About Me

Carla Joy


DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, was my happy choice for college –
I majored in English lit and art. I also played violin in the symphony orchestra
and gave a senior recital in piano and organ. I obtained a masters in English
lit after a wonderful year at Stanford University.

But my greatest education was obtained when I became a mother to my two
sons, Travis Christian and Luke Wesley. Watching them learn and grow to
become the accomplished young men they are today has been a joyful gift.

I have resided in Bakersfield for the past thirty-seven years – and have found a
plethora of creative pursuits and so many lovely people – just to prove you
can’t judge a book by its cover (or a town by its culture, or professed lack


I wrote my first poem in the 3rd grade, while sitting on a boulder in a stream in
the San Bernadino Mountains. Little did I know that, years later, as an empty-
nester, sitting alone in coffee cafes, the poems would once again pour forth.
In July 2020, I published my first poetry chapbook, A Kaleidoscope of Love,
available on Amazon (see Link below).  It is a collection of poems chronicling a
whirlwind midlife romance.

A Kaleidoscope of Love

Currently, I am completing my second chapbook, Coffee Café Customers: An Americana Collection. These poems describe the unique and varied individuals I have observed and interacted with at local coffee cafes. They paint a picture of America – often at her best.

I am a member of Writers of Kern (WOK) and organize their Critique Groups. This organization exists with the goal of helping to further people’s writing and publishing careers.  Their meetings are on the 3rd Saturday morning of the month at Hodel’s Restaurant.

WOK Critique Groups give aspiring writers a chance to have their work discussed and improved with the input of fellow writers. My Poetry Critique Group has been meeting faithfully for over six years. The members are not only my guides and sounding boards for poetry project – they have become some of my dearest friends.

Writers of Kern

I cohost First Friday Open Mics at Dagny’s Coffee Shop at 1600 Eye Street, Bakersfield. Sign-ups are at 5:50 p.m. and the event starts at 6:00 p.m. and lasts a little over an hour reading many of my poems. My co-host is the enthusiastic and ebullient Portia Choi. Portia and I also host Spectacular Saturday Zoom Open Mics, held on the 3 rd Saturday of the month at 6:00 p.m. We have an open, nurturing community of poets that support and encourage each other. Consider joining us!

I also write interviews of local talent for KernPoetry.com. Browsing this site gives an overview of excellent poetry and people creating in Kern County.



I started piano lessons when I was in the second grade and continue to this day!  Recently, I have studied with master teachers Dorothy Burgess and Natalia Rufino. They have not only helped me to improve my own performances but have given me excellent advice on becoming a successful piano instructor.

I currently teach a plethora of students the joys of piano playing – ages 6 to 60. Along with weekly 30-minute lessons, I offer once a month Music Enrichment Classes, where we study the lives and music of the masters as well as music theory and composition.

I am a member of the Kern Branch of MTAC (Music Teachers Association of California. Through this organization, I am able to have my students play in a wide variety of recitals throughout the year.

I will be joining other music instructors when I perform in the MTAC Teacher’s
Recital on Friday, January 12th, 2024, at First Presbyterian Church of
Bakersfield at 7:00 p.m.

To learn more about upcoming MTAC events, click here.

Kern Branch of MTAC

Interested in taking piano lessons? Visit my piano Facebook page and leave me a message!

Carla Martin – Piano Teacher

As a member of First Congregational Church of Bakersfield, I am chair of the Fred & Beverly Dukes Memorial Concert Series. These are musical events offered 5-6 times a year on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 p.m. in the church sanctuary. Families are welcome and the concerts are free. Donations are gratefully accepted and go to compensate the musicians and continue the series. We offer an eclectic array of music, featuring local talent. To learn about upcoming concerts, click here:

FCC Bakersfield          Dukes Facebook page


Something about dragging a pastel across a toothy page and leaving behind a streak of color just thrills me.  I explore still lifes and portraits with the paintings of Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Cezanne, Matisse, Gauguin, Degas and so many others swirling in my mind.

I also make mosaics, using found glass or pebbles from Moonstone Beach in Cambria, California.

I studied ceramics at DePauw and created wheel-thrown and hand-formed vessels. While taking art classes at Bakersfield College with Chalita Robinson, I used clay, plaster and bronze to form sculptures. Rodin and Picasso are my favorite muses.

I hope you enjoy browsing through my art gallery to see my creations.

Art Gallery