Jonathan J.G. McClure

Jonathan “J.G.” McClure holds an MFA from the University of California – Irvine. His poetry and prose appear widely, including in Best New Poets, Gettysburg Review, Green Mountains Review, and The Pinch, among others. He is the author of the poetry collection The Fire Lit & Nearing (Indolent Books 2018) and the translator of Swimming (Valparaíso Edicciones 2019). His work has been nominated for awards and honors including the Pushcart Prize, Best American Essays, and Best of the Net. He is a book reviewer for several journals including Colorado Review and Rain Taxi, and the former Craft Essay Editor and Assistant Poetry Editor of Cleaver Magazine.

A former instructor at UC-Irvine, Jonathan has taught a variety of courses in poetry and prose and edited literary magazines for four years. Today, he works as a writing consultant in Washington, D.C., where he is an active member of the city’s literary community.

Student Feedback for Jonathan

Jonathan’s feedback on each piece was thoughtful, objective, and helped immensely in my revision process. This is one of the best classes I’ve taken at Jill Thompson

The Literary Essay course was delightful. Jonathan’s knowledge, getting to the point with his comments, treating his students with attention and respect, and his sense of humor are at the core of his tutoring gift. The week on building strong sentences was of an absolutely revelatory quality for me. I’ve had a great writing experience with Jonathan again and wish to take the next step if possible. Please share this info with him. Joanna Kania

The course material was excellent. It kept me engaged and learning throughout. This class was so helpful because it focused not just on individual poems but on seeing work (your own and others’) in terms of a collection. The class work and generous attention of the teacher were invaluable. I wish there were more classes like this! Mary Paulson

Jonathan’s feedback was timely, insightful and presented in a way that made me want to strive to improve. I highly recommend Jonathan McClure as a creative writing instructor and “The Literary Essay” as a course that can refresh your take on the personal essay. Annie Abbott

Jonathan is one of the strongest instructors at His prompts are clear and flexible, he offers an eclectic range of poets to illustrate each element, and–most importantly–his feedback is extensive, specific, and professional. He brings close reading to each work each week. Nina Goss

The course readings were excellent – inspiring and varied, often captivating and sometimes bizarre. Between this class and the other I took with Jonathan (The Literary Essay) I feel like I have an infinitely better grasp on what’s going on in the world of contemporary literature, plus types of writings that were developed and built upon in the past. The written lectures were engaging and very readable; they made the assignments clear and definitely enriched my understanding of the readings and their relevance to the unit at hand.

I can’t overstate how insightful and useful Jonathan’s comments were. He always went very in-depth and gave very nuanced feedback. I actually downloaded all of his comments to everybody in the class so I can use them to help with my own writing. Jonathan clearly saw what we were trying to do with each of our pieces and helped bridge the gap between what was in our heads and what was actually being conveyed to the reader. He was always kind and encouraging but didn’t hold back on the constructive criticism (on both the macro and micro level), which is why I was happy to pay for a second course; I’m involved in a writing group with friends but we all tend to mutually shy away from criticism. Laura DeFazio

I thought the teacher was talented–what a great writer!–polite, well meaning, intelligent and diligent. The lectures were extremely well written and put together, and the exercises varied and interesting. I can’t find any fault at all! Becky Mitchell

This was the best class I’ve taken! Jonathan gave us detailed lessons, packed with useful information. He gave us assignments designed to increase our understanding and they did…Jonathan was generous with his feedback, pointing out both the strengths of our work and opportunities to strengthen it. He always explained why something wasn’t working or could be improved and gave examples of how. His suggestions really helped me to see how I could improve, not just that particular poem, but others as well. He was encouraging as well as constructive. He was excellent in every regard. Just want to thank you for this great learning experience. Barbara Ireland

Jonathan was an amazing teacher. The level of critique he offered was way beyond what I thought I’d get in an online course. He was a close and careful reader and his comments on our work were sensitive and insightful. GREAT lectures, clear, concise but in depth, with fantastic poetic examples. Yes, very happy. Chloe Coventry

This course has been fabulous: each week a great lecture with a twist, splendid sample of poems from known and less known poets, supportive and constructive tutorial feedback, phenomenal language. I’m still savoring the course contents. I appreciate your sense of humor, too ;). I’ve loved every minute spent here. I’m definitely taking part two of this course (or its sequel). In the meantime, I’ll read your poems (I wish you’d shared more of them during the course). Looking forward to writing with again. Joanna Kania

I’ve taken many classes with and Jonathan’s class was one of the best. The material was interesting, his feedback always very thorough and to the point. It was obvious that he put a lot of thought, time and effort into making this class satisfying and engaging. Ariela L Zucker

I find you guys run great classes and this was no exception! I felt Jonathan was very thoughtful in setting up the material. He was engaged, thorough, and responded in a timely fashion. Andrea Sauder

Lovely! Very well structured and fascinating course. Very! Felt that [Jonathan] knew his stuff and felt safe with the commentary. Maren Bodenstein