“Carmen is an extraordinary teacher. Her attention to detail, open mindedness, and willingness to understand and work with the space that a student may be coming from are truly outstanding. I have been working with Carmen on a complex book and she has pried out ideas from me that I did not even realize I had! Working with Carmen is an opportunity that any serious student of writing should grasp with both hands!”–Abhishek Agarwal, Particle Physicist
“Carmen Bugan has an incredible ability to see straight into the soul, to express the most difficult of emotions, to pull out images from where they lie buried. Learning with Carmen is like homecoming, when a good friend says to you, ‘’come, let’s have ice tea under this blooming cherry tree and watch the sun dazzle the buds.’’ Carmen’s classes leave you with burning fires, each time she hands you the torch. Carmen helped me further develop my writing skills, and now my poetry collection will be published.”–Julianne Di Nenna, Geneva Writers’ Group
“Over the past fifteen years, Carmen Bugan has been one of our most admired and sought after teachers at the Geneva Writers’ Group. Her workshops are both highly instructive and deeply inspiring. The individual attention she is able to bring to a poet’s work is precise and encouraging. She is a born teacher…and poet!”–Susan Tiberghien, Founder and  President of the Geneva Writers’ Group
“I’ve had the pleasure of attending five workshops by Carmen Bugan – three in person and two online. One of my two favorite things about attending her workshops is that you walk away feeling that you understand and were understood – because she always leaves space for questions and clarification. Carmen somehow figures out what you’re trying to ask, even when you cannot find the right words yourself. My second favorite thing is that I’ve always come away with concrete examples (of the concept at hand) by other poets – and, thanks to her motivating and intriguing prompts, something to work on.”–Elizabeth Boquet
“A remarkable poet, Carmen is also a gifted instructor. She is able, quite naturally, to communicate the precision and depth with which she experiences language and to inspire students to do the same. Her sensitivity extends to all her interactions and teaching methods and we come away from her classes not only better writers but also refreshed and enriched in spirit.”–Barbara Truan
“Before working with Carmen, I was incapable of finishing a single short story. The pattern was always the same. I would enthusiastically start to write, but a few pages in, I would stop out of boredom, or convince myself that the exercise was pointless because no one would care about what I had to say. That has all changed! Under Carmen’s mentorship, I’ve broken this cycle, completing two full-length short stories, and currently working on a third. Carmen’s feedback is constructive and respectful, but also direct and honest. With her guidance and expertise, I am finally learning to cultivate my own voice.”–Silvana Boggia
“I am incredibly fortunate to have found Carmen as my memoir teacher. We met at Gotham and from the first class I realized that the breadth and generosity of her teaching would give my uncertain self a way to put thoughts and memories together to make the writing I wanted. In class, Carmen the poet gave us readings and analysis, and in-depth feedback for the pieces I turned in. She has opened up a new world of expression to me.”–Angela Marvin
“My experience with Carmen Bugan’s teaching was through a wonderful course she taught which focused on poetry and hope. She wove poetry of great poets into prompts and conversations that were skillfully managed on Zoom. How she made the group feel as if we were all in the same room and had known each other for years, I don’t know. But shortly into the first class, we felt the kind of group trust and joy that springs from working with a leader who is both intellectually rigorous and emotionally kind.
Goals were clearly stated and still flexible enough that we could follow our inspiration. I “got poems” which were written specifically for the course, but also “got poems” that came gradually after the course ended. Carmen took the time to give extensive, marvelous feedback on the poems I submitted. (She must have been up working through many nights, considering the size of the class.)
A real testament to Carmen is that the class was full of students who had previously taken courses from her. A group ranging from Europe to Japan to the U.S. – they were highly perceptive and engaged. Obviously, Carmen has professional and personal qualities that draw people from many backgrounds.”–Kate Dickson
“When I was first placed with Carmen through Gotham Writers, I was intimidated by her deep academic, cross-genre writing accomplishments and beautiful work. I was worried that my writing may not be “sophisticated” enough as a young poet who is heavily influenced by the accessible poets of our time like Tony Hoagland. Carmen proved my worries wrong as she immediately knocked my socks off with her appreciation of my existing work and her talent for sharpening it. She continues to grow me as a writer by encouraging me to study the greats, opening my craft as a modern writer.”–Virginia Rider

How would you describe this course to a friend?
“Imagine sitting around with the kindest, funniest, smartest woman you know and talking about words, their meaning, and their ability to reflect life.” (Anonymous review of a 10 week Poetry Course)

“Carmen Bugan 27 May 2022

Carmen Bugan’s workshop on memoir was so beautifully compacted and animated that it is impossible to do it justice in a few words. It offered a rich and wide-ranging presentation and a lively discussion. It led from Plato, and life as an act of remembering, to Dante drinking from the river Lethe and the loss of memory.

We were asked to examine our relationship to memory at different levels – personal, cultural, historic, literary – and its role in our writing. Other questions were: how do we access memory? What part do sensory observations play in our writing and how do they connect to memory? Do we use memory to make sense of the puzzle of our lives?

Exciting writing exercises were proposed. One involved a line from Seamus Heaney: “Sing yourself to where the singing comes from.” Another concerned the role of touchable objects (e.g. an aquamarine ring) that trigger memory fragments of emotional and spiritual significance. A citation, also from Seamus Heaney, showed how connecting a humble everyday object or act to an intimate memory potentiates the impact on the reader.

Asked about fictionalizing a memoir, Carmen evoked the writer’s responsibility toward truth, the self, the persons portrayed in the story, and the reader. To put truth in print demands courage. Carmen is a true paragon, exemplified in her writing and her life.

With her broad, adventuresome experience and big, perceptive heart Carmen Bugan represents a vast array of knowledge, feelings, dreams and aspirations. That she managed to transmit all this and more in a mere hour-and-a-half makes her a truly inspiring teacher. How ingenious of her to have chosen Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory and mother of the nine muses, as her ally!

Thank you also to Steven Antalics, Caroline Thonger and the Steering Committee for making this GWG Zoom event possible.”–Jo Christiane Ledakis
I have been teaching creative writing for over 18 years. Currently I am on the teaching faculty at the Gotham Writers Workshop in NYC, where I offer courses in memoir writing, introduction to creative writing, as well as book doctoring and private tutorials in poetry, essay, and memoir.  I teach for the Geneva Writers Group and for the Poetry School in London, and I recently joined the Oxford Writing Mentors at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing
In addition, I offer private mentoring on book-length manuscripts and smaller projects. I am passionate about helping people find their writing voices and empowering them to find solace and strength in words. If you’d like to work with me on any writing project, please get in touch through the Contact page. 
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