Sharing the power of words
Shoshanna Wingate appointed Sackville’s new Poet Laureate FOGAN, Jessi Angela Denise (née Smith) 1976-2018
SACKVILLE TRIBUNE- POST
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
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.furlongjones.ca or through the Furlong~jones Funeral Home Facebook Page.