featured author of the season - winter 22 - 23
Abigail Joy Tobler’s love of waterways has, sadly, never found her on a canal boat. She has, however, paddled dug-out canoes on rivers in Mexico and Brazil. In England she has enjoyed many hours walking the Thames towpath near Henley whilst dog-sitting for friends over many years. She enjoyed watching the many passing canal boats navigating the locks, and always felt especially blessed when catching glimpses of a kingfisher.
She began writing poetry whilst battling severe depression and has continued during happier times. Many poems are triggered by things heard or seen, and often reflect her Christian faith. She has published 6 collections of poems plus the booklet ‘Tales from the Towpath.’
Joy has had a very varied and adventurous life. When she was young she was a very active sports person, especially in cricket which was her great love. A change of ambition following injury saw Joy become a grammar school teacher, with her subjects being Mathematics and Religious Education. She also studied linguistics and translation.
Joy married a Swiss, and together they went to Mexico where they underwent 6 months of jungle living and survival training. This was followed by a long period in Brazil, where Joy taught literacy and Bible translation to a group of indiginous peoples.
They lived in a village along the banks of a little jungle clad island in the middle of the Amazon delta swampland. All of the houses were on stilts, without walls, and palm thatched. Joy had three sons while she was in Brazil, athough they were all born in the city as malaria (and consequent miscarriages) were rife in the villages.
After thirteen years of life on the banks of the Amazon, Joy had to leave Brazil because of her husband's ill health. Returning to the UK, Joy worked at the home office of the mission, Wycliffe Bible Translators. At some stage she developed M.E. which damped down her life for 25 years. It was at this stage that she began writing her poetry.
Eventually, Joy moved to Sheffield to be nearer her sons and their respective families. She continues to be an active church member, singing in her church choir. Some of her poems have been set to music as anthems and one as a carol.