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Janet Aalfs

Janet Aalfs

Poet; martial artist

Janet Elizabeth Aalfs (born August 14, 1956) is an American poet and martial artist. She is a founding member of Valley Women's Martial Arts and the National Women's Martial Arts Federation, and founder and director of Lotus Peace Arts.She served as poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts from 2003-05.

As a 13-year-old, Aalfs wrote her first poem, and began focusing on her writing practice. Her father (1922–2001), a minister, is credited with teaching Aalfs about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. By the age of sixteen, Aalfs had participated in assisting her mother in the founding of the women’s center in New Bedford, Massachusetts, read and found inspiration in Sisterhood is Powerful, and had her poems published by the women’s center at Southeastern Massachusetts University. According to Astrologers, Janet Aalfs's zodiac sign is Leo.

Between 2003 and 2005, she served as the poet laureate for Northampton, Massachusetts. In 2013, she received the Leadership and Advocacy in the Arts Award from the Center for Women and Community, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Shortly thereafter she founded a women’s writing group, and eventually two lesbian writing groups: Calypso Borealis and the Tuesday Night Lesbian Writers Group. She also founded Orogeny Press, a publishing house for fiction and lesbian poetry. In 1978, Aalfs began practicing martial arts and became a founding member of Valley Women’s Martial Arts and the Institute for Healing and Violence Prevention Strategies (VWMA/HAVPS) and the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation.

Shortly thereafter she founded a women’s writing group, and eventually two lesbian writing groups: Calypso Borealis and the Tuesday Night Lesbian Writers Group. She also founded Orogeny Press, a publishing house for fiction and lesbian poetry. In 1978, Aalfs began practicing martial arts and became a founding member of Valley Women’s Martial Arts and the Institute for Healing and Violence Prevention Strategies (VWMA/HAVPS) and the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation.

Works by Janet Aalfs

with Carol Wiley. Martial Arts Teachers on Teaching. Mumbai: Frog Books (1995). ISBN 1-883319-09-9

Reach. Florence: Perugia Press (1999). ISBN 0-9660459-2-0

"Women and the martial arts." Women of Power 3 (1986).

Collections of her poems are Reach (Perugia Press, 1999); Full Open (Orogeny Press, 1996); Of Angels and Survivors (Two Herons Press, 1992); Lubec Tides, which was a finalist in the 2007 Bright Hill Literary Center Chapbook Contest; Red (2001) and several self-published chapbooks.

Her writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Comstock Review; Monthly Review; The Mindfulness Bell; Onion River Review; Passager; Sinister Wisdom; Common Lives/ Lesbian Lives; A Fierce Brightness: 25 Years of Women’s Poetry (Calyx Books); Crossing Paths (Mad River Press); Martial Arts Teachers on Teaching (North Atlantic Books). She won first prize in poetry contests of the Boston Herald and Peregrine Journal, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Timeline

August 14, 1956
Janet Aalfs was born in New Bedford.

Patents

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

35th Anniversary Interviews: Janet Aalfs and Sandy Mandel

Web

March 16, 2012

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References

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