Poetry Forge


Answers to common questions about Poetry Forge offerings, guest appearances, teaching background, and how to choose the right course for you.

I’ve never taken a writing course before. What’s my first step?

I welcome writers of all abilities in my courses. I welcome secret poets, prose writers interested in heightening their sensitivity to our language, former creative writing majors, lapsed writers, writing teachers, and passionate readers who want to try writing for the first time. Often a good place to start is the 21 Day Poetry Challenge. Of course, I’m always happy to have a more specific conversation with you about your needs. Just reach out via my contact page and we can set up a complimentary call to figure that out.

What is your teaching philosophy?

At the heart of my ethos is my deep conviction that there is room for all of us.

I make spaces for committed and curious writers who want to forge a life that includes the practice of their art in a devoted and meaningful way.

We are each endowed with inherent creative capacities that thrive when given space, attention, love, and respect. I dignify the difficult work we all must do, by treating the process as sacred, interesting, and worthwhile, no matter what that looks like for you.

I endeavor to create a warm atmosphere, egalitarian culture, and confidence in my students, so that we may all thrive as artists and humans regardless of institutional barriers or other forms of exclusion.

I’m not sure which course is right for me. Can you help?

Poetry Forge courses happen year round, primarily online. Each has a slightly different format and will be suited to different needs. Many people seem to enjoy starting out with one of my quarterly 21 Day Writing Challenges (they happen in March, June, September, and December, with all new content each session), which I design to accommodate all levels of writers. Poetry Immersion is an intermediate course, and A Body of Work is advanced, but don’t let that scare you away if you are genuinely interested in the process of developing a manuscript. Works in Progress is for anyone who has writing in draft form that they would like to finish and eventually send out, and takes the form of a two week boot camp. It’s short, fun, and effective.

Get in touch via the contact page if you need help choosing the right one for you.

Yes! In addition to offering courses at Interlochen College of Creative Arts, I welcome the opportunity to give readings or artist talks, host workshops, or present at writing conferences, retreats and festivals. I especially enjoy guiding multi-day workshops—I have a long list of possible topics to choose from—and working closely with writers who may be part of an existing writing group. I generally have a handful of openings to do this each year and it’s best to get in touch as early as possible to discuss timing, fees, and how I can contribute to your programming or event.

Will you come to my library, school, workshop, conference, retreat, bookstore, etc?

I endeavor to make my offerings accessible to as many people as possible, while supporting myself and my family through this work. I can offer payment plans—just ask—but don’t currently have a means to provide scholarships. You can read more about creative financing here

Do you offer payment plans?

If you are enrolled in Poetry Immersion or A Body of Work, Holly will review your work and discuss it with you privately.

In an effort to give writers access to multiple perspectives on their work in progress, Amber Edmondson, assists Holly in providing feedback during the 21 Day Poetry Challenges. All first time students always receive feedback from Holly, however.

If you register for a portfolio review or manuscript critique, Holly will do that for you and handwritten feedback will be mailed to you in hardcopy via USPS. This approach moves the work away from the screen and mobile devices during a delicate and essential phase of the creative process. 

Who provides the feedback when I submit work for critique?

All orders of books, broadsides, or other physical items will be shipped via USPS First Class mail, which is reliable, affordable, and generally quite swift.

With very few exceptions, I ship at least twice per week. Please let me know at check-out if you are in a hurry and I will do my best to ship your order sooner.

Of course, you should let me know right away if your package doesn’t arrive and I will replace the item or provide a refund.

How will I receive my order if I've purchased a tangible item?