I am an experienced tutor of creative writing. I taught on the undergraduate creative writing degree at Liverpool John Moores University for many years and more recently on the Masters programme at the University of East Anglia. I have run writing workshops for all ages in schools, universities, libraries, in association with literary festivals and in the community. I regularly tutor for the Arvon Foundation, The Poetry School , The Poetry Society and National Centre for Writing.
I provide private, one-to-one mentoring (online) for the development of poetry writing projects and manuscripts. Working closely with the writer, I offer constructive, detailed feedback on work in progress. I enjoy positive relationships with mentees and have seen many of them go on to achieve considerable success. Nearly all my mentees have had their manuscripts published, or seen their work placed in major competitions.
You can read a blog post about the achievements of some of the poets I have worked with since 2015 here. Do get in touch at email@example.com if you would like to discuss a mentoring project.
Alison Binney shortlisted in the Magma Poetry Pamphlet competition 2020, wins Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet competition 2021 and her winning collection is published with Seren 2021 * Victoria Kennefick launches debut full collection with Carcanet Press March, 2021, shortlisted for multiple prizes including the Costa Book Awards and the T S Eliot Prize * SK Grout’s debut pamphlet published with V. Press 2021 * Simon Costello wins The Rialto’s Nature and Place Poetry Competition 2021 * Rachel Bower launches debut full collection with Fly on the Wall Press, July 2021 * Elisabeth Sennitt Clough’s publishes second collection with Pindrop Press, 2021 and third with Salt Publishing in 2023 * Joanna Ingham’s second pamphlet published by The Emma Press in 2022 * Hilary Otto’s debut pamphlet due with Hedgehog Poetry, 2023 * Olivia Dawson launches debut pamphlet with Maytree Press 2020 and a second pamphlet follows in 2022 * Natalie Shaw’s second pamphlet with Broken Sleep Books 2023 * Fiona Larkin launches debut pamphlet with Rack Press 2020, second pamphlet with Broken Sleep Books 2022 and a full collection with Pindrop Press 2023.
Mentoring and editing:
‘Rebecca has the sharpest ear for a dud note and she always knows if a poem of mine is holding something back. I got a lot better and more truthful thanks to her. I so recommend Rebecca’s mentorship.’ – Clíodhna Bhreatnach, mentee 2022/23
‘Being mentored by Rebecca Goss has been one of the most transformative experiences of my poetry life. I found her feedback sensitive, insightful and encouraging, and if a poem ‘wasn’t working’, she’d show me how to find the poem within the poem. There was a lightness to working with Rebecca that I believe lifted my poetry to say what I wanted to in far more interesting ways. Forever grateful and very sad to have ended, but all endings are new beginnings and I’d relish the opportunity to work with Rebecca again one day.’ – Mary Mulholland, mentee, 2022
‘Another year of being mentored by Rebecca has proved just as valuable as the previous one. Rebecca provides clear, constructive feedback which opens up the wonderful possibility of seeing one’s work differently. I have benefitted enormously from Rebecca’s keen eye, gentle challenge and encouragement. It’s a privilege to be able to learn from someone who is so accomplished. I highly recommend Rebecca as a mentor.’ – Fiona Lynch, mentee, 2021-22
‘Having admired Rebecca’s exquisitely crafted poems for a long time, I was delighted when she agreed to mentor me. From the beginning, I was struck by the warmth of her personality, the professionalism of her approach to mentoring and the care and attention she gave to my work. Being mentored by Rebecca has been a most enriching experience. I cannot thank her enough for her support and encouragement and I, thus, have no hesitation in recommending Rebecca as a mentor.’ – Olive Ritch, mentee, 2021/22
‘Rebecca is a wonderful, insightful and caring mentor. I want to thank her for all the wisdom, encouragement, support, solidarity, and joy she has so generously shared with me. I have learnt so much from working with her.’ – Vasiliki Albedo, mentee, 2021 -2022
‘I was fortunate enough to be awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England to be mentored by Rebecca for a year. The process was everything I hoped it would be from beginning to end. Rebecca was extremely efficient and organised; she gave me a structure and useful deadlines for my writing, but she was also very flexible and helped me work around unforeseen challenges like lockdown and homeschool. Her feedback, both written and verbal, was invaluable. She always sought to understand the poem and help me make it as strong as it could be without imposing her own voice. She gave me the confidence and self-belief to write the poems I wanted to write, even those on more difficult topics. Rebecca was always warm, balanced, incisive and encouraging in our Skype meetings. I would unreservedly recommend her as a mentor and hope to be able to work with her again in the future myself.’ – Joanna Ingham, mentee 2019 – 2020
‘Rebecca excelled at showing me how to step back from my work, and consider its effect on the reader. She picked out precisely those areas where the poem’s connections were blurred, swooping on instances of inconsistent imagery and point of view, or awkward structures. Her feedback, both written and via Skype, was always detailed, attentive and encouraging, and I found our conversations fascinating and incredibly helpful. Her advice regarding publishing opportunities was invaluable, and she stays in touch with her mentees, alerting us to appropriate calls for submissions. I thoroughly recommend working with Rebecca, and I intend to return for more of her insight in the future.’ –Fiona Larkin, mentee, 2019
‘Working with Rebecca has been absolutely pivotal in my development as a writer. Over the course of an eight month mentorship she helped me to carve out a real sense of craft and practice for myself. Andrew Motion said that studying under Peter Way was like having someone walk into his head and turn all the lights on, the same can be said for my time spent with Rebecca.’ – Simon Costello, mentee 2018
‘Rebecca is an extremely thorough mentor. She always balances her edit suggestions with positive feedback; Rebecca has the knack of being able to get to the heart of what is not working with the poem/sequence and what will potentially make it a lot stronger. As such, I always finish the sessions feeling optimistic about my poetry, even if there’s a lot of work to be done. As a busy mother-of-three, keeping to a strict timetable was crucial for me and Rebecca did not let me down. From the beginning, I was very impressed at the way Rebecca put together a timetable (taking into account holidays etc) of submission dates, feedback sessions and rewrite deadlines. I cannot recommend Rebecca highly enough.’ – Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, mentee, 2018
