The Writing Program Mentorship Space
**Open to BFA Writing Program Majors and Creative Writing Minors**
We’ve created the Mentorship Space to give students in the undergraduate Writing Program and the Creative Writing Minor the opportunity for individualized, focused, and caring consultation with Writing professors regarding your creative work and practice. Mentors are available to you for discussion of a wealth of topics, including craft and theory questions, feedback on work in progress, advice about revision, publication, and performance, and supportive conversations about practice, process, writer’s block, and more. Mentors can meet with you about writing in a wide range of genres and forms as well as expanded writing practices that include creative work in other mediums.
The Mentorship Space is available to majors and minors free of charge. It is not credit-bearing.
The Spring 2021 mentors are below, including their bios and areas of interest and expertise. Click on a mentor’s booking link to reserve a session.
Mentorship Space Guidelines
· Please book only one session at a time. Sessions are thirty minutes in length.
· Sessions will typically be conducted by zoom or phone, as per your mentor’s instructions.
· You must book an appointment at least 4 days in advance, to give your mentor time to prep for your session. If you are seeking feedback on a manuscript, you must provide it to the mentor at least 3 days in advance of your session. If you are seeking feedback on work in a medium other than writing, share that information on the booking form so that your mentor can direct you regarding how to share the work.
· Manuscripts can be up to a maximum of 10 pages in length (or its equivalent in another medium). If you’re seeking feedback on a longer project, provide a shorter, 5-10 page section to your mentor for your first session, and talk with them about how to continue the conversation across future mentoring sessions.
· When you book a session, please be sure to indicate on the booking form the topics you would like to discuss with your mentor.
· Come to your session prepared with your questions and a spirit of openness.
· If you need to cancel your session, please contact your mentor as soon as possible, and use the booking link to re-book a new session.
Please note: If you need assistance with your critical writing, or if you need help with public speaking, art history, or math/science study, contact the excellent tutors at The Writing and Tutorial Center (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Mentorship Space is focused on creative work and practice.
Spring 2021 Mentors
Andy Barnes lives in the Hudson Valley with his husband and dog where, when he’s not writing, he’s outdoors practicing his forestry skills or in his studio weaving. Andy has an MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, a Ph.D. in English Literature from Stony Brook University, and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Bennington College. His memoir, The Dark Eclipse: Reflections on Suicide and Absence was published in 2018. A review in Lambda Literary called the book "a lyric noir of family instability, personal revelation, and queer inheritance both genealogical and literary,” in which he demonstrates that our job as memoirists is “to take the ashes of our lives—not only our lived lives, but our lives as readers, too—and sculpt them into a new art.” His first book, Post Closet Masculinities in Early Modern England, published in 2009, theorizes the construction of an unstable masculinity as articulated in the poetry of John Donne, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and the prose work of George Herbert. He is currently working on a book about fathers and sons and the way they might imagine forgiveness through the genetic traits they share.
About the mentorship space he writes: I’m here to help students in any way I can. While my current work is focused on memoir writing, I’ve also written and published poetry and fiction. As a mentor, I think the most important thing I can offer is my experience as a writer, understanding that everyone has their own writing habits, their own experience in publishing, and their own take on being a writer. I don’t believe there is any one way to practice the art of writing any more than there is any one way of living. However, I’m here to listen, to bounce ideas around, and to support you.
Gabriel Cohen is the author of a literary novel, four crime novels, and a nonfiction book, and was a finalist for an Edgar award. He has written articles and essays for the New York Times, Poets & Writers, TimeOut New York, Gourmet. com, and many other publications. Now in his 11th year of teaching at Pratt, he has also taught writing at New York University, the Center for Fiction, and Long Island University; worked as a staff writer at the New Haven Advocate weekly newspaper; founded and ran a well-known New York reading series; and was a guest lecturer aboard the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner. He also has a freelance editing business, and lives in Brooklyn.
About the Mentorship Space, he writes: As a writer, writing teacher, and editor, I take great pleasure in helping other writers find ways to improve their work and realize their vision. I specialize in literary and genre fiction, and various forms of nonfiction, including articles, essays, and memoirs. I have taught a Pratt course called How to Build a Writer’s Life, and I’m happy to offer advice about how to create good work habits, overcome doubts and anxieties about writing (we all have them!), finish projects, and get work published. (Recently I helped a freshman student get a personal essay published by a New York newspaper.)
