exited the workshop, they stopped me to tell me how much they loved my poem. I had not even thought of it as a poem! Reflecting back, I now realize that my subconscious was developing a poet within me,” Fisher said.
After the passing of her beloved husband, the subconscious poet that dwelled within Fisher became a source of real-life healing.
While battling sleepless nights, she recalls a floodgate of words entering her mind that had her rushing for a pen and paper.
“To my surprise, on one of those nights, at around 3 a.m., I woke up with a poem popping out of my head. I had to hurry to find paper and pencil to jot it down. It felt as if I was taking dictation.
“All my poems since that night have been spontaneous. It is the only way I can write with real feeling. The poems usually reflect what I feel, within my soul, and that includes social issues too. I believe that every poet has to find his or her own path,” she said.
Not only did Fisher find a new path, but a new purpose at 93-years-old.
Encouraged by friends and family, she decided to have her first book published. Entitled, The Birds Last Song and Other Poems, the book explores Fisher’s life through amidst warm memories and difficult circumstances.
The book’s introduction, written by Antoinette Rainone, states, “Joyce Fisher reaches into her soul and explores a lifetime worth of emotions, from mourning a beloved cat, to dreaming in a park on a warm, sunny day, to reliving her dreams and fears growing up in war-torn England, to connecting with strangers from far-away lands by the tapping of a drum. Rich in imagery, the poet casts pearls of wisdom and gives us, the readers, a mission to go forth and heal this world we share.
Fisher explained that in her loss, poetry became a powerful tool to also find peace. She encouraged anyone interested in poetry to focus on topics that are reflective of their life experiences or interests. By doing this, she says the creativity that’s produced may surprise you.
“Poetry has been an amazing gift. It has calmed my mind and brought joy back into my life, something I never thought possible after the loss of my husband … I would suggest that anyone who wished to try poetry need only to think about a subject, event, or memory that really interests them, brought them pleasure, or even angered them, and start writing. They may surprise themselves,” Fisher said.
The Birds Last Song and Other Poems is now available on Blurb for purchase. Fisher’s latest work can be viewed on Instagram @joycefisherpoet65