Praise for Melanie as a Teacher and Mentor
"Thank you for the reminder to be OK with being messy and imperfect. Having spent so much time in the past several months deep in the revision process, I'd forgotten the importance of being gentle with myself and the process of generating new work. What kind and generous words you gave us this morning. I'll take them to heart."
“Not only did I become more knowledgeable, I also became confident enough to try writing poetry. Melanie has a gift for thoughtful encouragement. I never felt “less than” or patronized. A true gift for a workshop leader!”
"Thank you for organizing the workshop so well and for making it all so interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was work that stretched me -- the reading, the writing, the listening, and the revising – precisely what I hoped for."
“Thank you so much for your wonderful instruction about poetry. I am amazed by the amount I learned. I am so grateful for your high expectations….I am especially thankful for your thoughtful comments and readings of my work and others. I will cherish your comments as I go forward.”
“I have learned more in four evenings than in many years of self-guided reading—just a huge eye-opening class and instructor.”
“Melanie is a talented writer and teacher. I've been in several of her poetry classes and have been impressed consistently with her ability to keep each hour interesting and meaningful in a large class with students of diverse backgrounds and ability levels. She has an amazing ability to facilitate respectful and useful group critique and discussion, and she responds to students' writing with sincerity, high standards, and respect for each student's ability level and need for encouragement. I feel lucky to have had the chance to learn from her.”
“It was obvious from the beginning that Melanie knows the field and is really effective at providing commentary that was well modulated for a group of ‘generalists.’”
“I learned so much—it was rigorous, engaging, and challenging. Melanie was a fantastic workshop leader.”
"Excellent introduction to the inner working and mechanics of poetry. Great examples illustrating different techniques, strategies, approaches. I especially gained insight re: line breaks and enjambment. Very accepting and encouraging instructor…Written feedback by instructor on weekly poems was wonderful and very helpful.”
“Melanie was organized and prepared yet extremely adept at responding to individual needs and learning styles.”
"I want to thank you for the time you spend on my poems. It is VERY MUCH appreciated and I also want you to know what a great teacher you are. The (large) size of the class I'm sure what daunting, but you handled it all with great finesse and kept things on track to the point that we (I) actually learned what the class description said we would learn."
“[Melanie] was extremely supportive and encouraging.
“Melanie sparkles as a teacher, bringing the complex world of poetry to life, pushing her students toward the full potential of poetry as a vital art. Her feedback was demanding but very, very helpful.”
“I was hoping that this class would provide interesting discussion, useful critique, and a way for me to get back into writing poetry. It succeeded in all those ways. The workshops especially were a great new experience and different than anything I’d done before. It was great to meet a new group of people interested in writing, and also to make a connection to a new artistic community. I’m looking forward to being involved in future classes, events, and opportunities that Melanie shares.”"Thank you for the class! It was a great motivation to get me back into the habit of writing!"
"The class was just great and you are a wonderful teacher."
"I got a rejection today for a poem I wrote in our class - but it was a PERSONAL rejection - and a really nice one (they said they had 700 poetry submissions for this issue!). I'm not used to personal rejections which say nice things about my writing, so even though it wasn't a complete success, it helped me. And you were the catalyst, so thank you!"
"The way Melanie broke down my "pre-packaged" discomfort with poetry in general was very helpful. I never felt condescended to, and I always felt encourages to ask questions, try, and share."
"I really enjoyed your class! I feel like my writing is much stronger and I am even more inspired to write."
"Melanie is a treasure—a quirky, committed, talented treasure. She was/is as good or better than anyone I had at my Ivy League university. Most notable, she cares.”
"I love your energy and enthusiasm. I appreciate how hard you work to make this (class) a positive learning experience for all."
"Your Introduction to Poetry was a really helpful class for me - really opened up a "new" genre for me in a way I'd felt was closed to me before. I no longer feel that way. I'm looking forward to reading (and writing!) more poetry. Thank you!"
"On a whim, I sent [my poem] to an outfit that accepts work from new poets. I got accepted! First submission, first acceptance! Thank you for guiding me on my path!"
"Melanie Figg has helped me grow my skills as a poet. I admire her ability to review my poems and find the weak lines, a place where I have said more than I need to say, or a word that doesn’t quite capture what I want to express. It is a pleasure to work with her."
“I appreciated Melanie’s energy in class and thoughtfulness in providing feedback – both verbal and written. I liked how she was not punitive – but accepting of individual student’s paces."