“Katie was my first poetry teacher and I can’t believe my good fortune to have found myself in her class. As an instructor and writer, she is as gentle as she is scrupulous, as funny as she is startling, as charming as she is resolved. Hers is a voice and a mind and a heart that many need to hear, especially young writers. My writing would not be as honest or satisfied if it were not for her guidance. Whenever I read something I’d call a ‘bad poem,’ I wonder what Katie would do to fix it. Whenever I read something I’ve written, I wonder what Katie would say to me about the language, the tone, the imagery, the point. ”
—Tory, graduating from University of South Florida in 2017/author of nothing/friend to birds
“My first experience in a workshop setting was in Katie’s poetry class at USF. It was also my first experience with writing poetry. Before taking that class, I was terrified about writing poetry, and even more so about workshop, but Katie’s kind nature eased my fears. Over the course of the semester, I learned how to read, critique, write, and love poetry. To this day, I still use the core concepts I learned in her class. If it hadn’t been for Katie, I never would have known that I could write successful poetry.” —Sherri Pooley, graduating from USF in 2016
“I took Katie’s class at the University of South Florida in 2011. Katie’s passion for the art form resonates in her lectures and workshops. She provides insightful feedback in a positive manner that is easy to digest for even artists as sensitive as myself. On more than one occasion, I was able to improve a poem by way of a simple revision, addition of an enjambed line, or reconsideration of form as suggested by Katie. If poetry is a journey, Katie is a map keeper with intuitive knowledge of where the traveler is trying to go and how to get there on a single tank of gas.” —Tia
“I didn’t expect that poetry would ever be the key to figuring myself out in college. Katie made that happen. She recognized and encouraged me in her soft and kind way. Everything about her is soft, but vibrant and completely sincere: her compliments, criticisms, suggestions, even simple conversation. I learned to look at my life more poetically because of her. I’m a lot happier in my outlook because of her poetry and her guidance. I don’t work in the writing industry, but I would never ever change my degree because of what I learned from Katie.” —Victoria Kucinskas, USF class of 2013, Creative Writing
Email correspondence—I’m happy to read and respond to poems, poetry manuscripts, essays, and book-length works of creative nonfiction. My responses include pointing out what’s working as well as making suggestions and asking questions.
Instant messaging mentoring sessions—If you prefer to get my responses and ask/answer questions in real time, we can use Facebook or Skype instant-messaging to have a conversation.
Skype mentoring sessions—As long as the technology is working, this is the next best thing to face-to-face.
In-person mentoring sessions—I particularly enjoy face-to-face interaction. If you live in the Memphis, TN area, contact me about meeting! We’ll find a convenient coffee or tea shop to sit and talk. I’m also fairly frequently in Champaign-Urbana, IL and Tampa, FL, so hit me up if you live in one of those areas as well.
In-person small group workshops—This is my favorite kind of teaching. I love the energy of the group dynamic, and how much writers can learn from looking carefully at each other’s writing. My workshops always begin with colleagues discussing the positive aspects of a piece first, and then moving on to questions and suggestions. There is no “getting ripped to shreds” here; the goal is to recognize the work already done by the writer and provide feedback that might affect revision and/or the next piece. We will work together to encourage each other as writers, and take each other’s writing seriously enough to challenge as well. These can be a one-time deal (perhaps your book club or creative writing club wants a special event) or an ongoing class meeting on a regular basis. With advanced notice, I’m readily available in the Memphis, Champaign-Urbana, or Tampa areas; outside these areas, fees will have to cover travel and lodging as well.
Please contact me using the form below for more information, scheduling, and fees.
NOTE: I have 20+ years experience teaching creative writing (poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction) at the college and university level, and over 9 years as co-founder and editor of a literary magazine and chapbook press. I focus on helping writers accomplish what they want to do, rather than dictating a particular aesthetic or approach. I believe that if you write, you are a writer—whether or not you intend to publish (or self-publish) your work, it is a worthwhile endeavor to write as well as you possibly can. If the way you make sense of the world and yourself is through writing, then you are doing important work. This blog post of mine might help explain my philosophy.
I’m also available for readings, talks, lectures, and visiting classes. My specialties as a writer and lecturer focus on poetry, creative nonfiction, and meditation/mindfulness.