New York Poet: Joan McNerney

Editor note:  Joan McNerney has been nominated once again for Best of the Net by Glass: A Journal of Poetry-2012.

Tell us about yourself-where you are from, education or lack of, family roots, some background.

I am from Brooklyn, New York.  My mother, who was an immigrant from Ireland, tried to support me after my father died.  It was tough going financially.  I loved school and won scholarships, have always been a bookworm.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was about nine years old when introduced to poetry which was magical to me.

How long have you been writing?

I was published in Young America Sings when I was 14 years old and continued from then on.

What resources online (include links and websites) help you most as a writer?

I get the Duotrope weekly listing of magazines that are looking for work:  I also consult Poets and Writers website:  It is important to have resources which provide me with publishers who actively seeking poetry.

Have you figured out a way of making money as a writer or poet? 

No.  I have always been able to make money in different fields.  My payment is the joy of writing and the double joy of being published.

Do you follow a strict writing schedule or just write when the spirit hits you?   What stimulates or motivates you to write: nature, human events, a little wine or vodka, or did I miss something?-this is a being honest with yourself question. Where/how do you find the most inspiration?

I write when the spirit moves me but some pieces are difficult and take a great deal of time.  Others just seem to flow out.  The poetic process seems to have a life of its own.  Generally speaking, nature inspires me the most.

What type of stories, poetry, and/or fiction do you like to read, imitate, or write?

My reading habits are diverse.  Much time is spent perusing favorite poetry websites.  I have a large body of love poems and poetry dealing with nature.  I have written quite a few haiku. There is a lot of humor in some poems but I have a dark side having lived in "those mean streets" of Brooklyn.

What tools, resources, or how or you working to grow as an artist? 

I have joined a group to study with professors subjects such as Japanese culture and art, Islam and its art, the history of photography, etc.  I also read a great deal.
What is your opinion on self-publishing as opposed to traditional publishing?  Please list for our readers the publisher(s), POD (print on demand) or self publishing you use or have used. If you have used traditional publishers who are they? Give us a sense of your personal experience and attitudes toward them.

I do not feel I must pay to have my work published therefore none of these self-publishing outlets have been pursued by me.

If you had to choose, what would you say are the two best poems, flash fiction, or short stories you have ever written to this date? Would you like to share a link to those works-or send them the works themselves to my email?

For A Friend Who Is Dying
By Joan McNerney

Even though oceans
have been charted
mountaintops marked
there are no words
for your pain.

All the stratosphere
of heaven climbed yet
there is no course
through human sorrow.

Every muscle counted
and every bone but
no formula was written
for your grief.

In languages of
languages chromosomes
numbered named. What
can be said to your
sorrow, your pain?

By Joan McNerney

the kitchen sits
in fruit soup...
steamed apricot
mango shadow

down thru spinning
smoke into hot light
blink beat

body ends dangle
lead eye skin cement
high on tongue

night pasted among
buildings Styrofoam clouds
moon hung beneath billboard

rolling pass wet
rocked streets
soul tramp
diamond panhandlers watch
paper bird's slices of
the daily news drift in air

comes cool ether
whispers up door
climbing dusty corridor

tree windows lapping lisp
door slams again noise again
then none void nothing syncopates
noise again door slams tree bare frozen

caught in the image of 7 candles
within 7 candles flames of air
7 light bulbs growing out of each other
7 silver circles coined from 7 silver rings

clear as blazing sheets
of glass yet
vague as dust
an ice cube on wood table
in front of crushed velvet

when this sky now boiling with
stars is strapped black
in pinched air thru sucked mind
swimming pass spaced time
will be one silent
note up.

Do you have any parting words for our readers; any words of wisdom to share?

For me, I have found it very strange to have been given scholarships to study literature when so few people are reading.  I am very happy academic institutions still promote great writing.  I am also grateful to the many publishers who have accepted my work both on-line and in print; so many of these websites and journals have been remarkably beautiful.  The main problem is the public who do not read and certainly are not interested in poetry.  All the fine arts have this problem.  But it should be remembered it is through poetry and the fine arts that our civilization is defined.

Are you trying anything new:  video's on line, Mp3 audio files, any particular writing forums.

Not now.  I am not that comfortable with high tech issues.  I have joined LinkedIn (; and Face Book (; and have found some publishers through these outlets.

By what methods or sources are you trying to market your works with?  Do you find marketing your works for exposure easy or difficult?

I find it difficult.  I send my work out to a group of friends after it is published.  Many people don't seem to like poetry so it is hard to market.  My local library has hung some of my short poems up and ordered some of my publications.  I suppose my hope is that my publishers are marketing my work for me on their websites and print journals.

Where can we find your work?  Feel free to show links or websites.

If you Goggle my name, Joan McNerney, a great deal of my work will come up.  I also have a website which has my poetry:

1 comment:

  1. After Mike Passed I lost track of Joanie Is she still writing? is she still alive? I miss them both very much.