Cheryl Denise grew up in Elmira, Ontario. She earned a nursing degree in Guelph, Ontario. For three years she worked as a volunteer through the Mennonite Church as a public health nurse in La Jara, Colorado. Now she and her husband live in the intentional community of Shepherds Field in West Virginia. The community raises Jacob sheep and a small flock of chickens. They produce and sell lambs, yarn and wool blankets. Cheryl works as a nurse supervisor for in-home care services. Cheryl's poetry collection, I Saw God Dancing, was the winner of the 1998 West Virginia Writers Poetry Competition. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals, including Appalachian Heritage and The Hamilton Stone Review, and publications including the anthologies, Wild Sweet Notes: Fifty Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950-1999 (Publishers Place, Inc., 2000) and Coal: A Poetry Anthology (Blair Mountain Press, 2006). Cheryl's poem 'Nickel Mines, PA, Oct. 2nd, 2006' won first place in The George Scarbrough Prize for Poetry, in the 2008 Mountain Heritage Literary Festival Writing Contest, Lincoln Memorial University. She has two books of poetry, I Saw God Dancing (2005) and What's in the Blood (2012) published by DreamSeeker Books, imprint of Cascadia Publishing House, Telford, PA. This poetry CD includes guitar and mandolin music by musician Ben Regier. John L. Ruth, Author of The Earth is the Lord's: A Narraive History of Lancaster Mennonite Conference, has said of her poetry, 'Cheryl's lines bleed juice and blood. She let's us look with demure erotic humor at what is or once was next to our skin. George Ella Lyon, Author of She Let Herself Go, says this about her poetry, 'Cheryl's poems shine with the elemental power of blood, new-turned earth, sex, and baptism.' Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Author of Poetry in America, says, 'Cheryl's poems are charged with her own abandon and exuberance. She offers frank meditations on violence and life's many labors. These are poems with meat on their bones.' Jeff Gundy, Bluffton University, Author of Walker in the Fog, writes, 'Cheryl knows grief and laughter -- and that true poetry requires both. Her lively, generous, just slightly impudent voice is a welcome addition to Mennonite writing.'
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