Thursday, January 13, 2011

A request for info

I know I said I was going to blog on Sundays, but I'm going to spend this three-day weekend working on a grant application, and thinking about that reminded me that I meant to ask about something here.

The Split Rock Arts Program in Minnesota used to have a really cool-sounding online mentorship program. You'd pay x amount of money for x number of hours, and they had some good writers as part of the program. But when I checked their site a while back, thinking that would be the perfect thing to write into this grant - to have someone who doesn't know me personally, and so doesn't have a friendship stake in it, do a thorough review of my manuscript - I saw that the program is no more. Wah!

So - calling on the collective knowledge out there - do any of you know of a similar program that you would recommend? Not looking for classes or workshops as such, more of a one-on-one mentoring situation where someone would review my book-length ms.

I can think of several individuals I could ask, and I could certainly write that in as a line item on the grant - but I think the committee will be more likely to look favorably upon something that is an established program of some sort.

Failing that - I'm also willing to consider a week-long book-manuscript-focused workshop. But it has to take place between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012.

Failing all of THAT - if I do approach an individual person - how much do y'all think is a reasonable amount? Figure that we're looking at a regular book-length poetry ms., 60-70ish pages; I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to try to get this grant for my first ms. (the one that's been going around for a year and a half & has gathered some kind words but enough flat-out rejections that I think it needs to be thoroughly revised), my second one (which is pretty close to being "finished" enough for someone to look at), or the third one I think I've just barely started on.

I'd appreciate any feedback - thanks!

(Or maybe I'll just ask for money for a new laptop - this one is on its last legs - and a nice little retreat to write some new stuff. There's always that option.)


Lyle Daggett said...

Well that's a bummer, that Split Rock doesn't do online mentoring any more. I hadn't realized that -- I'm guessing the program (or that part of it) was a casualty of the current economy.

A longtime poet friend was one of the online mentors through Split Rock for a while, and I knew someone who did mentoring with her, and she found it quite helpful.

As far as who or where else to recommend, right offhand no one specific comes to mind -- it occurs to me that you could go hunting the gazillion local and regional literary organizations out there -- my guess is that some of them might offer some type of online mentoring (though here again none come to mind specifically).

The Split Rock program does offer week-long workshops, in the summer. The specific classes and instructors vary from one year to the next, though there may be something specifically about working on a book manuscript in any given year.

If you wind up going for a residency somewhere, someplace I can recommend is the Anderson Center for the Arts at Red Wing, Minnesota (on the Mississippi River, downriver a bit from Minneapolis and St. Paul). Last time I checked, they were offering residencies during the warm months of the year (April through October, I think) for up to a month at a time.

I haven't actually done a residency at the Anderson Center, though I've been there a couple of times in recent years for weekend poetry reading events. Red Dragonfly Press (publisher of some of my books) is the press-in-residence there.

Word verification is "pikers." The pikers at Split Rock, not offering online mentoring any more. Likewise, wah!

Lyle Daggett said...

Anne, after poking around a little among the bookmarks and links I've compiled, I remembered that a poet friend, Anya Achtenberg, does online manuscript critiquing.

She does it freelance (i.e. not through a school or other institution, as far as I know), anyway passing this along in case you want to check it out. More info is in her website, here.

The link above is to the specific page in her site that gives info about manuscript work -- if you click on the "How I work with you" link in the page it will go to another page that includes her e-mail address.

The main page for her website is here.

For what it's worth, if you decide to look into it, I can highly recommend her.

Leslie said...

Colrain is the only ms conference I know about, but it isn't in your time frame--I think it is the end of April every year.

I think if you asked for funds for a summer conference like Bread Loaf or Sewanee, you would find someone who would read the ms and give advice--some of the fellows and faculty do that in addition to their more formal mentorship duties. Plus, if you go to Bread Loaf, you will get meetings with some of the big presses.

The other thing is, and I'm pretty fuzzy on this one, but I seem to remember that some lo res programs let you attend the residency portion without being a student, in which case you might find mentorship that way.

Diane K. Martin said...

I don't know the answer to your questions, but I think approaching a writer you admire and asking them to read your manuscript is a great idea. Sometimes you can do that for free (for instance, trading mss.), but in terms of how much to ask for in a grant, I would suggest $150. That will be enough for some and enough that you can supplement it with your own cash should the ideal person require a little bit more.

Bread Loaf et al can be fun and valuable too!

Pamela said...

I am working privately with a mentor this semester. She and I will spend approximately 20 hours a month for February/March/April, and then meet for 4 hours face-to-face in January (already done) and July (forthcoming). I am paying her what she gets per student in a low-residency MFA program. This is a terrific bargain for me, and I feel as though I finally will whip that book-length manuscript into fierceness.

firstcitybook said...

Have you considered working with Linda Hasselstrom, Anne? She may not be well known in your part of the country. A former editor and publisher, she writes poetry and nonfiction. Try this link:

firstcitybook said...

Not all of the link appeared above. I am truncating it for you:

Diane Lockward said...

The Post-Masters Conference at Vermont College has a 5-day workshop for book-length mss--max of 5 in the class. But expensive for you, I think given your distance. Poet Pam Bernard does one-on-one mentoring and critiques mss. Her fees seem quite reasonable. Check out her website: