Sheri-D Wilson

Sheri-D Wilson

Sheri-D Wilson has 8 collections of poetry; her most recent, Goddess Gone Fishing for a Map of the Universe. Her collection, Re:Zoom (2005, Frontenac House), won the 2006 Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry, and was shortlisted for the CanLit Award.

In 2011 she edited, The Spoken Word Workbook: inspiration from poets who teach (CSWS/BCP), an educational tool for teaching and writing Spoken Word. The cutting-edge website connected to this book presents a possible direction for electronic publishing in the future.

She has 2 Spoken Word CDs (arranged by Russell Broom), and 4 award-winning VideoPoems including: Airplane Paula(2001), Spinsters Hanging in Trees(2002),allproduced for BravoFACT.

Awards Include:
ffwd Readers’ Choice—Best Poet (2007-2011), CBC Arts Top Ten Poets in Canada (2009), Global TV's Woman of Vision Award (2006), SpoCan Award (2005), Bumbershoot Heavyweight Title for Poetry USA (2003), Gold Award at the Houston Film Festival (2003), Three ACE awards (2003), AMPIA (2003, for best short or vignette), CBC Face-off (2002).

Reading Highlights:
V125PC 2011 (Vancouver), National Slam-Legends of Spoken Word 2011 (Toronto),Vancouver International Writers Festival 2011, 2002, ‘00, ‘95, ‘93, ’90 (Vancouver), Maple Stirrup en El Arco de la virgin 2010 (Barcelona), Art 4 Change 2010 (Harlem), FiEstival maelstrÖm reEvolution 2010 (Brussels), Blue Met 2009 (Montreal), Voix d’Amériques2008,‘05(Montreal), Bumbershoot2003, ‘99, ‘92, ‘91, ‘89(Seattle), The World Poetry Bout2002 (Taos, New Mexico), Poetry Africa2001 (South Africa), WordFest 2008, 2000, ’95 (Calgary, Banff), Harbourfront Reading Series1993(Toronto), Small Press Festival1990 (NYC).

Other Highlights:
Women and Words 2003-2011 (instructor), First Time Eyes:  Unearthing Spoken Word 2007 essay (Canadian Theatre Review), Heart of a Poet 2006, featured poet documentary, Bowery Project 2005 (Instructor), Alberta Scene 2005 (a commemoration of Alberta’s centennial), Human Rights Symposium 2005 Victoria, Sounds Like Canada, 2002 CBC Poet in Residence, Addicted:  Notes From The Belly Of The Beast 2001 essay Blackout, Confessions a Jazz Play, 1991 text of play (Theatrum).  

Of the beat tradition, in 1989 Sheri-D studied at Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, in Boulder, Colorado. 

Since founding the Calgary Spoken Word Poetry Festival in 2003, Sheri-D has worked to present one of the most respected Spoken Word Festivals in Canada. Driven by the passion to connect people, voices and ideas she organized SWAN (Spoken Word Arts Network, 2007 & 2005), produced the 2008 National Slam of Canada, and since 2007 has been the Program Director of the Spoken Word Program at Banff Centre.

Sexy Madonna from Florence
for Raffaella D’Elia

Sexy Madonna from Florence
stands before me, in the after-hour
street lamp torch, on cobbles of curb
in that crazy Bard-o-space twixt theatre and life;
she stands opposite me, on stones of ancient lane
rife with Lorca in her veins-
and the gypsy flamenco clapping 
and plumes of palmas dust rising
and the zapateado heel snapping, and the deep song
shadow of Duende blood rapping—
ghosts around and between us, cante jondo;
like a dancing spirit – it
hangs over our heads
like the agony of an animal with three spears
in its side, it hangs over our heads
like a blindfolded poet with seven rifles aimed
at his heart; it hangs over our heads, like the single
word: Fire!    
Coup de grace, execution’s devolution,
assassination of desire       
the air is charged—with an omphalos hit!

What a powerful show! She says,
I can hear Lorcas cries, rise from the grave

Sexy Madonna from Florence
wears the hanged man
on a long chain of devastated pearls
shock-wave around her neck
like a High Arcana boa constrictor
I think:  Woman strangled by her own pet Tarot
card poisoned by a traitor’s elixir: asp, asp, asp

Sexy Madonna from Florence
stands restless in a spotlight  
of Belgian moon, full of early spring
as she waits all a jitter
for her lover to finish his smoke,
in his black trench coat, tête-à-tête baroque
loquacious, no end to his talkfest in sight;
she shivers, with a shutter              shifts from foot to another
swathed in a light blue cashmere shawl
I think: She’s a chrysalis stonewalled

Her lover continues his smoke as she smoulders’ frail;
so I lift her stole from her shoulders to her head
as a hood, or a veil; and that’s when I espy,
the perfect tail of her black liquid liner, how she draws down the moon
with her eyes; I am close enough to see inside
she’s more than Cleopatra’s disguise
she might even be Isis; eyes so deep they make me afraid to fall into them;
I freeze; for her eyes would need an expedition, they are
Marianas Trench, challenger deep
36,000 feet, they mesmerize
so suggestive, they are a swinging pocket watch,
they induce hypnotic sleep; entranced
I submerse myself slow, rip current undertow,
sense of time-space slips away
am I an astronomer, I don’t know?

in mind’s eye—I am Leonardo da Vinci’s last
brush-stroke of her eyes,
and she is the grand-great-grand-great granddaughter
of Mona Lisa, her eyes her demise
for they will drive men mad with longing
and mystery, they are the impossible placebo;
I dream of being the surrealist in Paris
who plots to steal her eyes from the walls of the Louvre
so I can look into, Santo Spirito forever,
for she is a Mesopotamian magnum opus heiress
older than the stones on which she stands,
her eyes a direct line to the original amulet
essence of earth, pyramid of seashell and sands
she whispers:   I will tell you my secrets…
I fall further               scrying                       can’t help myself
she says:        …and my dreams        dotdotdot

Now maybe it was the shock of the Lorca show
that shifted her shadow so, I don’t know
but as she speaks of her dreams
in Italian whisper-low,
it’s like her breath lifts from Cave of the Crow
like she goes to Point Nemo, divines herself
and returns, with a crazy Nostradamus after-glow;
like she went forward in time to realise who she is,
like she looked into the eyes of unknown,
and her hanged man swings across her belly
there on the cobble stone,
in the chill of eve’s air; as the caterpillars
look down on us from freezing branches
their beings transform, as if warmed
by this Madonna’s inner sun
who breaks through, spiral spun—

she gives birth to herself
before me in the nocturne
her head a halo as she lowers her eyes
and sees into her own vision,
her own apparition, in which she flies
and I could be in a play; and then
her lover advances, breaks the spell,
puts his arm around her
It’s time to go, are you cold?
she replies: I am warm now

And I return to my teacher who said: 
You have entered the realm of gold
and now I know what she meant;
I would crush a priceless pearl
and drink it, to stay
in this moment
for time,        



Birds © 2012 Calgary Spoken Word Society