Sunday, November 11, 2012

Interview with Sheryl Nelms, Contributor to On Our Own: Widowhood for Smarties

This is an interview with Sheryl Nelms, contributor to On Our Own:  Widowhood for Smarties.  I was surprised to learn that Sheryl is not a widow herself.  Her two poems are about women around her who have been widowed.  Her poems are "Hell, I Forgot Red" (my personal favorite) and "Grandpa's Shoes."

SN:  In "Hell, I Forgot Red" the lady speaking was a good friend of my aunt.  Her husband had died and had been cremated.  "Grandpa's Shoes" happened after Grandpa died and we were disposing of his belongings.

TZ:  If you had to give a 6-word description of widowhood, what would it be?

SN:  Widowhood is sad, stressful and lonesome.

TZ:  Have you always written poetry?  Tell about your writing background.

SN:  No, only since 1977 when I was 33 and took a creative writing class at South Dakoa State University.  I had a wonderful teacher, David Alen Evans, who is now the Poet Laureate of South Dakota who gave me an address to send that first poem to (He said that they might want to publish my poem).  I sent Hyperion my poem and they did publish it.  I was hooked.  Since then I have had over 5,000 poems, articles and stories published, along with 14 individual collections of my poetry.  I've been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice and have won over 120 different prizes for my writing.  My work has been in magazines, newspapers, anthologies, textbooks, on state studnet assessment tests and on an outhouse display in Yosemite National Park.

TZ:  Impressive.  And was that a typo or did it really say your work was on an outhouse display?  Are you working on something now?

SN:  I am currently working on my memoir, children's stories and poetry.

TZ:  Any advice for writers/  For widows?

SN:  Hang in there and don't give up.



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