Mentoring & Editing

“We are making birds, not birdcages.”

—Dean Young, The Art of Recklessness

As a teacher, I lead small-group workshops for poets seeking community and critique.

As an editor, I work with individual writers, helping edit and shape manuscripts and individual poems. The goal is to help each poem become what it wants to be—which might mean anything from a close focus on individual lines to a wide-ranging conversation about contexts and influences.

What my clients say:

“Lisa has edited my poems for the past ten years. Without exception, I have found her to be a thorough and thoughtful editor of my work. Her critique can include anything from suggestions to push the poem in a new direction to questions about form, word choice, or grammar. Often she’ll suggest other poets to read or meditations on her own process as a poet. I have come to trust Lisa’s sensibility so much that I never send anything out without having her look it over first.”

—Greg Mahrer, author of A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent

“Lisa is an amazing editor. I turned to her when I had an out-of-control manuscript of 144 (!) poems and did not know what to do with it. Her editorial eye was crucial in enabling me to get perspective. She helped me think through the qualities that make my work my own. Lisa never made decisions for me but inspired my own inner editor: helped me quiet the critical editor who wants to edit poems because they’re too risky, and free the editor who wants a book that goes far beyond the sum of its parts. I recommend her wholeheartedly.”

—Robert Thomas, author of Bridge

“Lisa edited my most recent manuscript of poems. Her help proved to be invaluable in so many ways. First, she sorted through the keepers, the near misses and definitely nots with uncanny accuracy. Next, she attended to the minutiae of style, grammar, line breaks and formatting with deft precision. But most importantly, as I struggled to find the right form for my sprawling, prosy meditations, she calmly suggested several options and then stood back to let me discover for myself what she had already seen. She made the process a pleasure and got it right. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

—George Higgins, author of There, There

“It can be hard to keep all the pieces of a poem clear on the page, and in one’s mind. ‘Lisa is wonderful. Wonderful!’ I repeated to the silent house after reading her response to my poems. She is such a good reader, and her feedback always motivates me to work.”

—Catherine Grossman

“Lisa’s editorial eye goes to the core of a poem. She’s highly intuitive, sensitive to each poem’s potential for depth and power. She’s very generous with her extensive knowledge of poetry and poetry resources. Lisa has led me to understand my manuscript in new ways, and also helped me with individual poems—seeing where they might be stuck and suggesting ways to free them. I recommend her highly.”

—Athena Kashyap, author of Crossing Black Waters

“Working with Lisa is a total pleasure. She is insightful, thorough, respectful, and clear, with a finely tuned ear for the rhythm of a poem and a great facility with all things grammatical. I was impressed with the way she worked to make each poem better in a way that was entirely in line with my intentions for that piece. In short, Lisa heard what I needed, and delivered everything I’d hoped for and then some. It is wonderful to feel that my manuscript has been read so carefully and edited so well.”

—Marcia Pelletiere, author of Miracle with Roasted Hens and Crown of Hornets

“Lisa was warm and supportive but also straightforward about weaknesses. To this day I look at some of the poems in my book and remember an edit Lisa suggested. Her edits were the opposite of clipping the poem’s wings. They were trimmings that really helped those birds to fly.”

—Phyllis Meshulam, author of Land of My Father’s War

“Lisa combines the love of a reader and the passion of an artist in her poetry editing. Her breadth of knowledge and eye for detail bring a wealth of editing skill and poetic art to her feedback—an invaluable combination.”

—Lisa Alden

“She holds my hand when it’s needed. She tells me why something works or doesn’t. She guides, she nudges, she listens, she informs, and she encourages me to press on. Working with Lisa gives me the sense that not only can I take off on my first solo flight, but I’ll be able to land the damned thing.”

—Carlin Jardine

Please contact me if you’d like to discuss working together.