contact + testimonials + c.v.

email: kevinmc66 (at) gmail (dot) com

available for mentorship, poetry consultation (manuscripts and poems), and poetry workshops

with State Representative, Mike Connolly, at the 19th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards (photo taken by: Diana McLellan)

TESTIMONIALS

I’ve never had a workshop instructor put as much tailored work in as Kevin does. He spent time getting to know my voice, and where my work is trying to go. His instruction and ability to connect and motivate led me out of a bout of creative anxiety that prevented me from writing productively for nearly four years. I can’t recommend him highly enough.

—Nano Taggart, co-founding editor of Sugar House Review

***

I have known Kevin for over 15 years. When I first discovered his workshops in Cambridge, I was rudderless as a writer. I had studied creative writing in college and then put down my pen for more than 5 years. I entered into Kevin’s session rusty and apprehensive, not understanding my voice or myself as a poet. Looking back at that time and considering how far I have come since then as a writer and a person, I know for sure that I would be nowhere without Kevin and his workshops. When I first started working with him, I immediately felt seen and heard. Strange constructs and musings that came out of me that even I didn’t understand were taken seriously, explored, pushed in other directions. My talent was truly unlocked by working with him. He never questions my risks, only applauds my bravery. He never gives up on understanding what I am trying to say, only digs in more to try and decode, get in, and enrich my poems. Kevin loves the work, but also the process of the work. As much as he focuses on the words on the page, there is equal attention on ways to get there, strategies for editing, and ideas for staying inspired and being prompted by the world and the people around us. As an artist in forms both visual and verbal, he has a unique perspective and can effectively see how different forms of expression fit together and relate to each other. Kevin creates a safe and respectful environment for the poet community, focusing on integrity, inclusivity, and honoring conflicting perspectives. I always look forward to gathering for his workshops because I know that I will be part of a group of talented, kind, diverse, and serious poets, led by someone who has been and still is a mentor to me in so many ways. I am endlessly grateful for him and for the attention he has paid my work.

—Adrienne Dybes Tritschler

***

Kevin McLellan is a stellar human being: generous, thoughtful, creative and kind. He writes complex, interesting, and beautiful poems. He is an excellent teacher, knowledgeable about every aspect of poetry and publishing. Thus, Kevin is the consummate workshop leader. He sees what each participant is aiming for and encourages them to move in the direction they want to go. No imposition of “the one way” to make poems from Kevin. It’s been my experience that Kevin dives into the poems we bring and looks at them from the inside out — he inhabits them.  And from that position, he offers astute reflections on content and form. His is an open approach — both in critiquing our poems with direct/incisive comments and in listening to points of view different from his when we are deep in discussion.  Kevin attracts amazing poets who love working with him and he fosters a group atmosphere/group dynamic that is energized, respectful, sharp, and kind. I have been thrilled to meet new poets in each workshop and to develop new poet friendships. In the three years I’ve been working with Kevin, my poetry has transformed and I’m  a more confident writer. Plus the manuscript for my debut collection, which I hired him to review, was accepted for publication. What more can I say?

—Cynthia Bargar, author of Sleeping in the Dead Girl’s Room

***

I wholeheartedly recommend working with Kevin McLellan. He gives one hundred percent of his time and talent to those he works with. I’ve participated in several of Kevin’s workshops and have trusted him with providing private consultation on my first full manuscript that went on to be published. Kevin has an astute eye for form and imagery and a keen ear for voice. He often saw and heard my poems in ways I had yet to open up to. As a mentor, he’s constantly thinking of ways to expand one’s craft as well as exposure. He’s forever championing the work of his mentees and has a knack for meeting his poets where they’re at in their poetry career. My poetry has broadened in ways I never would’ve imagined thanks to Kevin and his thoughtful encouragement. 

—Christine Jones, author of Girl Without a Shirt  

***

In his workshops, Kevin cultivates a rich community of poets who excel in both their own work and their engagement with each other’s. I cherished the vibrant conversations we had there, and I still refer to the thoughtful feedback that Kevin sent me after each session, always pointing me toward the place where the poem could be transformed to a brighter clarity, and become more fully itself.

—Amanda Hope, author of The Museum of Resentments 

***

I heartily recommend Kevin McLellan as a workshop leader. Kevin is devoted to individual poets’ voices and the opportunity for each poem to reach its fullest realization. In that regard, he has nothing to do with enforcing a preferred poetic ideology. The conversations in the workshops I have taken with him are in-depth, sustained, and focused. The exercises and prompts he presents are open-ended and arouse my curiosity. Finally, he offers opportunities at the end of meeting sequences for public readings by his students, live when appropriate, online when necessary. I look forward to continuing my study with Kevin!

—David P. Miller, author of Bend in the Stair and Sprawled Asleep

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Kevin is a fantastic teacher. It is clear he reads every student’s poem repeatedly and deeply and brings his extensive knowledge of poetry to bear in identifying what’s working in a poem and what can help it do better what its author wants. And while he has his own opinions, he invites other students’ insights and ideas and enthusiastically embraces the good ones. I come out of every workshop with my mind brimming new knowledge and buzzing with new possibilities and my hand itching to write more.

—Eric Grunwald