Bio – Formal
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 (Black Moss Press), her first book of poetry, was published in January 2014, and had its third printing in 2015. Look At Her (Black Moss Press) launched in September 2016, and went into its second printing in December 2016. In 2017, Shields was part of a Group of Seven poets published in an anthology about the history of Windsor, entitled Because We Have All Lived Here (Black Moss Press). In June 2018, the chapbook Feminism: Revisit, Revise, Revolutionize: A Two-part Harmony was published by the League of Canadian Poets’ Feminist Caucus with Shields as co-editor/introduction writer. She has self-published a collection of children’s poetry entitled From A to Ziffery Zanks with Windsor illustrator Glen Hawkes. This collection launched in the fall of 2019. Through her small business, Gertrude’s Writing Room, Shields’ has published three anthologies of poetry/prose: Words Gathered Volume 1; Love: Words Gathered, Volume II, and Community – A Special Poetry Edition of Words Gathered, Volume III. She wrote a monthly blog for the League of Canadian Poets on being a writing parent, and is an avid member of the Feminist Caucus. As the creator and host of Mouth Piece Storytelling, a storytelling competition she ran for three years, Shields was able to share her love of storytelling with her community. She is passionate about promoting poetry and the writing life, and is often on a jury (or two!) for major awards and/or contests. In April 2021, her latest collection of poetry entitled ‘Thimbles‘ was published by Palimpsest Press.
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.
Shields is the owner of Gertrude’s Writing Room – A Gathering Place for Writers, that opened for business in July 2018. Gertrude’s Writing Room offers creative writing classes and workshops. Visit www.gertrudeswritingroom.com for all the exciting offerings. Shields continues to offer her expertise as a creativity guide, editor and mentor.
Vanessa on Television!
Here I am on Scribes & Songsters – a local show highlighting writers and musicians.
Vanessa on Bethany Reid’s Blog for a really special interview where you can learn loads about me!
Vanessa on video talking about her creative process.
Short Bio – Fun
Hi! I’m a mother, writer, lover, teacher, small business owner…and so much more! I love to write poetry, and that’s what’s been published the most, but I also blog, and write longer things like plays, novels, screenplays, and even a song or two. The truth is if I’m not writing and working on something creative, then I’m grumpy and sad and feel not quite human. Being busy is an addiction I’m working on, but it keeps me in classrooms, on stages and in my community passionately living the life of a feminist woman, proud mother, poet and writer. I haven’t won any fancy awards (yet) and although that sometimes makes me cry, mostly it doesn’t mean much. I write because I have to – it makes me feel wildly alive. And, at the heart of all I write is love.
Short Bio – Poem
A bio this really great poet wrote about me
Vanessa Shields, Windsor writer of e-mails, blogs, journals, hand-written letters, stories & poems. I first met Vanessa some years ago at le salon de Marty Gervais, better-known as Marty’s Saloon. I was immediately impressed by her bubbly & vivacious personality, her wickedly pungent sense of humour, & her distinctive & sometimes startlingly idiosyncratic poetic voice.
To gently lift the veil on Vanessa: she personifies our unofficial class motto “Scribo Ergo Sum” in that she writes & reads every day, so she may be both hypergraphic & hyperlexic. She also loves films, & her “day job” is a producer at her husband’s film company, Suede Productions. She’s a feminist & humanist & strongly believes that our ability to give & receive love is at the core of everything we do. She loves snuggling with her golden retrievers Oscar & Pages, & does ballet, but not at the same time. Being a mother, & a partner to her true love gives her the strength to be courageous as a writer. Ideas for poems & stories fall on her head like Isaac Newton’s apples. Note how the word “love” seems to permeate Vanessa’s life.
She admits to getting emotional at readings depending on the subject matter, but is gracious enough to bring her own tissues.