Previous Writer to Writer Mentees
Spring 2015 Session
Freesia McKee is a poet from Milwaukee. Her writing has appeared in Outrider Review, Gertrude, the Huffington Post, Painted Bride Quarterly, and other venues. Freesia is a contributing writer to the PDXX Collective.
Freesia worked with poet Michael Klein.
What are your thoughts on the Writer to Writer program as opposed to the MFA route?
After college, I decided not to get an MFA right away because of cost, because I was too young, because I was following a more circuitous route. Since then, I have sought out nonacademic experiences to receive the things that had appealed to me about a formal program: the close mentor relationships and a community of writers from whom I could learn. Writer to Writer is a valuable opportunity to practice working one-on-one with a professional mentor.
I recommend this program, whether an MFA is in your future or whether you’ve decided that you do not need one. Mentors and mentees are pursuing writing lives in traditional and nontraditional ways. Writer to Writer is an iteration of the practice that accompanies the writing itself: assembling a community of writers to support your work.
What advice do you have for people entering the program next?
Set aside a special time within each cycle to work on your responses. Read the books your mentor has published and the interviews that he or she has given—this will provide you with valuable context and material. Know your goals.
In what ways did this experience differ from, say, taking a creative writing class or workshop?
The variety of other mentors and mentees is a unique benefit of this program. When we gathered at the conference, I met people I probably would not have connected with otherwise. The cohort was an aesthetically and geographically diverse group.
Where will you and your mentor go from here, following the formal conclusion of the program?
I hope to interview my mentor for the Conversant following the publication of his new book this fall.