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Home > Author > Brenda Joy Dobson
Brenda Joy Dobson

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Member Since: Sep, 2008

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  Brenda Joy Dobson

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As a poet, my identity and purpose spring forth in my signature poem, "Bottom Fish, Rises." Words, often edgy and thought-provoking, focus on various layers of emotions during some of life's most challenging circumstances. Therefore, my "written-word mission" is dedicated to those persons who have shared their most trying experiences. They have been and will always be my inspiration. bjd

Background Information

     I am the 10th child of Nannie Fulton-Dobson and the 13th of Lee Dobson born in Winston Salem, NC. My parents migrated to Chicago's west side in 1948. After my father's death, approximately five months later, my Aunt Minnie brought me to live with her family in Pennsylvania. I was raised in a former coal mining camp of Coal Bluff nestled along the Monongahela River near the small village of Finleyville. Elrama Elementary School is where I began to experience very diverse, perplexing memories  associated with racism in the 50s. After grade school, I was educated in Pennsylvania's Mon Valley.  I graduated from Monongahela Highschool in May of 1966 and then from Douglas School of Business in McKeesport. PA where steel furnaces were still booming large until the late forward...

     Taking on the role as a military officer's spouse in 1970, I moved about, traveling extensively throughout the southwest, eventually settling in Anchorage, Alaska for a few culturally stimuating years. Returning to Pennsylvania in 1980, brought me full circle. Yes, I came home again. However, divorced, with two young sons, I wanted and needed to find a career path. I entered  the Community College of Allegheny County-South Campus as a Business Management major, but also found my gift for writing poetry. Occasionally, a restless prose spewed forth that received attention; with mentoring from Dr. Dorothy L. Richey. She gave my my first opportunity to read  at a CCAC-South Campus event.  This became the springboard to opportunities throughout western Pennsylvania . One of my professors (after reading my writing assignments)  asked  if I had read Nikki Giovanni's poetry. Sheepishly, I had to admit that I had not. She said that I should check out Ms. Giovanni's selections in the college library because my poetry had a firey tone that was similar. Little did my prof know about my sheltered, somewhat illiterate past...a life without literature. Ms Giovanni's "Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day"  is all it took. I bought her books and fell in love with poetry.

      As a kid, I grew up in a household where the worldliness of novelists and the ramblings of  wonderful, poetic dreamers were not permitted. Books that I managed to purchased (by saving my lunch money) from the school's visiting bookmobile would often disappear and I was discouraged from venturing into leisure reading unless it was biblically-based.  Actually, I had not been exposed to poetry or novel readings since Mr. Eugene Urbanski's highschool English class.  It was a joy to watch him act out scenes and read from the pages of "Silas Marner" and "Moby Dick."   Fast forward...

     Now, in the 80s, as an adult college student and novice reader, I had so much catching up to do...but, this time, the books I brought home would not be censored or thrown away. I could finally be free to read whatever I forward again...

     Because of my interest in writing, my college advisor, Mr. Ronald White, assigned me to accompany guest speakers when they visited the college. Upon meeting and conversing extensively with Nikki Giovanni, and Alex Haley, I was anointed with the fire to concentrate on developing my writing skills. I attended several events, listening to the creative works of  Sonia Sanchez, Ray Bradberry, David Bradley, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.  The wonderful imagery of  F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing drew me in and I soon became a "worthsmith groupie"  thanks to Dean Fred Miller's vocabulary studies coursework, with extensive, supportive mentoring by Dr. Dorothy L. Richey, and Dr. Kitty Herbert's Honors English classes. I attended every college writing and poetry workshop available and began to invest more time in refining my craft. Attaining a place on the Dean's List was an honor to forward...

      I enrolled in and graduated from Carlow University with a BA in Journalism at the age of 41. I  thank God for Sister Grace Ann Giebel who believed in my educational pursuits and for the wonderful mentoring I received from Sister Michael, Sister Terry Coyne, and Dr. Ellie Wymard.

     Following graduation, I spent the next fertile years growing my career as a literacy educator and program developer in the social services field while watching my sons, Jeffery and Varian, mature into adulthood with well-rounded, productive lives. After they moved away from home, I had to "grow up,"  and take care of myself. My activity schedules had become void of  kid fun-filled sporting events, ballet lessons, school concerts, theatre, and library visits that we frequented together. I soon discovered  the loneliness that "empty-nesting" brings. Also, as the challenges of disabiling conditions took turns with me, isolation joined in. I soon found out that few employers or friends tolerated or understood. Therefore, I discovered many hours of  endless "me time."  To cope, I started writing again. I soon realized that what Albert Einstein said is true, "...monotony of quiet life stimulates the creative mind." Exciting, heart-felt words began to emerge as I drew from the reflection-pool of  human emotions and the life experiences shared by of a bevy of "souls met along the way."

     Over two year agos, I posted two poems that I refer to as the "Thorn" series. These words express the unseen elements of chronic pain from many years of fragile medical setbacks; others will be written over time. However, to share a quote from mentor and inspirational queen, Dr. Maya Angelou, "I RISE."

                            "Stay strong in faith and believe in the power of prayer"


Birth Place
Winston Salem, NC USA

One Woman Show, "Transitional Limbo." 1984-86

Recipient, National Award of Merit, from the National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials - Served as the Co-developer and Project Coordinator of an innovative educational initiative, "Family Reading Centers" 1993 -- Special Recognition to State Senator Jim Ferlo and Michelle Jackson-Washington for contributing to the program's remarkable success. Many thanks to the dedicated individuals whose tireless efforts brought a positive light to the city's public housing communities: Dr. James Wilbourne, Janet Zubik,Charlotte Dobson-West,Denice Daniels-Scott, Helen Gillespi, LaDale White, Randy Chiurazzi, Nancy vanVuuren, Peta vanVuuren, Stephen Radkowski, Jeff Harrison, Varian Huddleston, Tarthan Jackson, Ross Kronenbitter, Carla Charles, Juanita Mosby-Washington, and Clevon Owens). May God Bless Your Future Missions of Love and Generosity.

Recipient, Super Supervisor's Award, City of Pittsburgh Summer YouthWorks Program. Brought teens from rival neighborhoods together that included the successful production of a public housing community-based newsletter, entitled, "The Garfield Horizon" 1995

Recipient, Woman of the Year Community Service Award, from the Northside Institutional Church of God in Christ 2001

Founder - Journaling2 - A support program concept for women to encourage creativity, tackle life's challenges, and identify goals by writing and sharing life experiences. 2007 - present.

Additional Information

JOURNALING2 This self-help program is designed for women who would like to experience positive life-changes through creative and journal writing. For information and registration please contact: Thank you. Note to visitors: THANK YOU for reading my Bio. If you would like, please check out my Short Stories and Poetry on this wonderful website. Authors Den has works by professional authors and new writers. Enjoy!

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