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Vanessa Shields

Photo: Vanessa Shields 2021

Hello! Vanessa, here. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find my profile informative. Be sure to send me a message if you have any questions or if you're interested in working together!

I teach full or half-day writing workshops in the elementary and secondary school system as well as guest lectures in post-secondary institutions. I will travel for workshops and events. 

I am the owner of Gertrude's Writing Room - A Gathering Place for Writers, Windsor's only creative writing school. I offer writing workshops and classes as well as editing and mentoring. Workshops include but are not limited to: poetry, fiction, comic book writing, spiritual writing. Classes include but are not limited to: poetry, fiction, memoir, ekphrasis and prompt-work. 

I'm a writer, through-and-through. Have been since I was a child scribbling poetry and happenings in my first journal. I have three books published by Black Moss Press. The first, a memoir entitled 'Laughing Through A Second Pregnancy - A Memoir' was published in April 2011. In April 2013, I edited Black Moss Press' 'Whisky Sour City' - an anthology of poetry about the city of Windsor. In January 2014, 'I Am That Woman', my first book of poetry, was published, again by Black Moss Press. It has since gone into a third printing it is selling so well! September 2016 marked the launch of my second collection of poetry, entitled 'Look At Her'. It has gone into a third printing. 

In April 2021, my new collection of poetry, 'Thimbles' was published by Palimpsest Press. It was listed as one of CBC Books' Spring Poetry books to read. 

I have self-published four volumes of Poetry On Demand, based on live, interactive poetry-writing I do at festivals, events and in classrooms. A collection of children's clerihew poetry entitled 'From A to Ziffery Zanks' was self-published in 2019. Gertrude's Writing Room published at least one anthology a year. In 2020, we published our first collection entitled 'Words Gathered'. Our second anthology, 'Love - Words Gathered' was published in 2021. Our third collection, dedicated to poetry on the theme of community, will publish in late 2021. 

I created and hosted a storytelling competition series called Mouth Piece Storytelling. I partner with local businesses/non-profits for special events and fundraising.

My personal blog is jam packed with information about me, my books, and all things writing in my life. In 2021, I am writing a poem a day. 

My words and photography have been published by The Windsor Review, Polar Expressions, The Windsor Star, VerseAFire, and Write Magazine. I have been a jury member for the Ontario Arts Council Works-in-Progress Grant and the festivals and readings grant, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Gerald Lampert Award for the League of Canadian Poetry as well as a jury member for Windsor Endowment for the Arts, BookFest Windsor, Literary Arts Windsor and Arts, Culture & Heritage Fund. I have also been a jury member for the Altantic Books Awards and the Saskatchewan Book Awards. I do peer reviews for the writers union. 

I am ready and willing to guest speak in your classroom, at your conference or at your event. Please contact me for further information on lecture themes, Poetry On Demand or other creative writing opportunities. 


I am a mother, freelance writer, and a film & television producer for Suede Productions.

I look forward to sharing creative writing with you! 

Phone number:
c/o Writers' Union of Canada


Laughing Through A Second Pregnancy. Black Moss Press, 2011
Poetry On Demand Volume I. Self, 2012
Poetry On Demand Volume 2. Self, 2013
Whisky Sour City. Black Moss Press, 2013
I Am That Woman. Black Moss Press, 2014
Poetry On Demand Volume 3. Self , 2013
Poetry on Demand - Tall Ships Edition. Self, 2013
Look At Her. Black Moss Press, 2016
From A to Ziffery Zanks. Self (A Beautiful Place Publications), 2019
Words Gathered Volume 1. A Beautiful Place Publishing, 2020
Love - Words Gathered Volume II. A Beautiful Place Publishing, 2021
Thimbles. Palimpsest Press, 2021


Windsor Endowment for the Arts - Emerging Artist Grant for Grant, 2010
Ontario Arts Council Writer's Reserve/Recommenders' for Grant, 2009-2018
Judge's Choice - The Arborealis Poetry Prize for The Ontario Poetry Society, 2014
Third Place - Poetry Award for Polar Expressions , 2018
The Odyssey Award for University of Windsor (School Award), 2014
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :


Presentation Description

Thank you for researching the WITS Program! It's a wonderful program that brings writers like myself into the classroom. 

I have done presentations on the following subjects (some have been catered to curriculum):

- How to Write & Perform Poetry

- The Writing Life - Discipline & The Writer's Voice

- The Writing Process

- The Creative Process

- Literacy - Alive & Well

- Idea Generation & Decision Making in Creative Writing

- Editing & Revision - The Importance & The Power

I can create any length presentation on themes related to writing, process, poetry, fiction, memoir, process and more. 


Presentation Length:
Half-day Or Full-day
Focus onPoetry - also Writing Life/Editing&Revising/Young Adult/Memoir
JK - 12
Audience size:
Any (workshops can be catered to small or large groups)
Workshop Description:


If there is something you're working on in class, I can easily create a workshop that supports your teachable. 

WORKSHOPS I'VE DONE - but I can do more! 

GRADE JK-1: SUESS & MUNSCH A WILD BUNCH!  - Reading of Dr. Suess and Robert Munsch books. Includes interactive reading whereby students participate in sound-making and imagination-building exercises.

GRADE 2/3: THE DAY THE CRAYONS CAME HOME - Reading 'The Day The Crayons Came Home' by Oliver Jeffers. Followed by a Q&A, and a short lesson on writing a letter. Includes a fresh new crayon for each student as well as a postcard. 

GRADE 4-6: POETRY ON DEMAND & WRITING WITH ART - I teach students my Poetry On Demand method of writing poetry using word blocks/word basket. Talk about writing poetry using the five senses and imagination. Talk about how poetry is all around us in music and advertising. I bring in posters of art work and offer writing exercises using the poster's images as our writing landscape. 

GRADE 7/8: THE WRITING LIFE & WRITING FOR YA AUDIENCE - I talk about my writing life; my process, when and why I write. What a writing life is like. I talk about what it's like to write poetry, be published, to self-publish, and how to find an agent. Includes reading excerpts from my YA novel, and talking about the process of idea generation, writing every day, reading every day. 


POERY IS POWER - Writing poetry as social justice.

POETRY IN VOICE - Performance Workshops - I bring my mic, amp and help students prepare their Poetry In Voice poems. 

IDEA CREATION - Using various prompts - candy, word cards, images, etc. 

I can create a workshop that caters to your needs!

Northern OAC WITS:
One session:
Two sessions:
Three sessions:
Four sessions:
One session:
Two sessions:
Three sessions:
Four sessions:
GST not applicable