Shields has made her home, her family and her work life flourish in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Her passion for writing was discovered at a very young age through the vein of writing in a journal. Her first book, Laughing Through A Second Pregnancy – A Memoir, was published by Black Moss Press in 2011 to rave reviews. In April 2013, Shields edited a poetry anthology entitled, Whisky Sour City (Black Moss Press). I Am That Woman, her first book of poetry, was published in January 2014, also by Black Moss Press. A forthcoming book of poetry, Look At Her, be published by Black Moss Press in September 2016. Shields is the Poetry Editor for the Windsor Review, and she writes a monthly blog for the League of Canadian Poets on being a writing parent. She is passionate about promoting poetry and the writing life, and is often on a jury (or two!) for major awards and/or contests.
Her poetry, short stories and photography have been published in various literary magazines. She mentors, guest speaks and teaches creative writing, and does Poetry On Demand, on-the-spot poetry-writing that helps make poetry fun and accessible for all. As creator and host of Mouth Piece Storytelling, a storytelling competition, Shields is able to share her love of storytelling with her community.
Craft: Writer, Editor, Poet
In her follow up to I Am That Woman, Shields’ new collection of poetry is rooted in questions, answers and reflections about womanhood that pulsate through her lived experience as mother, poet, wife, daughter and friend. Whether Shields is reaching into her past ? the history, the women, the houses; or holding the present in her hands and building her courage ? choosing to love her body and celebrate her femininity; or daring to bring light to hidden realities few poets write about ? her poetry is as always as strong as her love. Shields’ raw honesty, sensual wit, open heart and wise soul speak the unspoken for every woman who is striving to root herself in the safety of her own self—knowledge and growing inner—strength. Look At Her is a praise—song to the power of universal connectedness through the high hills and dark valleys of living out loud, finding and cultivating your voice, and celebrating what it means to be her.
Vanessa Shields turns the themes of femininity and motherhood upside down in this, her first book of poetry. She holds nothing back in telling the raw truth of being a woman in the 21st century. But amid the biting wit and brutal honesty, there is also that sweet reflection of the poet who breathes life into words that tell the story of someone brave enough to be that woman. Shields in I Am That Woman dares to challenge the modern story of a wife, a mother, a lover and a friend.
Created by Vanessa Shields (me), Poetry On Demand is live poetry making for the masses. It combines word associations from YOU and the creative mind of the POET on demand (Vanessa Shields or any other poet who’s working with her). In less than ten minutes you get YOUR VERY OWN POEM made especially with and for YOU. The poem is made with your help as you will choose three words from a basket, make associations to these words, then leave the rest in the capable, inspired hands of the poet. You will receive the hand-written, signed and dated poem to keep forever and ever. This is a revolution in the world of poetry – brought to you in a fun, accessible, creative way.
League of Canadian Poets
Writers’ Union of Canada
The Ontario Poetry Society
Literary Arts Windsor