Writing Workshops, Retreats, Mentoring

Ellen Bass Workshop Toronto, October 24 & 25, 2015

Photo by Irene Young

Photo by Irene Young

Ellen Bass is an extraordinary poet, teacher and author.

Having been lucky enough to study with her in California and in Mallorca, Sue and James dearly wanted to bring her to the writing community in Toronto.

The stars (and the International Festival of Authors!) have finally aligned.

Ellen will be here teaching a 2 day workshop and reading at the IFOA the weekend of October 24 & 25. The way Ellen teaches poetry is not to be missed!
IFOA logo

Click here for more information about the weekend, and to register



Toronto Streetscape 300

Ellen Bass’s most recent book of poetry, Like a Beggar, was published in April 2014 by Copper Canyon Press. Her previous poetry books include The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press), named a Notable Book by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Mules of Love (BOA Editions), which won the Lambda Literary Award. She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (Doubleday).

Her poems have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and The Sun. She was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Elliston Book Award for Poetry from the University of Cincinnati, Nimrod/Hardman’s Pablo Neruda Prize, The Missouri Review’s Larry Levis Award, the Greensboro Poetry Prize, the New Letters Poetry Prize, the Chautauqua Poetry Prize, a Fellowship from the California Arts Council, and two Pushcart Prizes.

Her non-fiction books include Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth(HarperCollins), I Never Told Anyone: Writings by Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse(HarperCollins), and The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse(Harper Collins), which has sold over a million copies and has been translated into ten languages.

She currently is teaching in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University and has taught poetry and creative writing in Santa Cruz, CA and at other beautiful locations nationally and internationally.

Click here for more information about the weekend, and to register


“Ellen creates a warm and supportive environment for writers of every genre.  You cannot help but be inspired and stimulated—and your writing blossoms!”
—Sharon Bray, teacher of the Wellspring Writing Workshops and author ofA Healing Journey: Writing Together through Breast Cancer
“Her process is deceptively simple in appearance, but profound in its effectiveness. With Ellen Bass you learn almost as much by listening to her coach your fellow writers as you do from her razor-sharp, insightful critiques of your own work. She maintains a focused, sensitive, serious atmosphere where each one gets as much specific feedback as he or she wants, and where a fascinating mix of writers and poets support one another in a warm, powerful way. I’d recommend her workshops to anyone who wants to become a better writer or poet.”
—Dick Guthrie, aspiring author of memoirs about commanding a rifle company in Vietnam
“Ellen Bass’s workshop changed my whole creative trajectory. I came into her workshop stuck and going in circles and by the end of the workshop I couldn’t stop creating. She helped me break through and land upon a character that became the basis for my solo show Loveland. I am thrilled to say that Loveland has become a huge success in theaters and it all began from Ellen’s incredible permission and guidance to explore with wild abandon.”
—Ann Randolph, actor, writer, educator
“Studying with Ellen is sheer delight! She has an openness which invites creativity, is skillful at her craft, with the ability to transmit technical information in an accessible way. She is gentle with advice and criticism, has a terrific sense of humor, and relishes the process of discovery and understanding the craft of poetry affords us.”
—Magdalena Montagne, Poet-teacher
“After not having written for twenty-five years, I was lucky to find Ellen Bass, who encouraged and affirmed my beginning efforts. Had it not been for her, I do not think I would have gone on, and if I had gone on, the way would have been tortuous. I particularly was helped by Ellen’s approach to the poem as being a process of life.”
– Phyllis Koestenbaum, author of eight volumes of poetry and anthologized inThe Best Ameican Poetry
“I first took a writing class from Ellen Bass 35 years ago and it was life changing – the effects rippled out from there and continue to this day. Ellen was and is an inspiration. If I sound wildly enthusiastic and over the top about Ellen, it is because I am. So give yourself a gift and work with her.”
– Andrea Steffens, PhD and author of Pompeii’s ChildrenTough Women and Mama’s Coming Home