Welcome Shirley Rickett, another contributing author to Writers of the Rio Grande.
Shirley Ann Wilson-Rickett was born in 1934 in Oneida, Tennessee and reared in Kansas City, Missouri. She has been a professional dancer, mother of five, an x-ray technician, and teacher. She wrote her first poem at five. At nine she heard Victor Jory perform “The Highwayman” on a radio series and has been fascinated with words and rhythms ever since. At sixteen one of her poems won nomination for her high school literary society for competition and an honorable mention award.
She received her BA at William Jewell College and her poem, “Her Dress” won a contest and publication in the 1977 yearbook. She received an MA, Education, from the University of Missouri (UMKC) 1980, and an MA, English, Creative Writing from UMKC in 2000.
Awards include a fellowship from Colgate University and a Graduate Assistance Funding award (GAF) from the Women’s Council for Graduate Studies, UMKC, and several honorable mentions and publication for poems in major competitions. The 2000 GAF award made travel possible to Norway, Denmark, and Germany for interviews with the adult children of Nazis, which resulted in her chapbook, Dinner in Oslo. Her story, “Infinity,” won honorable mention and publication in the David Ross Memorial Competition for short, short story. Rickett won First Prize in the 2011 McAllen Green Living contest, an exercise in ekphrasis, poems written for photos.
Poems have appeared in New Letters, Nimrod, Antietam Review, The Kansas City Star, Smartish Pace, and numerous others. Her poems have been anthologized in From A to Z: 200 Contemporary American Poets, editor, David Ray, Voices from the Interior”: Poets of Missouri, editor, Robert Stewart, Poetry at Roundtop, Gems from the Past: Missouri State Poetry Society, and others. She has edited and published a chapbook, A Minute of Arc: Four Poets from the Weatherby Lake Writers Guild, (Dam Poets Press,1996,) and her chapbook, Dinner in Oslo (Ardvaark Global Publishing), was published in 2008. Her new chapbook, Love: Poems for Vintage Song Titles (Finishing Line Press), came out in 2012. At this writing, she has booked a reading and book-signing with Barnes & Noble for Love, Saturday, February, 2, 2013.
Some critical comments on Dinner in Oslo:
“The poems … are as moving as any I have read about the Holocaust … She does not, like many poets today, step aside from the duty to witness, speak truth in artful music …”
–David Ray, author of One Hundred Years: Poems About the Holocaust and author of fifteen books of poems and translations.
“Her work is harrowing, disquieting, exquisite.” John Mark Eberhart, (former Books Editor of The Kansas City Star,) author of Broken Time.
“Do children bear / their parents guilt? Shirley Rickett asks in poems that are vivid, compassionate and resolved. To confront what Hannah Arendt called the banality of evil, Rickett takes us from Texas to Oslo, Dachau to Kansas City, shining a light that “spares nothing, / no one.”
–Michelle Boisseau, professor for the Creative Writing program, UMKC and author of Trembling Air, and A Month of God Sundays
What critics are saying about Love: Poems for Vintage Song Titles:
“Shirley Rickett has lifted these songs from the air and made them her own in poems as blissful as that first kiss.”
Deb Kroman, author of My Brother in Common Time
“… Rickett brings life to old loves and remembers songs that played in the background of our relationships.”
–Judith Bader Jones, author of The Language of Small Rooms
Rickett’s current projects include a collection of 30 poems, Repairs While You Wait,
and a memoir/genealogy work of prose and poems. She and husband Charles retired to the Rio Grande Valley where Rickett writes, and occasionally works with the Pharr Literacy Project, in Pharr, Texas. She is available for public speaking, workshops on revision, editing, generating writing, and public readings of her work.