Brenda Leifso is a full-service editor and writer in Kingston, ON, Canada with a wide range of experience from web copy to human interest stories to literary works.
She holds an MA in English, an MFA in Writing, a BA with a double major in History and Writing, and a BA in English. She's acquired over a decade of experience substantively and copy-editing literary and trade books, literary journals, government and academic publications, and web-based texts and publications for non-profits. She's also served as managing editor, run major social media campaigns, and project- managed website development.
Brenda is a poet with publications in journals and anthologies across Canada. She's published three collections of poetry, Daughters of Men (Brick Books, 2008), Barren the Fury (Pedlar Press, 2015), and Wild Madder (Bricks Books, 2019). For monthly emails of poems and inspirations, sign up to receive her TinyLetter.
As a breath- and mindfulness-based yoga teacher, Brenda runs her own yoga studio (brendaleifsoyoga.com). Inspired by yoga and the reciprocal natural world, she also teaches writing workshops.
Editing, Writing & communication Services
Substantive and copy Editing
Substantive and copy-editing for book-length manuscripts and academic dissertations, government and academic publications, grants, journals, promotional material, reports, newsletters, and web-copy.
Writing and Rewriting
Writing and rewriting a wide variety of texts from social media campaigns to website copy to online art magazine or popular academia articles to international development-focused human impact stories.
Pipeline management for print and online publications, grant writing and editing, budget tracking.
For website development and large publishing projects.
Instructing Communications, Editing, and English Literature courses in college and undergraduate settings. Designing and implementing online and in-person courses.
Particularly for the retreat setting, I also offer creative workshops geared to getting participants outside, being still, and using their senses to help dismantle writer's block and to engage creativity.
A holistic evaluation of a manuscript with suggestions for growth.
wild madder…Out now through Brick books
Poems that stride bravely into the day-to-day, recovering the misdirected intensity at its core.
Brenda Leifso’s Wild Madder is about way-finding—through those moments in which you no longer recognize where you are. It’s about not knowing—who you are anymore, how to be in the world, how to love. It’s about what’s unspoken and about what speaks—conversation with the wild and animate world. It’s about marriage, family, motherhood—the drudgery in them and the quiet beauty.
This is lyric poetry wracked with pain, rage, and longing. In the beginning, the collection may read as though it’s been steeped in bitterness. Family can ask everything of a partner and parent and then turn around and take even more; Wild Madder feels like a note in a bottle washed up on the shores of a rough sea. But Leifso is not one to stand still or cling to darkness; in fact, we end up so far into the darkness that when she breaks through into light, it’s a conflagration of all the things that make us human.
These frank, bracingly recognizable poems will be irresistible—and cathartic—for anyone who has ever felt their life chewing them into little pieces.
“Brenda Leifso writes fearless poetry. Wild Madder turns the domestic inside out, revealing the ‘promise of thunder’ in the familiar. Hers is a generous voice, yet at the same time it is a charged one, calling us into the ‘long-toothed sun’. This is a book of fierce delights.” —Anne Simpson
What would happen if, instead of entering a world in which they are never really considered human, girls made a choice to abandon us? A response to the hopelessness of being female, Barren the Fury turns salvation myths into destruction narratives, hopelessness into rage, acquiescence into violence. Ultimately, the poems question our responses to underlying power structures - do we close the curtains and latch the door?
Brenda Leifso's first volume of poetry is a stunning debut: haunting, disturbing but resolutely beautiful. With an unflinching eye, Leifso explores the uncertainty of memory, the legacy of place, the powerful dynamics of sexuality and secrecy, and the violence inherent in family relations. Her central section, "The Theban Women," is a multi-voiced re-imagining of Euripides"s The Bacchae; this drama in verse gives voice to women long silent, and together with Leifso's more personal poems, it forms a book of exceptional power from a poet whose voice is as honest as it is beautiful.
If you are ready for a manuscript evaluation, a substantive or copy-edit, or mentoring, or if your project needs a professional writer, please contact me today.