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February 21, 2022 49 mins
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Show NotesWelcome to episode no. 84 of the Nancy Duffy Show! On April 29th, 2021, Vanessa Shields debuted her latest book in the quiet of a film set with the help of her talented filmmaker partner, Nicholas Shields, and in the company of close family and friends. It was poignant and beautiful (I've included the video clip below).

Vanessa and I connected to record this episode shortly after. And then, quite serendipitously, we connected again. Just two months after this recording, I walked into the local cafe and heard my name. I looked over, and Vanessa was having tea with a friend, waving. Oh, to hear a familiar voice who knew me! It's been a while at that (with moving and all)—what a welcome sight.

These past two years have forced us all to experience work, friendship, love, and loss differently from before. For starters - funerals - which were never fun, to begin with, have been anything but typical. Visiting family in a hospital? Forget about it. Nothing is normal. But it doesn't mean that nothing good can come from terrible circumstances. Vanessa Shields wrote a book amongst the chaos of this sorry pandemic because someone she loved was leaving - and by the time the book was finished, she had already gone.

Thimbles, which made CBC Book's 2021 Spring Poetry List, is a poetic tribute to the life of Maria Giuditta Merlo Bison, Vanessa's grandmother, Nonna, Maria, who had been suffering from dementia. Maria was a seamstress from a small town in northern Italy who came to Canada to forge a new life that would profoundly affect so many. Listen in as Vanessa talks about this generational love story laced with life lessons, love, grief, and humour.
About Vanessa Shields
Vanessa Shields has made her home, her family and her work life flourish in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She has written several books of poetry including Laughing Through A Second Pregnancy – A Memoir, Whisky Sour City, I Am That Woman, and Look At Her.

Her latest collection of poetry, Thimble was published by Palimpsest Press in 2021.

Her poetry, short stories, and photography have been published in various literary magazines. She mentors, guest speaks, 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. Gertrude’s Writing Room offers creative writing classes and workshops.

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