Laura Elrick is interested in the capacities of poetry to denaturalize the structures of everyday life and to imagine new forms of relation. Her most recent full-length collection What This Breathing was published by The Elephants in September 2020. Previous books include Propagation (2012), Fantasies in Permeable Structures (2005), and Skincerity (2003), as well as the chaplet Excerpts from ‘Permeable Structures: A Performance Essay in Stereo’ (2006). She has also written and directed several psychogeographical performance works, including Blocks Away (2010) and Stalk (2008), as well as an audio work, Five Pieces for Doubled Voice (2005). Her essay “Poetry, Ecology and the Reappropriation of Lived Space” has appeared in several anthologies, including Viz. Inter-Arts Intervention: A Trans-Genre Anthology and the Eco Language Reader. Various poetry and prose has been translated into French, Spanish, Finnish and Norwegian. She has lived in Brooklyn for over twenty years, the last eight with her four-legged buddy Topo.
About the mentorship space she writes: I’m looking forward to working with students on many dimensions of the revision process: from exploring the possibilities of new projects, to deepening an articulation of vision in works that are already in process. I take particular delight in considering meaningful form, in discovering relationships between form and embodiment, and in asking useful contextual questions (literary, social, philosophical, political). I can also help guide students to texts and bodies of thought they may be implicitly in conversation with and that may provide avenues for inspiration and discovery. Very practiced at helping students develop a concrete process/plan that supports them to manifest their desires for their writing. My primary interests lie in poetry, experimental prose, essays, and performance.
David Gordon was born in New York City, attended Sarah Lawrence College and has an MA in English and Comparative Literature and an MFA in Writing, both from Columbia University. His first novel, The Serialist, was the winner of the VCU/Cabell First Novel Award as well as an Edgar Award Finalist; it also was the only book to win all three major awards for foreign literature in Japan, where it was later made into a feature film. His other books include the novels Mystery Girl, The Bouncer, and The Hard Stuff, as well as the story collection, White Tiger on Snow Mountain. His stories and non-fiction have also appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, Paris Review, LitHub, Electric Literature, Al Jazeera, VICE and LARB among others. In 2019, he was commissioned to write an original audio book - a spy parody set in 80s Berlin, recorded by, and based on the real life of, David Hasselhoff. His next novel, Against the Law, book three in "The Bouncer" crime series, will be forthcoming in Spring 2021. His work has been translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French, German, Polish, Russian and Turkish.
About the Mentorship Space he writes: I am happy to give feedback and provide guidance on fiction, non-fiction or poetry in progress, assist with developing new projects, and provide support and insight in matters of process and craft as well exploring individual reading lists and other media. I have a strong background in both literary and experimental writing as well as genre writing and experience with writing about and/or for film, music, visual art, fashion and theater.
Rachel Levitsky came out as a Lesbian in 1984 and as a poet in 1994. She is the author of Under the Sun (Futurepoem, 2003), NEIGHBOR (UDP, 2009) the poetic novella, The Story of My Accident is Ours (Futurepoem, 2013) and most recently in 2020, Against Travel/Anti-Voyage, a bilingual French/English edition published by the multilingual Pamenar Press. Levitsky builds and participates in a variety of publishing, collaboration and pedagogical/performative activities. Currently, during the pandemic in which we find ourselves unable to meet in person, she’s been hosting “Simultaneous-Collaborative Walks”— embracing an idea of walking that does not require movement. In 1999 she founded Belladonna* Series which is now Belladonna* Collaborative where she remains an active member. In 2017, she was a resident of LMCC’s Process Space on Governor’s Island where she worked on a project called “Mother of Separation, a study of language usage and migrant experience in NYC. She teaches writing at Pratt Institute, Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, and occasionally at lay poetry institutions like Poets House and The Poetry Project in NYC.
Notes on Mentoring: I approach your work first and foremost as a project of close reading. In other words, I first examine the work to learn what it is trying to do. (Usually, the work speaks more plainly than the maker of the work.) That makes some space for us to have a lively exchange on your desires and intentions. This exchange teaches me how to provide you with formal tools that will help you get closer to your desires and intentions. I write novels, serial poems, criticism and essays and occasionally, and right now in fact, plays.