- Dark Familiar (2006)
- The Beach Book: A Literary Companion (1999)
- Long Distance (1996)
- Chinese Architecture (1986)
Mississippi poet Aleda Shirley was born in born in Sumter, South Carolina, May 2, 1955, to Guy and Betty J. Shirley. Because her father was in the military, she moved frequently as a child. She earned her B.A. from the University of Louisville in 1975 and stayed a passionate Cardinal basketball fan. She moved from Kentucky in 1990 and spent the rest of her life in Mississippi.
Her book of poetry, Chinese Architecture won the Poetry Society of America’s 1987 Norma Farber First Book Award. Her second book Long Distance was published in 1996. Her third book Dark Familiar was published in 2006. Shirley received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Arts Commission, and the Kentucky Arts Council. Her poems have appeared in such places as The American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, and Virginia Quarterly Review.
Shirley spent more than five years teaching creative writing to young students in the Jefferson County Public School system and became a Millsaps writer-in-residence who inspired students at the both the University of Mississippi and Millsaps College.
Aleda Shirley was the first Poet in the Schools in a Kentucky program which became a a national model through the National Endowment for the Arts. She also helped establish and direct All Write!, a Mississippi Arts Commission program that places writers in community literacy programs and correctional facilities to teach creative writing to students working toward their GED.
Aleda Shirley lived in Belhaven/Jackson, Mississipppi, with her husband Michael McBride. She died June 16, 2008, after a long battle with cancer. A memorial service was held for her June 23, 2008, at the Mississippi Museum of Art.