Ready to have a sensitive reader look at your poems? Spark or rekindle a writing practice? Deepen your engagement as a reader who may or may not write poetry? Need someone to hold the flashlight while you work at a project you're developing, or just be another pair of eyes on something else you're writing? I can help. 

Window bench with books and notebooks
Window above, books below--one of my favourite places to work

Our work together focuses on you: you will be heard, encouraged, challenged and supported as you develop your writing your way, according to your goals. Our conversation may include everything from suggested writing prompts to discussions of work we admire (or are challenged by—because that’s productive too). See more about my approach to mentoring here and some of my services below.

A little about me: 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-curated (with Mary di Michele) the online micro-poetry journal HALIBUT for its exuberant three-year run.

I’ve worked with writers of all ages and all stages, bringing more than two decades of writing, editing, and mentoring experience to our work together. My experience includes workshops and discussion groups for Concordia University, the Quebec Writers’ Federation, John Abbott College, Festival Blue Met Bleu, Los Parronales (Chile), and many individual mentorships. I've helped people craft great copy for webpages, event listings, festival programs, and more, and edited short- and long- form prose for a variety of markets. I also give talks, host workshops, and guide reading for poets and non-poets alike.

Please reach out using the form in the sidebar on this page (top left) or by email <susan[at]susangillis[dot]ca>. We can work online or in person if circumstances allow. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

See what people have said about working with me.


We can work on one, two, or many poems at a time, as determined by your needs and our schedules. Fees will always be established in consultation, so you will never be left wondering what a project might cost. We can also work on prompts, reading and responding, and other aspects of a creative practice involving poetry.

Please note poems are normally submitted one per page. Fees for very short poems or multi-part long poems are set by consultation.

If you don’t see what you are interested in here, contact me to discuss designing something just for you. 

$175                  A Handful of Poems: up to 5 poems, max. 5 pages

What you get: Written feedback (1-2 pages) giving you an overview on what I find stimulating, surprising, evocative, memorable, meaningful, challenging, etc in your work, with suggestions or questions for further development.  Please note: I do not copy-edit for grammar or spelling.

$175                Close-up on Poems: up to 3 poems, max. 3 pages

What you get: Detailed notes on each poem. I may include questions and suggestions for revisions and/or further development. Feedback includes considerations of form and structure, image, metaphor, lineation, sound patterning, word choice, etc. Please note: I do not copy-edit for grammar or spelling.

$350 and up        Putting It Together: Evaluation and / or editorial guidance on a chapbook-length manuscript or short work in progress

What you get: A detailed written response on a chapbook-length manuscript (about 20 poems/up to 35 pages) offering my perspectives on your specific concerns and / or what I see in the manuscript: what is stimulating, surprising, evocative, memorable, meaningful, challenging, etc, and how elements of craft including structure support those effects. I may suggest directions to develop or other ways to ready the manuscript for submission or to develop it further as part of a longer work. The fee varies by manuscript length and particular needs and is determined in consultation. Please note: copy-editing and fact checking / source verification are not part of this service.

$650 and up      The Long View: Manuscript evaluation and / or editorial or developmental guidance on a longer work or book-length manuscript

Services and fees vary by manuscript length and the particular scope of the project, and are determined in consultation. 

$65/hour (3-hour minimum)    Field Work: Mentoring and developmental guidance in your practice of poetry 

This service is determined by your interests and needs. My role is to guide, champion, and enable you in your practice, whether through individual poems or manuscript development, renewing a practice that feels stalled or beginning a new practice, exploration and discovery of how poetry lives and moves, or other area of interest in poetry. Services and fees vary by project, and are determined in consultation.

$175        Short-Term Mentorships

A focused version of the Field Work described above, these four half-hour consultations provide you with feedback on poems and suggestions for development. Sessions can be scheduled weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. 

Copy-editing, proof-reading and related services are available by request.

Me and my Arc Award of Awesomeness prize doodad

All my work is delivered on time according to the schedule we establish together at the time of making the contract. Fees up to $175 are payable in advance. A deposit of 50% (non-refundable) is payable on contracts of more than $175, with the balance due on delivery. 

Some things people have said about my services:

"Susan is a receptive and perceptive reader who knows when to suggest and when to sit back and let the writer do the heavy lifting. It is a privilege to have Susan help me with my manuscript, and I wholeheartedly recommend her services."

"The care and intelligence of the service Susan provided surpassed my expectations, it was a form of gift-giving, truly."

"Inspiring, constructive, effective!"