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Work with Me


I teach creative writing, poetry writing, and composition/expository writing to undergraduates. As a freelance teaching artist, I also provide a variety of mentoring and collaboration, specifically Poetry Mentoring, Manuscript Lab!, Tutoring, and Submission Consultations.  

Here are some teaching testimonials.

Poetry Mentoring

Connect with the joy and meaning in your project.


I provide one-on-one mentoring over Zoom that focuses on generating new work.  I'll provide prompts tailored to your project, revisions, line edits, and guidance on finishing projects.  Experimentation, play, joy, and rigor invigorates this creative process.  


By providing accountability and deadlines with clarity, you will joyfully complete your project. 

Notebook and Pen



Everyone needs an editor, someone who reads your manuscript with both heart and skill. As an editor at The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective I have midwifed many books into the world by working closely with the poets.  I can do the same for you.


You will receive an editorial letter that outlines major themes generated in your manuscript, including suggestions of how and where you might take them to a higher level. You will also receive line edits for individual poems.


Offering a particular focus on revisions towards cohesiveness, I will make suggestions for ordering the book, creating sections, writing new additional poems, and reviewing poem titles all to create the strongest structure for your book.  


“Ellen Kombiyil is a meticulous poetry editor who also sees the forest for the trees. When we were working on my book of poems, Geography of Tongues, I was really vexed by the order of my manuscript. Ellen suggested we lay out the poems on my living room floor and move them around until it felt like they were in the right place. That aerial view really helped in shaping the arc of my book. We then read all the poems aloud, making sure they all flowed well. Ellen also suggested I add a poem that I had discarded because she felt it was powerful and fit in with the themes of the book. I'm so glad I did, as that poem got a lot of love at readings/other events. I share all of this to illustrate how hands-on Ellen is, and that she will do whatever it takes to help make your manuscript the best and strongest it can be. I highly recommend her!”


— Shikha Malaviya

Manuscript Lab!



The best writing is structurally sound and made up of building blocks that can be mastered. During my tutoring, you will receive a series of micro-assignments to build your mastery in these building blocks.  You will gain confidence in your ability to get your ideas fully on the page, combined with structural guidance on how to weave together compelling sentences, paragraphs, leading to an entire essay.


In addition to learning technical skills, you will be encouraged to use your own voice in exposition, relating your writing to a topic of personal meaning either for yourself or the larger society.

My students often win awards for their writing and I can help you achieve success as well, with my experienced and steady approach.


Submission Consultation

Gain insight into the mind of an editor and get answers to your questions on how and where to submit your poetry.


In a 30-minute Zoom consultation, we will discuss your work, your goals, and get you set up to start sending your work out on a regular schedule.


At the end of the consult, you will receive a tailored list of poetry markets and a roadmap for getting your work out there.

Compass on map
Type Writer
Submission Consultation


“Ellen is a wise, perceptive editor whose insights at every level made my book so much better. Whether wrangling the large conceptual framework of the manuscript, considering the sequencing of poems, or reworking the inner mechanisms of a line, she has an uncanny way of getting right to the core of things. She coaxes growth with all the right questions and is generous with her mind-expanding suggestions, while always centering the poet’s own voice and judgment.”
— Minal Hajatwala
“This syllabus! I was floored as soon as I opened the document. The time and energy that you put into crafting this course shows from the first line. I especially appreciate how you translate such a conceptual idiom like listening into a concrete pedagogical approach that begins and ends with an interrogation of poetic voice and the lyric ‘I.’”
— Professor at Hunter College
"Thank you for the kindness and respect you have towards all your students! You where always so understanding to our challenges and doubts."
— Expository Writing Student
"Ellen did a wonderful job, carefully reviewing and providing helpful and insightful feedback for my college personal statement. The suggestions helped me better organize and structure the essay. Her feedback allowed me to express myself with greater coherence and impact."
— Ranesh K., college applicant 
"Professor Kombiyil is one of the best english teachers I have ever had. I truly feel that my writing has improved a tremendous amount as a result of her class!"
— Expository Writing Student
"I've learned so much about my own writing style, how to critique my writing, and what I can improve on. I'm so glad I got to know her and learn from her. What a great human!!!!"
— Expository Writing Student
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