Taking the step of sharing or deepening our engagement with our work can be daunting at any stage. An effective guide fosters our explorations and creative risk-taking in a supportive, safe relationship built on trust, commitment, and respect. As your guide and mentor, I am committed to building trust and confidence in a collaborative and dynamic process of creative discovery.

My Approach

Our work together is a conversation focused on you: you will be heard, encouraged, challenged and supported as you develop your writing your way, moving toward your goals.

In our first exchanges, I learn about your interests and hopes for our work together, the places and perspectives you are writing from, and any concerns or fears you may have.

As we proceed, my work is to attend openly and fully to yours: to ask questions that sharpen your focus, offer suggestions for revision, open paths when you feel stuck – to be the responding voice that encourages you forward in your creativity and supports you along the way.

Our conversation may include generative writing prompts and discussion of work we admire and/or find challenging. We’ll consider the creative energy and expression in your work and in work by others you’re interested in. We’ll go up close with individual poems and elements of craft, and consider bigger-picture elements of structure and nuance.  

Writers are often surprised at what readers note in their work. In a dynamic and productive mentorship, these surprises are occasions for learning for both of us, in our dual capacities as writer and reader.

For me, the end—in the senses of both purpose and fulfilment—of mentorship is seeing you flourish creatively.

My Experience

I bring more than two decades of writing, editing, and mentoring experience, with writers of all ages and at all stages, to our work together.

My experience includes
·       workshops and discussion groups, Concordia University
·       mentoring and workshop facilitation, Quebec Writers’ Federation
·       creative writing workshops and advising, John Abbott College
·       short workshops, Festival Blue Met Bleu
·       residency workshops, Los Parronales (Chile)
·       individual mentorships with emerging and re-emerging writers

I’m a poet with four books (Yellow Crane, The Rapids, Volta and Swimming Among the Ruins), several chapbooks (Obelisk, Twenty Views of the Lachine Rapids), a solid collection of award nominations and reviews, and a side gig as a collaborator with three other poets in the group Yoko’s Dogs (Whisk, Rhinoceros).  I talk with poets and write about poetry and the writing life at Concrete & River, and co-curate (with Mary diMichele) the online micro-poetry journal HALIBUT. I also give talks, host workshops, and guide reading for poets and non-poets alike. Most recently, I’ve worked with the performance group Bon Echo on poems for multiple voices. 

For more information, contact me at <susan[at]susangillis[dot]ca> 

My Fee Structure

Mentorships may take place over a few weeks or several months or more, depending on the aims and work preferences of the writer. Typically they include one-on-one meetings (in person or by videochat, depending on circumstances) and time dedicated to writing and responding. Fees can be arranged on an hourly basis ($65/hour) or as a fixed fee.