“Mary is the most interesting thinker I know.”
–Jeremy Foss, visual artist represented by Victoria Munroe Fine Art
“Mary Rakow is a brilliant writer whose work I know will survive many of her contemporaries. She is an author who has a perfect ear for the music of the time in which she lives. I have no doubt that her work will be placed in that rare category which our ancestors once knew as ‘visionary.'”
–Ilya Kaminsky, poet, author of Dancing in Odessa and Musica Humana
“Mary Rakow writes in layers, with a great depth of feeling and sensitivity. She displays an enormous amount of insight and character in her lectures and critiques and this is what motivates me to write, stretching my abilities beyond anything I would have thought possible. Her workshop has enhanced my writing as well as my life.”
–Hilary Zelman Katersky, Los Angeles
“Mary Rakow is one of the most interesting fiction writers I know. She is fearless in her willingness to explore emotional depths and the expressive capabilities of language on the page.”
–Candace Pearson, poet, author of Hour of Unfolding
“Her masterpiece novel, The Memory Room, combines the lyric qualities of great poetry with the seductive pull of narrative. It also is an architectural wonder, a built thing whose parts carefully support the whole. Rakow is a brilliant editor and an astute reader who has much to teach all of us who aspire to make our work find its best expression on the page. She is also blessed with the gift of empathy so that when she turns her attention to a work in progress her recommendations reflect a deep and uncanny feel for one’s purposes and for the given work’s goals, even when those purposes and goals are apparently at odds with her own customary aesthetic”
–Peg Boyers, poet, author of Hard Bread
“Mary Rakow is one of the driving forces in the Los Angeles literary community. An extraordinary human being with integrity and perseverance, striving for purity and truth in our work”
–Susan Bernard, author of Marilyn Monroe and Marilyn: Intimate Exposures
“Mary Rakow is a breathtaking writer and passionate teacher.”
–Sam Dunn, author of Failing Paris and Not By Accident
“For three years, I had the privilege of being a member of Mary Rakow’s workshop in the Los Angeles area. At the first meeting, I knew that it was going to be an extraordinary experience, one that I would never have again. Mary Rakow imparts to her students a rare view of the world and the sacredness of language in it. She sets a level of excellence, in both life and writing, that is extraordinary. To participate in a class in which she is the instructor is a privilege”
–Dianne R., Los Angeles
“Mary Rakow gathers the best emerging voices and through nurturing and incisive critique helps galvanize those voices, challenging them to a deeper thought and absolute precision in language and structure while maintaining the organic. Genius is not a strong enough word for her talents as writer and mentor–she possesses an idiosyncratic brilliance whose keen, empathetic gaze makes all work under the tutelage of her pen shimmer. She holds the bar high and makes us do things we think we can’t. She makes us smarter than we ever thought we could be. She cuts through the conventions of received notions and gets writers to their own truth, their original, idiosyncratic thinking. And, of course, there is the line, word by word, the liturgy of the line. She makes it holy.”
–Julianne Ortale, author of How Sin is Unsaid, Dialogues and a Story.
“Writing is many things, sometimes joyful and exhilarating, sometimes brooding and painful….Working with Mary is one of those transcendent experiences where you begin to love language…Mary is generous and gentle…your writing becomes essential and is precisely what you want and need to say. My Tuesdays with Mary let me dig deeper and write more honestly… and perhaps become more humane, more compassionate, even in the real world.”
–Madeleine G., Los Angeles
“Her concentration is uncanny, her perceptions half-Delphi, half-master locksmith. With Mary, you get it all–mechanics and poetics, meaning and originality, the truth of the writing and the deeper truth of the soul.
–Jody Hauber, author or Everything Is What it Seems, forthcoming.
“As a veteran of numerous writing workshops and classes, my experience with Mary Rakow was utterly unique and unparalleled. … Mary’s sharp focus elevates not only the written work, but the individual behind it. The small class size fosters an atmosphere of intensity and trust. The experience will leave you feeling as if you’ve all experienced something important and sacred together. It will leave you changed as writer and human being.”
–Marrie S., Los Angeles
“I am working on my first novel … her excitement is contagious.”
–Michael S., San Francisco
“I’m a beginner who decided at last minute to take an introductory writing workshop by Mary Rakow this past fall. I so enjoyed the experience that I decided to continue … My writing (and confidence) has greatly improved as a result. ..her obvious passion for writing and her enthusiasm rubs off on her students…Additionally, she creates a supportive environment in which a writer can feel safe… She is perceptive, with an endlessly creative mind…. Her effectiveness is demonstrated by obvious, incremental improvements in every student.”
–Bryan G., San Francisco
“Mary’s style is marked by both compassion and precise, invaluable insight.”
–Kathryn M., San Francisco
Through teaching or reciprocal peer review, Rakow has worked with writers, poets, essayists and memorists who have received the Whiting Writer’s Award, the Grolier Prize, the Tupelo Press/Dorset Prize, a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship, Finalist in Fiction for PEN/West, and Honorable Mention, Best American Essays.
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