Shar­ing the power of words

Shoshanna Win­gate ap­pointed Sackville’s new Poet Lau­re­ate FOGAN, Jessi An­gela Denise (née Smith) 1976-2018



Chil­dren at the lo­cal el­e­men­tary school know her as the “poetry lady.” And that ti­tle sits just fine with Shoshanna Win­gate.

Win­gate knows full well how the power of words can have a huge im­pact on a young per­son’s life – and she hopes to be able to con­tinue to bring even just a bit of that pas­sion for poetry to Sackville youth.

She says kids are more open to be­ing cre­ative with words dur­ing their child­hood years and it’s an op­por­tune time to in­tro­duce them to poetry.

“I think kids love the play­ful­ness of lan­guage,” she says. “They’re open to the silliness and the sounds. A lot of what poetry does is take an idea and look at it from dif­fer­ent an­gles. And that’s kind of the way chil­dren look at the world.”

Win­gate has been an in­te­gral part of the town’s poetry month events over the past cou­ple of years, bring­ing her poetry and teach­ings to ev­ery sin­gle class at Salem El­e­men­tary School as part of youth ac­tiv­i­ties. She has also hosted sev­eral writ­ing work­shops and served as judge for the town’s writ­ing con­tests.

Win­gate hopes to con­tinue to serve in that men­tor­ship role as she takes on the post of Sackville’s poet lau­re­ate, an hon­our ap­pointed to her by the town ef­fec­tive Jan. 1.

Win­gate will be Sackville’s third poet lau­re­ate, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Mar­i­lyn Lerch, who re­cently stepped down af­ter a four-year stint, and the late Douglas Loc­head.

Win­gate fell in love with poetry in Grade 5 when she was tasked Shoshanna Win­gate, a lo­cal poet and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Writ­ers Fed­er­a­tion of New Brunswick, has been ap­pointed Sackville’s new­est poet lau­re­ate for a two-year term, be­gin­ning Jan. 1, 2019.

with an as­sign­ment to mem­o­rize a text and re­cite it in front of the class. At the ad­vice of her fa­ther and his poetry group, she se­lected a poem by Edgar Allen Poe and says she soon dis­cov­ered how free­ing it was to de­liver such pow­er­ful words.

“There was just some­thing ex­cit­ing about it . . . it was re­ally over­whelm­ing,” she says. “I think the power of the words re­ally

struck me.”

The award- win­ning au­thor, poet, writer and edi­tor says she’s been read­ing and writ­ing poetry ever since.

Win­gate says her dad was very in­flu­en­tial in help­ing bring poetry into her life so she knows how im­por­tant it is to have that en­cour­age­ment and that guid­ance along the way, to help de­velop your own style and in­ter­est.

Win­gate at­tended Burling­ton Col­lege in Ver­mont, a Lib­eral arts school where she ob­tained a de­gree with a ma­jor in writ­ing and mi­nor in Holo­caust stud­ies. Her last two years of her pro­gram she lived and cor­re­sponded from Ber­lin. She later ob­tained a masters in poetry from The New School in New York.

She has made her home in At­lantic Canada since 2004, first in St. John’s, N.L., and then re­lo­cat­ing to Sackville, N.B. about four years ago. While liv­ing in St. John’s, she was a found­ing edi­tor of Rid­dle Fence, an arts and cul­ture jour­nal.

Win­gate’s poetry chap­book, Hom­ing In­stinct, was pub­lished by Frog Hol­low Press in 2012. Her full-length poetry col­lec­tion, Ra­dio Weather, was pub­lished by Ve­hicule Press in 2014. She has also had a num­ber of in­di­vid­ual poems pub­lished through­out the years and is cur­rently work­ing on a mem­oir.

Win­gate, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Writ­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion of New Brunswick, teaches cre­ative writ­ing work­shops for both adults and youth, and runs the Sackville Art Hive, a free com­mu­nity art stu­dio.

Her goal, she says, is to help peo­ple un­der­stand the value of poetry and why it should be ap­pre­ci­ated.

Dur­ing coun­cil’s monthly meet­ing in De­cem­ber, at which the poet lau­re­ate ap­point­ment was made, Coun. An­drew Black voiced his plea­sure over the town’s se­lec­tion for the post.

“I’m su­per happy with this de­ci­sion,” said Black. “I’ve known Shoshanna for quite some time since she’s been in town and her ac­tive in­volve­ment in the com­mu­nity of what you’ve listed goes way be­yond that as well. I think that she’s just go­ing to be a per­fect fit for this.”

Jessi An­gela Denise Fogan (née Smith), age 42, left us too soon on Wed­nes­day, De­cem­ber 27, 2018, at Cum­ber­land Re­gional Health Care Cen­ter in Amherst, N.S. Her fi­nal hours were spent sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends.

She will be missed greatly by her hus­band, Robert, sons Con­nor and Ri­ley, ca­nine com­pan­ion Abby, mother Diane, sis­ter Sarah (An­drew), fa­ther Ray­mond (Ju­dith), brother Ne­vada, sis­ter Carolyn (Le­nard), grand­mother Ruth and friends all over the world.

Born and raised in Van­cou­ver, B.C., Jessi met, fell in love with, and mar­ried Robert in 1996, while achiev­ing her English de­gree at Si­mon Fraser Uni­ver­sity, grad­u­at­ing in 1998. With the birth of Con­nor in Jan­uary 1999 and Ri­ley in April 2000, she be­came a de­voted mother and later went on to be a tire­less ad­vo­cate for autism aware­ness.

Jessi was known for her wicked sense of hu­mour and for be­ing a tal­ented multi-me­dia artist and will be re­mem­bered for her beau­ti­ful cre­ations, but her chil­dren were her true pas­sion.

Fam­ily, friends, and oth­ers whose lives were touched by Jessi were in­vited to rem­i­nisce and cel­e­brate her life on Wed­nes­day, Jan­uary 2, 2019 at 2 p.m. at the Fur­long-jones Funeral Home, 70 Church Street Amherst, N.S. (902-667-8777). Ca­sual dress is re­quested.

In lieu of flow­ers, do­na­tions to the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion are ap­pre­ci­ated.

Shar­ing of mem­o­ries and con­do­lences may be sent to the fam­ily by vis­it­ing Jessi’s on­line me­mo­rial at www.fur­ or through the Fur­long~jones Funeral Home Face­book Page.


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