Shirl McPhillips

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A classroom teacher for many years, Shirley has also worked as a literacy staff developer, conference speaker, institute leader and writing consultant. She is poet laureate for Choice Literacy and has been named to the Writers Council for the National Writing Project.

Shirley’s poems have found homes in journals such as The Edison Literary Review, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Sewanee Review, Frogpond and several online sites. Her poem, “Yesterday and Forever” is featured in a new anthology called Amore: Love Poems (2016) edited by Johnny M. Tucker, Jr.

Shirley co-authored, with prize-winning poet and memoirist Nick Flynn, A Note Slipped Under the Door: Teaching from Poems We Love (Stenhouse Publishers, ME, 2000).

Poem Central: Word Journeys with Readers and Writers, (Stenhouse Publishers, ME, 2014), her latest book for educators and poem lovers, shows professional poets, artists, people of different ages and walks of life, teachers and students, all engaged in reading and making poems.

Acrylic Angel of Fate, Shirley’s collection of new poems, made its debut in March, 2016 (Finishing Line Press, KY).

Most Recent Content
The Curious Incident of Poem in the Stream of Time

Shirl McPhillips shares a haunting poem and reflection on creativity, summer’s inspiration, and aging.

Things That Can Fly Away—A Tribute to Mary Oliver

Shirl McPhillips honors the poet Mary Oliver upon her passing, reflecting on the power of favorite poems and poets to endure in the lives of writers.

Past Midnight

Shirl McPhillips shares a poem she’s written about her grandmother Eva, and the fragments of memory that inspired it.

Message from the Moon

Shirl McPhillips crafts a message from the moon about tone in poetry and school in her latest poem and companion essay.

Eating Poetry

April is a month-long “thanksgiving” for those of us who love poetry. Shirl McPhillips shares her favorite resources for sharing that love with students.

Forest Bathing

Shirl McPhillips explains how "forest bathing" is a wonderful entry point for writing, especially in early spring.

News from the Interior

Shirl McPhillips shares a new poem, as well as some practical tips on moving from random observations to vivid details to poetry.

Life in a Single Breath

Shirl McPhillips says hello to autumn and explores the power of haiku.


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