The Poetry / Martial Arts Dance Fusion of Janet E. Aalfs at Baker Books

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Massachusetts (May 4, 2011) – Baker Books and Whaling City Review are thrilled to welcome Janet E. Aalfs to the bookstore’s Bean & Leaf Café for a poetry reading on Saturday, May 21st at 7:00 PM.

Aalfs, who was the poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts (2003-2005), weaves poetry and martial arts dance in performing, teaching, and social justice activism locally, nationally and internationally.

Collections of her poems are Bird of a Thousand Eyes (Levellers Press, 2010); Reach (Perugia Press, 1999); Full Open (Orogeny Press, 1996); Of Angels and Survivors (Two Herons Press, 1992); Lubec Tides, which was a finalist in the 2007 Bright Hill Literary Center Chapbook Contest; Red (2001) as well as several other self-published chapbooks.

Her writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Comstock Review; Monthly Review; The Mindfulness Bell; Onion River Review; Passager; Sinister Wisdom; Common Lives/ Lesbian Lives; A Fierce Brightness: 25 Years of Women’s Poetry (Calyx Books); Crossing Paths (Mad River Press); Martial Arts Teachers on Teaching (North Atlantic Books). She won first prize in poetry contests of the Boston Herald and Peregrine Journal, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Recipient of an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, Aalfs has been a Dodge Festival Poet, New Jersey; a featured performer and instructor at the Power of Words conference, Goddard College; a panelist and workshop facilitator at Split This Rock poetry festival, Washington DC; and a featured performer at Po’Jazz, Hudson Valley Writers Center. In 2009 she traveled to South Africa as a member of a diverse performing artists teaching exchange, and to Japan and China in 2008 to assist Grandmaster Wen Mei Yu, her tai chi teacher.

Director of Valley Women’s Martial Arts: Institute for Healing and Violence-Prevention Strategies since 1982, Aalfs is a 7th degree black belt in Okinawan Karate, a 5th degree black belt in Modern Arnis Filipino stick arts, and a Jian Mei internal arts teacher. She is a founding member of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, NWMAF’s self-defense instructor certification program, and the Anti-Racism Council (ARC). Aalfs has taught at schools, conferences, and community centers throughout the U.S, and in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and South Africa.

An Open Mic for anyone in the community who wants to share their poetry or short prose will precede the reading. Come early to sign up, or email

Baker Books is an independent bookstore located at 69 State Rd. in North Dartmouth. For more information, visit or call (508) 997-6700. Baker Books is wheelchair accessible.

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