Poetry has always been a coping mechanism through which I have channeled and stored the detritus of my emotional trauma. Having said that, let me introduce myself. My name is Joanne Cherefko, and I have published two books of poetry under the name Joanne Zarrillo Cherefko. According to one review, my latest collection, Fragmented Roots, “is part love letter, part primal scream, and altogether transcendent.” — Rich Follett, author of Silence, Inhabited, Responsorials, and Human &c.
Fragmented Roots explores inner and outer landscapes and my perspective on those people who have influenced my life in a positive or negative manner, beginning with my mother and my father. Many of the poems are lyrical and metaphorical, and others are narratives about people or descriptions of nature, which provides solace during challenging times in our lives.
“Glass That Melts” begins the book, revealing the entrenched Catholic Italian guilt syndrome instilled in me when I was young. The poem concludes with the lines:
Finally, my fingers
Glass that melts
Into water that washes
Suggesting a holiness that
Somehow leaves me dry.
Inspiration for this book comes from memory, thoughts, emotions, and the pervading idea that we are more than the sum of our parts. The sudden death of my mother influenced my first work, A Consecration of the Wind, and remnants of that grief appear to a lesser extent in Fragmented Roots. Fortunately, or unfortunately, when I married the love of my life, I had a two-decade hiatus from writing. It seems that loss, loneliness, and isolation fuel my muse, and happiness makes her disappear! 2020 has provided me with much inspiration, and I am currently working on a third book of poetry, Souls Tilled Like Soil, that will be published in 2022.
The themes in Fragmented Roots are universal, and, as I discovered during my Facebook Live Poetry Readings in the spring and fall of 2019, family members, friends, and former classmates, students, and colleagues relate to the poems about self-introspection, love, loss, nature, and the questions that have intrigued man since the beginning of time. It appears as though my target audience is anyone who is self-reflective, thinks beyond the literal, and questions the meaning of life.
Because Fragmented Roots was released in April of 2019, I was not able to promote it in person. My online poetry readings, my author page on Facebook, my membership on Medium, and my presence on Twitter enabled me to share many of the poems with the public. It is my hope to sell more copies of the book in correlation with a book launch of Souls Tilled Like Soil in the spring of 2022.
About the Author
Raised in Middletown, New Jersey, I have spent my adult life in public education, from teacher to administrator to school board member, instilling a love and understanding of poetry in students. I am an award-winning educator, inducted into the Wall Township Foundation for Educational Excellence Hall of Fame in 2001, awarded the Front Royal Warren County Chamber of Commerce Education Contributor honor in 2011, and awarded the Medallion of Recognition by Lord Fairfax Community College in 2019.
I began writing poetry as a young girl, finding my voice in college, and creating my most complex, angst-ridden poetry after experiencing a grave personal loss. My most recent poems shed a softer light on the demons of my past and reflect a desire to “infuse reality” with my “perception.”
Since 2007, I have been creating and presenting poetry seminars at Mountain Vista Governor’s School (MVGS) and local high schools in Warren County, Virginia. I am currently a visiting poet and poetry teacher at Warren County High School and Mountain Vista Governor’s School, where I am a founding member.
I enjoy researching challenging poets such as Wallace Stevens and Elizabeth Bishop in order to formulate thought-provoking questions that lead students to a critical analysis of poems they would otherwise never read, understand, or appreciate. I maintain that students who hate poetry were subjected to teachers who also hated poetry and reluctantly taught it as a necessary evil. Poetry is the stuff of dreams and should be treated as such; it is ethereal, universal, and necessary for meaningful existence to flourish.
My hobbies are collecting and listening to music ranging from classic rock to contemporary alternative; photography; traveling; camping; hiking; researching poems to teach; writing poetry; cuddling with my dogs; and growing old with the love of my life, my devoted husband Bud.
It is with deep gratitude that I include my work in ReadersMagnet Authors’ Lounge. 2020 has made it impossible to launch new books in person, so vehicles such as the Authors’ Lounge make it possible to connect with lovers of poetry.
Link to book: https://amzn.to/2Kn3LgJ
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/consecrationofthewind