As a relatively new poet, Rebecca’s mentoring is proving invaluable in helping me to polish individual poems, giving me confidence to experiment with a wider range of forms and styles, and beginning to think about building a small collection. Being able to tap into Rebecca’s experience of and insight into the world of poetry publishing is also hugely valuable and greatly appreciated. It’s giving me the confidence to send more things out into the world, and the intelligence to know where to send them. – Alison Binney, mentee, 2018
‘Working with Rebecca improved my sense for my own poems enormously. With her kind but accurate eye for detail, I was able to look at my work from a reader’s perspective and edit or rewrite accordingly. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Rebecca and always looked forward to our mentor/mentee sessions. Rebecca was instrumental in helping me fine tune my first (to-be-published) pamphlet length collection for Eyewear Publishing. It was the best investment in my poetry that I have ever made.’ – Jo Burns, mentee, 2017
‘Rebecca is as serious about another person’s work as she is about her own. She is able, through dialogue, to tease out what the poem is really trying to say and she can help the writer find an appropriate way of exploring the depth of the poem. Rebecca can offer insight that it is often difficult to see for your self when you are involved in the actual writing of the poem. Rebecca will offer further thought for reading and websites and ideas where to send your poems. She is altogether very professional and takes other people’s poetry very seriously. I can recommend Rebecca to anyone who is in need of another viewpoint and who wants a dialogue around their work. Thank you Rebecca!’ – Wendy French, mentee 2018
‘I had the good forture of working with Rebecca when I was at a real crossroads in my work, especially as I was preparing my first collection. Rebecca was the perfect mentor in every way – sensitive, intelligent and insightful. With each session I could see the poems taking shape and the manuscript falling into place in ways I had not anticipated. I would unreservedly recommend working with Rebecca to any poet, whether you have a particular poem you need tweaking or you need advice with compiling a chapbook or full-length manuscript. You’ll never know where she might take you!’ – Victoria Kennefick, mentee, 2016/17
‘Being mentored by Rebecca was a thoroughly beneficial and pleasurable experience. The sessions felt relaxed enough so that we could both be honest and open about trying ideas and discarding what didn’t work. Her skill and generous insights helped me nip, tuck and polish my poems so that they became sharper and more fresh and I really appreciated the boost it gave my work and my confidence as a writer.’ – Liz Hall, mentee, 2015.
“Rebecca Goss was delightful to work with and I very much appreciated her professional, encouraging, intuitive and thorough editorial comments which helped shape the final form of my fourth collection, Vision on Platform 2.” – Nancy MattsonTeaching/workshops:
‘I recently attended an eight week evening course run by Rebecca – this was intensive and very good value. Rebecca had meticulously prepared written materials and had put a lot of thought into each session. She provided great encouragement and supportive critical feedback throughout. The group was very sorry to disband!’ – participant on Writing Poetry Course, Suffolk, Jan-March 2017.
‘Rebecca provided a wonderful variety of resources, topics and ideas for writing our own poems, which created a really rich journey over eight weeks. When it came to sharing our own poems she was a good listener and helped us to be likewise, attentive to the details that had gone into the poem but also keen, once we talked about the inspiration for the work, to maximise that inspiration within the poem. She made us all believe we are poets and that the world of poetry is ours to be part of.’ – participant on Writing Poetry Course, Suffolk, Jan-March 2017.
‘Rebecca provided hugely useful insights into my writing. She was generous and encouraging, yet keen to identify improvements and suggest solutions. Her careful scrutiny was invaluable in that I am now beginning to hear my own ‘inner editor’ and subject my poems to greater evaluative reading and redrafting. I cannot thank her enough because she took me through a process that could so easily feel uncomfortable with care, kindness and an unerring sense that my work had worth, and for that I will always be grateful.’ – participant on Writing Poetry Course, Suffolk, Jan-March 2017.
‘Rebecca was one of the most successful writer’s visits we have had over the years. Both teachers and students got a lot out of her visit. Students were completely engaged and feedback was very enthusiastic. Rebecca completely understood the nature of her audience, trusting their maturity and interest and this was reflected in their attentiveness. All sessions were clearly carefully prepared and structured. In fact the visit was so successful, we aim to invite her back in on a regular basis.’ – Alison Shelley, English teacher, Colchester Sixth Form College, Essex.
‘We were kept busy all the time, had the break when we needed it, and ‘things’ were kept moving but at a pace that we could keep up with. A very industrious atmosphere was established from the beginning and the momentum was maintained. Really enjoyable.’
‘Well planned; a variety of activities; well-led; supportive, engaging manner; structured activities.’
‘Enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher who gave very positive feedback to the participants. First exercise and the poems we looked at were very well presented and interesting.’
– participant feedback from a workshop for Writers’ Centre Norwich
‘I think you can gauge by people’s enthusiastic response to the workshop – and the 100% concentration – that our group loved every minute of Saturday morning’. – Pam Job, participant in workshop for Poetry Wivenhoe
My teaching also crosses over into medical humanities. In 2015 I ran poetry workshops with students studying medicine at The University of Manchester. I am interested in using poetry as a tool to explore issues of empathy and communication between patients and medical staff. The day was very successful and I wrote about it here.
If you think I would be suitable for a tutoring opportunity, do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org