• “Poetry is the dimension between imagination and reality”

    - Joan Shillington

Joan’s poems, interviews and reviews have been published in various literary magazines across Canada and in a number of anthologies, the most recent: “TapPressRead”(Loft on Eighth 2020), “YYCPOP: Poetic Portraits of People” (Frontenac House 2020) and “Mothering Anthology” (Inanna Publichations 2022).

Watch for her upcoming poem in FreeFall Magazine, Fall 2020.


Coming this fall, a new book of poetry:

Let This Lake Remember

 "Memory is where you fall in love with the folds / of your childhood" writes Joan Shillington in this moving and pitch-perfect exploration of the past. And indeed this book is an immersive love poem.  It dunks the reader into the deep, dark waters of Lake Wabamun, and evokes the illicit bite of moonshine and the haunting voices of those long dead. These grace filled poems bestow grief and hardship with startling beauty, and make the reader grateful for every word, every poem that has "travelled such a distance to be here in this moment." 

- Rosemary Griebel

Launch date: October 22, 2020

Details: TBA

A sneak-preview from Let This Lake Remember:

My mother wanted indoor plumbing…

and when the six-foot hole was dug behind our cabin and last screws held the outhouse door in place, she chose interior lily-white gloss applied thick as the plywood it clung to and laid a black-and-white checkered lino floor. She strung an electric cord through birch saplings to a small fan above the door that clicked on-enter, off-exit. A pine tree deodorizer tied to its cage fluttered like a butterfly. Winters she changed fan for heater, pointed directly at the seat. Screens nailed to chimney and air vents refused flies, mosquitoes. Bee entrance. Yellow fly tape hung from ceiling beams year round because you never know when a fly comes to life in this place. Which was true, they came to life in winter’s core with weekend heat. Every few days Mom made her way to the outhouse with Pine-Sol, scrub brush and rags, scouring every inch of that little building. Her finishing touch: a half gallon of lye down the hole instead of just one cup.

To Purchase "Let This Lake Remember":


Frontenac House 
1648 Bowness Road NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 3J9
P: (403) 263-7025

Shelf Life Books
1302 – 4th St. SW 
Calgary, AB
P: (403) 265-1033
Owl’s Nest Books
Britannia Shopping Plaza
815A – 49 Avenue SW
Calgary,  AB
P: (403) 287-9557
Joan Shillington
Calgary, AB


“Folding the Wilderness Within”

(Frontenac House 2014) was short-listed for the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Prize, Spring 2015. 

Joan's poems have placed first, second and honourable mention in FreeFall’s poetry contests over the years.

Folding the Wilderness Within (Frontenac House 2014) mines ‘this threshold of ordinary’ to show the gleaming moments in all our small lives. Anchored in the detritus of daily routine, Joan knows ‘each word and their order’. Her poems spill over with the full throttle details of lives thoroughly lived. This book illuminates, offering us moments of grace in our flawed world. 

- Lisa Pasold   


(Leaf Press 2008), Joan’s first collection of poetry is about the family life and court influences of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, as they construct their ‘nest’ over twenty-three years of rule.

From Nicholas’ coronation to the Romanov’s family bloody assassination in July 1918, this collection explores man’s ability to have absolute power in one realm of his life, yet be powerless in another, and as a result lose it all.

As seen in:

FreeFall Magazine

Leaf Press

Toronto Quarterly

Contact  Joan: jshilli@hotmail.com


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