A Bio of Poet, Author & Activist, Sistah Joy

Get to know Sistah Joy


Poet J. Joy Matthews Alford, a.k.a. “Sistah Joy” is the author of 3 books:


- Lord I’m Dancin’ As Fast As I Can

- This Garden Called Life

- From Pain to Empowerment – The Fabric of My Being


Sistah Joy was appointed as the inaugural Poet Laureate of Prince George's County, Maryland on September 18, 2018.  She was previously named Poet Laureate of Prince George’s mega-church, Ebenezer AME Church on April 15, 2016. Serving as President of Ebenezer’s Poetry Ministry, whose members are known as The Anointed P.E.N.S. (Poets Empowered to Nurture Souls), since 2003, Sistah Joy is known for messages of social consciousness, inspiration and empowerment.  She has blazed literary trails for over 25 years through her impassioned activist poetry. In 2002 she received the Poet Laureate Special Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities “for her outstanding contributions to the art of poetry in Washington, DC.”  Former Washington, DC Poet Laureate, Dolores Kendrick, said of Sistah Joy –


"Joy Alford's poetry speaks to people. Originating in its own personal genre, it finds its source in the day to day living of all things great and small: the personal aura, the makings of the lives of historical figures, the celebration of persons, places and things that teach us the hallelujahs of living. She is an American treasure. Read and trust her genuine vision."


                               -    Dolores Kendrick

                                     Washington, DC Poet Laureate (3/21/2016)


Sistah Joy produces and hosts the award-winning cable television program, Sojourn with Words, which has aired on CTV (Comcast Ch. 76, Verizon Ch. 42), the Prince George’s County local access station, since 2005. She is a Charter Board Member of CAAPA (Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts, Inc.), which, among other services, provides exposure, financial support as well as educational and performance opportunities for classically-trained African American musicians. In 1995 Sistah Joy founded the socially-conscious poetry ensemble, Collective Voices, which has performed nationally and internationally since its inception. In 2017, the group participated in “Word as Bridge” an international and multi-lingual collaboration of poets performing poems “bridging cultures through poetry” at The Italian Embassy. 


During its 6 year run (1998-2003), Sistah Joy served as the poetry editor for ACE-Dialogue quarterly literary magazine.  She previously served as Poet in Residence for 10 years at Annie’s Art Gallery in Camp Springs, Maryland. She originated and hosted the free monthly poetry series, “Verses, Vibes & Bites” at the Downtown, Washington, DC Barnes & Noble bookstore 5 years prior.


Sistah Joy is an arts event consultant who coordinates and develops programs for individuals, companies and organizations such as M-NCPPC, PGAHC, area schools, churches, libraries and other community-based entities. She has been commissioned to create poetry and develop poetry events for elected officials, national organizations as well as private organizations and companies, state, military and Federal agencies.  Sistah Joy is a poet who lifts messages that herald a society of unity and inclusion through arts-based citizen empowerment. In 2010, she was designated an Ambassador of Prince George’s Envision, an initiative established to help shape the vision, goals and strategies to guide Prince George's County now and into the future. Sistah Joy embraces the belief that poetry can build bridges where divisions exist, and can offer empowerment, enlightenment and healing wherever searching or hurting souls are found.


For bookings and inquiries about scheduled appearances, contact Sistah Joy on Facebook at Sistah Joy Alford, on-line at Poetsistahjoy@aol.com or visit the Purchases / Bookings page of this website.