Joyce Lott is the author of Dear Joe, a series of letters to her husband who died two months before his ninety-second birthday. She published these letters as a celebration of the continuance of life. “We live in a society that fears death,” she says. “Those of us familiar with death need to speak out about our experiences.” Lott hopes that she can start a conversation that will help others prepare for what may or may not occur in their lives.
An original member of the Cool Women Poets, Lott has been writing poetry most of her life. Finishing Line Press published two of her chapbooks, “Dear Mrs. Dalloway,” and “An Unexpected Life.” For twenty-five years, Lott worked as a high school English teacher in New Jersey and founded the creative writing program at South Brunswick High School. Heinemann published her book A Teacher’s Stories about some of these experiences. Her essays about teaching and her stories about her life have appeared in various journals and magazines. Garrison Keillor even read one of her poems on public radio.
How can I hear your words, Joe?
Did I need to cross the Pacific Ocean to listen?
I’m in my stateroom and the door to my little balcony is open. The ship’s left Cairns and is traveling towards New Guinea. Surf sings out my door.
Tell me something I don’t know, Joe. Tell me there really is a spirit world, that this cruise ship is a dream, that life continues and that death is a celebration of that continuity. Tell me that all endings are beginnings, that death is part of life again and again and again.
Joyce Greenberg Lott