I Am That Woman · Look At Her · My Book · Poetry · Press · Publishing · Readings · Reviews · Writing Life

Reviews – Oh How They Matter!

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I’ve mentioned this on many occasions, and I shall continue to do so! It is so important that we share our support through clicking on those stars and/or writing a few words in review about each other’s books on platforms such as Amazon, Indigo, and Goodreads. If you can purchase a book online, then you can probably write a review or offer a rating about it as well! Folks have been generous with their reviews on Goodreads – click here to see! – and this makes mama smile and blush!

I am  happy to answer questions or engage in conversation with you via email or blogging. This is another way we can support each other. This is what Sarnia poet Deb Hill on her blog! Click here to read her blog, review and our interview!

Recently, I received an email review from Peterborough poet Nan Williamson!

Look At Her

Vanessa Shields

Black Moss Press, 2016, 106pp

ISBN 9780887535659

Reading Vanessa Shields new collection of poems, Look At Her, I came to know a young woman who is “out there”, asking us to question our thoughts and feelings about all things female and commanding us to “rise up” and speak our truth.

The Black Moss Press jacket blurb expands on the above sentence so eloquently that I will simply quote it here:

“…Shields’ collection is rooted in question, answers and reflections about womanhood that pulsate through her lived experience as a mother, poet, wife, daughter and friend. Her 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 [about]…finding and cultivating your voice and celebrating what it means to be ‘her’.”

I am a poet too, and I would like to focus on several poems that stand out for me as expressions of the varieties of style found in this collection.

“Canoe” is a lovely lyrical poem wherein the poet writes of her Metis heritage:

I can feel it in my deep like a canoe

When it first slides into a perfect black lake

I was born to portage

I am in need of remembering

Then there is the delightful prose poem, “Kitchen Dancing” which caught me up in its stream-of-consciousness flow, full of vivid sensuous details and loving memories:

…the best… is when Nonno steps onto the linoleum dance floor without words my Nonna brings her body and attention from the dishes to my grandfather’s arms and she fits better than his best shirt the music is hot and spicy but the moves are serene and buttery I know this is one of the few ways he tells her he loves her to brave his person into the woman’s territory take his love in his arms and sweep her off her feet he’d never use a broom in that kitchen not when he could be sweeping her sweeping us into his quiet devotion

Or how about, “Look At Her”, a clever construction of repetition with delightful variations and wordplay?

I look at her eyes disguise lies her soul floors with dirt she skirts

“Apothecary”, a poem near the end of the collection, completes the cycle, bringing the reader back to the opening poem in which the poet commands us not “to be still…to hold the quiet”:

For the feast that is

Untraceable poison

Is the feast of the

Quiet woman

Dragging her opinions

Behind her

Bravo, Vanessa Shields, keep on looking and writing!

-Nan Williamson is an artist, teacher and author whose most recent work is the chapbook, leave the door open for the moon, Jackson Creek Press, 2015.

I can easily share your reviews or thoughts on all social media.

How does this help? Well, it makes me (the writer!) feel some sorta wonderful! It helps me keep moving when the writing gets tough…and when it feels like no one is reading or caring about ‘the words!’. It also helps when others are searching for writing like mine: feminist, powerful, comedic, gutsy – these are your words, friends! Goodreads and Amazon pay attention to how many people are reading, buying and what they have to say. This is all helps with books sales and attention, that I otherwise have to get out there and make happen on my own. Which I’m doing…but again, that leads folks to the sweet old Google search, where, in full circle, they can find me via your rates and reviews. So there you have it!

Thank you everyone who has read Look At Her, and taken the time to give me a rating or a review. And, I appreciate it all. Honesty is at the root of all my writing. Don’t love it? Tell me why! It all counts!

Thanks again!





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