Nichole L. Shields

Nichole L. Shields photo

Nichole L. Shields (1969-2009), was a poet and essayist.

Shields was also an organizer and social networker who created a community of local writers. She also published poetry and essays in a number of literary magazines, including The Iowa Review and Mosaic.

Audrey Tolliver said: "She felt it was important to tell her story as a black woman, the tapestry of our lives, speaking in authentic voices". Shields' One Less Road To Travel: A Collection of Poetry and is a two-time Gwendolyn Brooks poetry winner.

Shields was the creator of the Chicago Writers Collective, and in 2003, inspired by the famous photo of jazz greats "A Great Day in Harlem," she organized a photograph of about 100 African-American writers from Chicago that was titled, "I, Griot: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants."

Shields was raised by a single mother in the Rockwell Gardens public housing complex. She read constantly from a young age and, after graduating from Crane High School, received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Columbia College in Chicago.

Momma in Red

They said that the only reason
my momma wore a red
dress to her daddy’s funeral
was because she hated him
and was just being sassy

I know she wore it
because it was
the only one she had!

Nichole L. Shields died on April 10, 2009, she was 40 years-old.


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