Joy McDowell is a graduate of the University of Oregon. Her short stories, essays and poems have been published in Texas, New York and Seattle. In 2010 one of her poems won an Editor’s Choice Award in the anthology New Poets of the American West. In 2012 and 2013 The National Federation of State Poetry Societies awarded her a first in their annual contest.
Joy has always had an interest in recording the voices and experiences of ordinary people. She also writes surreal poems. Her poem Hell House found a home in the first issue of Fault Lines: Poems for People (2012). Her free verse poem White Birds won first place in the Oregon State Poetry Association contest and was later published in the book Walking Bridges: Using Poetry as a Compass. Her latest chapbook is titled Diesel Horse and includes poems describing labor in the fields of logging, fishing, oyster farming, cosmetic sales and slaughterhouses. John Steinbeck has been a beacon for her writing about men and women as they navigate daily life discovering disappointment and delight.
When she isn’t writing Joy enjoys hiking, watching birds and painting. She keeps a studio on the Oregon Coast beside the Coos Bay estuary and one above the Willamette Valley. The daily tides infuse her work. She says that what isn’t working on the page or canvas can always go out on the low tide and new ideas and energy come in on the high tide. So twice each day a clean slate presents opportunities to speak about the hypnotic rhythm and rituals of life.