Angeline Schellenberg’s collection about raising children on the autism spectrum, Tell Them It Was Mozart (Brick Books, 2016), won three Manitoba Book Awards and was a finalist for a ReLit Award for Poetry. Her work was shortlisted for Arc Poetry Magazine’s 2015 and 2019 Poem of the Year. Adding to her debut Roads of Stone (The Alfred Gustav Press, 2015), she launched three chapbooks in 2019: Dented Tubas (Kalamalka Press), Blue Moon, Red Herring (JackPine Press), and Irises (Dancing Girl Press). Most of Angeline’s poems are confessional, often in the form of prose poetry or free verse, sometimes using found material in creative ways. The two-time Deep Bay artist-in-residence (Riding Mountain National Park) has been influenced by Méira Cook, Don McKay, Joanne Epp, and Jennifer Still. Angeline’s book of elegies for her grandparents, Fields of Light and Stone, launched with University of Alberta Press in March 2020.
I did enjoy poetry in high school. I remember loving "High Flight." I spent summer Sunday afternoons above the prairie in my dad's Cessna, so I knew what John Gillespie Magee Jr. meant by "high in the sunlit silence."
In Grade 7 or 8, I had a Sunday school teacher who encouraged me to write poetry. I wrote her an illustrated booklet of rhyming spiritual poems, the letters outlined in alternating blue and red pencil crayon. In my 20s and most of my 30s, I was too caught up with earning degrees, raising children, and getting over my fear of failure to write. In spring 2011, something clicked and I found my creativity again. I applied to the Manitoba Writers Guild Sheldon Oberman Mentorship Program and was paired with Méira Cook in 2012. She got me submitting to journals and applying for my first project grant. I think I first thought of myself as a poet when, at the Sage Hill Poetry Colloquium in 2013, I told Don McKay I was afraid of writing narrative poetry because it might come out sounding too prosy, and he responded with something like, "Don't worry about that. You're a real poet: you can't help but be poetic!"
A poet's job is to help us fall in love: with the natural world, with the sound of language, with our everyday life. To remind us how to breathe.
I’d choose "Famous" by Naomi Shihab Nye, so I could summon anywhere its gentle updraft of hope for human connection.