NEW GLASGOW –When she was 17-years-old, Shirley Wren stood on a mountain in Quebec during a snowstorm and later described the experience in a poem.
“I was in a place called Montebello in Quebec and my father had just come back from the war. We were all up there on the mountain there, and it was a storm. I’m telling you, Quebec has the best storms,” she recalls. “So, I went out and it was wild. It was such an adventure.”
Now, 64 years later, the Glen Haven Manor resident has received a national award for that same poem. Last year, she decided to submit the poem she wrote all those years ago to a writing contest, The Poetry Institute of Canada’s 2012 Poetry contest.
Wren recently found out that she was a fourth place prizewinner out of thousands across the country of all ages who entered in the contest. She received a medal engraved with the title of the award and her name along with a copy of the Institute’s 2012 anthology of poems, titled “Island Wonders,” which includes Wren’s award-winning poem “Storm’s on the Mountain” on page 104.
Wren said she has only recently started writing poetry again, having given it up when she started working in her early twenties at a publishing company.
“One of the girls that works (at Glen Haven Manor) in entertainment had decided to get a group of the patients together. She got them together to tell a story and one by one they’d add to it,” she said. “I didn’t feel like it. So, I wrote a poem.”
The employee later gave Wren an entry form for the Poetry Institute of Canada’s 2012 Poetry Contest, which was when she decided to submit her 64-year-old poem about the storm.
“I never entered it into anything in my life,” she said. “It was put in a school magazine, but that doesn’t count. But I did and I was quite surprised.”
Wren said she’s been writing more and more lately, finding herself having more time to do so. She has a table set up in her room where she writes her poetry.
“I’ll probably be writing many more poems now. I haven’t been doing writing for many, many years, since I was 18, that was just about the last time I had any time to write,” she said, adding that she was busy working for MacLean-Hunter Publishing, MacLean’s Magazine and Chatelaine Magazine and then became a busy mother which put her writing on hold.
Wren also submitted a short story to the Poetry Institute of Canada’s 2012 Short Story Awards. That short story didn’t receive an award but it was chosen to be published in the Institute’s 2012 Anthology of short stories titled “Fireside Dreams.”