Tribute to Helen Shanley


“Sometimes I touch that lilac night
When your grave opens,
When dreams take us deep, deep
To love without time, without loss.”
Excerpt from Lilacs by Helen Shanley


Helen Shanley was born on February 28, 1919 and transitioned on February 21,l 2007. She was a genius, recognizing and pointing to colors at the age of 6 months and her IQ was tested at 188. Helen had two primary pursuits in her life: Writing and healing. She had two master degrees, one in English and the other in Psychology. All her life, she encouraged students and friends to fulfill their creative talents in writing, singing and painting. She inspired others to keep on writing and to publish. Her works were aired on the Valley Public Radio; she performed at the First Night Bakersfield. She was recognized for her contribution to writing by the California Writers Club and the Kern County Arts Council.

She wrote hundreds of poems and also wrote short stories, some published in university and literary magazines including Poetry and Saturday Review. Helen’s writing on imagery and creativity were published in “Dancing on the Sun” by Barney Press and “Inner Company” available on website (Helen’s website here). She is one of the authors in the “Wake Up .. Live the Life you Love” compiled by Steven E & Lee & Lee Beard. She also wrote instructionals on writing such as “The Power of Literature.” She was in the middle of finalizing her memoir for publication titled “Sugar on my Lettuce” when she transitioned from this life.

To read a sampling of Shanley’s poetry click here.