Bone Stylus: The Marrow of Me

About, Vita, etc

The Poet

Joanie DiMartino has work published in many literary journals, including Modern Haiku, Alimentum, Calyx, and Amethyst Arsenic, and anthologies, such as Circe’s Lament: An Anthology of Wild Women and Motif Writing By Ear: An Anthology of Writings about Music.  Her chapbook, Licking the Spoon, was published with Finishing Line Press. She is a past winner of the Betty Gabehart Award for poetry from the Women Writers Conference, Kentucky, and was a finalist in the Cultural Center of Cape Cod poetry competition. Her first full-length collection, Strange Girls was published by Little Red Tree Publishing, and the poem “A Treatise on Handling Snakes” from that collection received a nomination for a Pushcart Prize.  Strange Girls was nominated for a Connecticut Book Award, and is presently being developed for the stage.

Her poems have been featured in several art exhibits in Kentucky and Connecticut, including Sideshow, a collaborative project with the Women Artists Group; Collaborations + Catalysts, an exhibit highlighting combined mediums; and Connections–We Are All One, an interfaith exhibit, where her poem, “The Monks,” an experimental piece incorporating Gregorian Chant throughout the poem, was performed. DiMartino has had several poems presented by the East Haddam Plays & Players as part of their Plays & Poetry performance in selected locations throughout Connecticut. She was featured in the exhibit Women in the Arts, a show by local artist Deborah Curtis, where her portrait and poem, “Self-Portrait,” were on display at ArtWorks in Norwich, Connecticut.  DiMartino also participated in the Poetry of the Wild ~ Mystic, outdoor sculpture exhibit, and her poem, “lost at sea,” inspired a box by shipwright Jon Day in which the poem appeared at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut. Most recently, DiMartino’s poem, “In the Sea, In the Salt,” was on exhibit at the Hygienic Art Gallery in New London, Connecticut, where she also performed it interspersed with whale song, as part of the Gaia’s Lament: Art Cry exhibit.


Poetry of the Wild ~ Mystic

She is currently at work on several projects, including her next full-length manuscript, “Wood to Skin,” a collection of poems about the 19th-century whaling industry, highlighting the career of the Charles W. Morgan whaling bark, for which she was a 38th Voyager; a collection of persona poems from the perspective of militant suffragist Alice Paul, which she plans to have completed by the Centennial of the 19th Amendment in 2020; a haiku sequence titled “Of Flesh and Fruit,” and two chapbook manuscripts.  Her work has been translated into Bulgarian and Spanish.

She is the founder and former director of the Hidden Treasures Poetry Series in partnership with the Courtyard Gallery in downtown Mystic. Along with performing poetry, she reviews books and leads workshops and discussion groups, and offers lectures. Raised in southern New Jersey, DiMartino has lived in Lexington, Kentucky, and now resides in Mystic, CT.

Please contact her directly for a complete poetry curriculum vitae.

The Historian

Joanie DiMartino began her career as a museum professional while still an undergraduate at Rowan College of New Jersey (now Rowan University), working as an summer intern at Historic Batsto Village, where she gave tours and developed her first exhibit, Tales of Fright: Victorian Halloween and the Jersey Devil. She also volunteered at several historic house museums in the south Jersey area, assisting with archival work, programs and events, open-hearth cooking, and other tasks needed to maintain small, local museums.

She earned an MA in public history from Rutgers University, where her thesis was the first historical study of the development of Alice Paul’s suffrage militancy in Philadelphia. This landmark study is still cited in biographies of Paul today (most recently Alice Paul: Claiming Power by Amelia Fry and J.D. Zahniser, Oxford University Press, 2014), and the paper was consulted for background research for the HBO film Iron-Jawed Angels.

Her thesis was inspired by her work as an intern with the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation at Paulsdale, the childhood home of suffragist Alice Paul. Now known as the Alice Paul Institute, the site serves as a leadership center for young women and girls.

DiMartino spent time in Kentucky as coordinator of adult programs with the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort, where she developed many innovative adult education programs, including Literary Journeys book discussions (which was further developed for adult literacy students; both ESL & native learners, utilizing the “New Books for New Readers” series from the Kentucky Humanities Council), Scribbling History (a collaborative program for unwed teenage mothers with the Thornhill Education Center in Frankfort), Collector’s Days preservation workshops, and Double-Feature Sunday, which combined brief talks with museum theatre, to name a few.

Along with traditional lecture, film, and hands-on skills programs, DiMartino oversaw large-format events, such as the 103rd Annual Boone Day celebration, day-long panel workshops and discussions on topics as diverse as the history of political cartoons to issues surrounding the Confederate flag, and a multi-departmental weekend symposium about Holocaust survivors, titled This is Home Now: Kentucky Holocaust Survivors, in collaboration with the KHS Oral History Department and the Lexington History Museum.

DiMartino developed many programs for both the permanent exhibit and temporary exhibit gallery, as well as wrote a series of Clio’s Corner gallery talks for visitors with an interest in exploring an exhibit theme in more detail. Titles included “Depression-Era Literature,” “African-Americans in World War I,” and “Battling for the Ballot: Woman Suffrage in Kentucky.” She also helped curate the temporary exhibit, The Fight for Suffrage: A Selection from the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust.

While with the Kentucky Historical Society DiMartino supervised staff, volunteers, and adult education interns.  She also participated in institutional adult program initiatives and committees, and represented the institution as an adult education specialist in extra-agency projects.


Suffrage tea presentation at the Avery-Copp House in Groton, CT.

When she returned to Mystic Seaport as a Supervisor of Interpretation nearly ten years to the day her summer internship ended in 1996, DiMartino was named director of the 27th Annual Sea Music Festival, where she oversaw a team of eight chantey staff to produce the four-day internationally renowned festival, and created significant additions to public offerings over the weekend, including educational programs for school groups on-site, and establishing Mystic Seaport as the first east coast venue of the Fisher Poets.  She still contributes to the success of the Festival by volunteering as the residential housing coordinator for visiting performers.  DiMartino also oversaw two years of the “Melville Marathon,” a 24-hour reading of Moby-Dick, or, The Whale on the deck of the Charles W. Morgan.

After taking some time off during the recession to work on poetry endeavors, DiMartino re-entered the museum field, returning to her roots in small, historic house museums, working at the Avery-Copp House and Stonington Historical Society.

She now serves as the Executive Director of the Smith-Harris House in Niantic, CT, where she oversees all the main aspects of daily museum functions, including grant writing, repurposing rooms and rewriting the tour script, cemetery preservation with the local Old Stone Church Burial Ground, collections inventory, re-establishing school field trips, collaborative programming for adults and families with organizations such as the East Lyme Public Library and East Lyme Parks and Recreation, including Spirit Voices: Victorian Mourning and Spiritualism, Slightly-Creepy Folk Tales, and An Evening with the Belsnickel, which garnered the attention of a PBS Springfield, MA affiliate and was featured on New England Legends television program.  Click here to view segment.

She continues developing site-specific policies and procedures for the Smith-Harris House through participation in the Standards and Excellence Program for Small Museums (StEPS-CT), created by the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) and administered by CTHumanities and the Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO).

Joanie DiMartino has chaired and served on panels for several professional organizations, including AASLH, the Historical Confederation of Kentucky, the Kentucky Association of Museums, and Heritage Touring on topics such as literacy & history, copyright issues in museum programming, and using under-utilized collections.

DiMartino has been listed in Marquis Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders and Who’s Who of American Women.

Please contact her directly for a complete museum resume.