Jo Pitkin


A pioneer in my writing life, I was among the first generation to earn a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. I was the first woman elected editor of my college literary magazine. I was the first paid staff member of the feminist poetry cooperative, Alice James Books. Decades before the “gig” economy, the advent of the Internet, and the pandemic lockdown, I started my own freelance writing business. While living in Massachusetts, I helped establish a thriving community arts center, and I later launched the first state-funded literary reading series and the first poetry book club where I live now.

Having forged a path on my own, I know what it’s like to founder in the current, to seek sure footing. From experience, I know the value of encouragement and guidance from friends, peers, and cherished teachers. I believe strongly in paying it forward.


In 2019, I became a teaching artist with The Poetry Barn. I enjoy constructing my own workshops—including lessons, models, prompts, and additional resources—and sharing my experience and knowledge with poets at all levels, from beginners to more experienced writers. Here are the online, asynchronous group workshops I have taught thus far:

  • First and Last: Fabricating Your Poem's Frame
  • Mining Magic from the Mundane: Writing Poems About the Common, Ordinary, and Everyday
  • The Potent, Pliable I: Unmasking the Persona Poem
  • Strumming the Lyre: Women Poets from Sappho to Sapphire Reclaim the Lyric
  • Crossing the Borderline: The Balancing Act of the Prose Poem
  • Plague, Pestilence, Pandemic: Writing Poems in a Time of Affliction

Private Mentoring

I also offer one-on-one mentorships privately or through The Poetry Barn. I’ve had the pleasure of providing in-depth feedback on individual poems, chapbook manuscripts, and book manuscripts for those seeking constructive, sensitive critiques. I’ve worked with writers across the United States and in England, India, and Denmark.