JOANNE TOWNSEND. Papers; 1962-2003. .25 cu. ft.
Joanne Townsend was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She came to Alaska with her husband and son in 1970. Townsend received a master's degree in English from the University of Arkansas in 1983. She worked as a registered nurse and wrote part-time until 1975, when she decided to pursue her career as a writer full-time. Townsend's poetry has appeared in various publications including Hunger and Dreams: Alaska Women's Anthology, and the Alaska Quarterly Review. She published her first book of poetry, entitled Balancing Act, in 1979, and taught English at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Joanne Townsend was named Poet Laureate for Alaska by the state legislature in 1988. Joanne Townsend currently resides in Satellite Beach, Florida.
The collection consists of papers regarding Joanne Townsend's work as a poet and her relations with other Alaskan authors. The collection contains: correspondence between Townsend and other writers as well as correspondence concerning her election as Poet Laureate for Alaska, and other related documents (n.d., 1980, 1987-2004); poetry drafts and poetry publications (n.d., 1962-2002); papers regarding a memorial for poet Margaret Mielke in 1980 (n.d., 1968-1969, 1980); biographical and poetry clippings (1988, 1990, 1991, 1998); publications of life stories by the creative writing class of the Anchorage Senior Center (1991, 1993); five color photographs of Townsend's poetry reading at the opening of Borders Bookstore in Anchorage, and Townsend at Bethel during a period as poet in the schools (1990); and an audiocassette recording of Townsend's poetry reading at the Coffee Mill, on May 23, 1991. The poetry publications include: Karmic Prunes, Vol. 1, No. 6, July-Aug. 1976 (magazine with poem by Townsend); Balancing Act Poems (by Joanne Townsend, Harpoon Press, 1979); On a Bright Morning (by Joanne Townsend, A Circumference Chapbook, 1988); In A Dream (four poets) (by George Sparling, Joanne Townsend, Michael Wilds and Maggi H. Meyers, Minotaur Press, 1990); The Sky's Own Light: Poems from Alaska (edited by Joanne Townsend, Minotaur Press, 1991); Whispered Secrets (poems by Ann Fox Chandonnet, Denise Lassaw, Eleanor Limmer and Joanne Townsend, Sedna Press, 1991); and Losing Ethan: A Cycle of Grieving and Healing (by Joanne Townsend, Indian River Press, 2002). The publications of the creative writing class at the Anchorage Senior Center include: I Have Saved Some Memories: A Journal of Life Stories and Poems (edited by Joanne Townsend), and the article with writing examples, "Laureates of the Later Years: Anchorage seniors try their hand at writing" (Senior Voice, Apr. 1993).
The collection was presented to the archives by Joanne Townsend in 1988. Papers were added in 2003 and 2004.