Mentoring Details

I believe my job as a mentor is to help you meet your own goals. I don’t have a set curriculum. Nor do I have a rubric for what makes good poetry*. I will suggest books/readings/prompts based on your interests, and I will provide links and/or photocopies of relevant theory I think you’ll find relevant.

*My personal biases are toward narrative and Imagist poetry. Some of my favorite poets are Elizabeth Bishop, Helge Torvund, and Patricia Fargnoli. I have a growing interest in eco-poetics and poetry-of-place. I am also working consciously to expand my personal cannon to include voices that have been/are marginalized. My Ph.D. work focused on (Eastern) formal poetry and found texts.

While I do like to discuss craft elements like line-breaks and diction, I promise never to rewrite your work!

In my experience with work-in-progress workshops and seminars, nothing upset me more than “group work” re-writes, or being edited to suit someone else’s voice. I believe poems are personal by definition.

I may suggest changing a word or a phrase for a specific reason – but I won’t change it for you, and will try to avoid providing specific alternatives. 

I also believe a big part of mentoring is making sure you see your own strengths! 


My suggestion for a basic structure for mentoring is similar to a graduate program term:

Time Frame: max. 4 months unless otherwise agreed-upon

Structure: After an initial letter of introduction and purpose or a zoom meeting, we would exchange 4 packets of work – Each packet consisting of a single page of questions you would like me to help you research – and up to 10 pages of poetry. I would ask for a maximum of 2 weeks for me to respond to each packet. It’s also possible to arrange a Zoom meeting following each pocket: to clarify my feedback and to allow for more discussion.

Compensation: My suggestion for the “fee” for the 4-packet commitment (including zoom meetings) would be 4 poetry books  – 3 coming from my Amazon wish-list (please do consider sending them via Powell’s or independent booksellers if you can afford to do so), and 1 book that you choose for me. And 150 USD sent via paypal. (Your total cost shouldn’t exceed 250 USD.)

Let me know if you have any questions. 
I’m looking forward to hearing from you! 

Warmly, Ren