Meet the Poet
Janet E. Aalfs, former poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, weaves poetry and interpretive dance from traditional ancient movement arts in performing, teaching, and social justice activism locally, nationally and internationally. A 7th degree black belt and healing arts instructor, she has been the artistic director of Valley Women’s Martial Arts: Institute for Healing and Violence-Prevention Strategies since 1982. Recipient of an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, Aalfs has performed and facilitated workshops at numerous events. She was a Dodge Festival Poet in 2008, and in 2009 traveled to South Africa as a member of a diverse performing artist teaching exchange that worked with youth in the townships. She received the 2013 Leadership and Advocacy in the Arts Award from the Center for Women and Community at UMass/ Amherst. Aalfs' most recent collection of poems is Bird of a Thousand Eyes (Levellers Press). Other books include Reach (Perugia); Full Open (Orogeny); Of Angels and Survivors (Two Herons); Lubec Tides, a finalist in the 2007 Bright Hill Literary Center Chapbook Contest; Red, and several self-published chapbooks. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including A Fierce Brightness: 25 Years of Women’s Poetry (Calyx Books). She won first prize in poetry contests of the Boston Herald and Peregrine Journal, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Read.