Joy Leftow, born in Washington Heights in New York City, is an American poet, fiction writer, and essayist.
Leftow's poetry is narrative and lyrical, and each poem tells a complete story. Some poems have gained critical acclaim, such as "Tupelo Honey," "Advancing on Satori," and the more recent "Being Jewish," "My Mother," and "I Sing The Blues For You Today," all of which have been published in several journals. Her poems are often gritty and raw urban tales based on her unique observations and experience. Familiar themes in her work encompass analysis of identity and inclusion and family and social issues. She covers themes of overall inclusion and exclusion into various groups in general (the nuclear family) and organizations. Her Jewish identity has become another developing theme.
Leftow claims to have written her first poem, on snowflakes, when she was four years old. After dropping out of high school and living for some time on welfare, Leftow restarted her education under the auspices of the New York State Higher Education Opportunity Program and obtained a B.A. from Columbia University. During her undergraduate studies, she began writing again by taking elective writing courses. Leftow continued her studies and obtained a post-graduate Masters of Science in Social Work degree from Columbia University in New York City and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from City College of New York.
Leftow frequently appears on New York City radio shows, such as the Teachers & Writers Collaborative Radio Show, Everything Goes, Poetry Central, The Sounds of Poetry on Adelphi Radio WBAU-FM, Jazz Poetry Café with Phillip Gregory on WFLO, Cool on the Groove on Rockland World Radio Program and Indiefeed Performance Poetry. She has also been featured on television programs such as The New Yorkers,. She has read her poetry at CBGB's, the Wetlands, Cornelia Street Cafe, Bowery Poetry Club, the Back Fence, Palmer Vineyards and the Paris Cafe. She organized and hosted the spoken word event at the 4th, 5th and 6th Annual Uptown Arts Stroll event.
In addition to working as a clinical social worker, Leftow taught youth literacy classes for young children through the Beacon program and is also a production editor for Augustus Publishing and The Cartier Street Review. She is a member of Poets & Writers and is listed at their site. Leftow has also worked with Anthony Whyte and Augustus Publishing Dream Team as editor for several years.
Leftow still lives in Washington Heights.
Leftow's first book, A Spot of Bleach & Other Poems and Prose (Big Foot Press, 2005), was praised by the Aquarian East Coast Rocker as:
bringing a bold energetic humor to the matters of everyday life. Growing up in a not so “Leave It To Beaver” household, she reflects on her relationships with family members and friends with more sarcasm than you could find in a whole season of “Seinfeld.” Her prose is like a catchy tune, keeping the reader engaged within every line and pause, allowing her words and loud voice to linger around in your head. Her observations and analysis of human nature represent the cynicism with which we think but never have the guts to say out loud.Asheville Poetry Review
Poetry in Performance # 34, #35 (City College of New York)
New Press Literary Quarterly
Grist on Line
Poetry Magazine of the Lower East Side
A Spot of Bleach & Other Poems and Prose (Big Foot Press, 2005) 
Poetry Kite Anthology
Online Wings Magazine
Menopause: (essay) Online Wings Magazine, Summer 2005
Esmerelda's Gift: Spot Of Bleach, November 2005
False Pride, short story in the anthology, Lipstick Diaries (Augustus Publishing, 2007)