top of page
Screen Shot 2021-08-04 at 2.37_edited.png

 10 Months to Writing Mastery 

 Apply Now for Fall 2024!

You have something important to say



At The Forge, we'll give you the creative writing tools & training to say it, at a much lower cost than a traditional MFA program. 


Here at The Forge, you bring the fire — your love of creative writing —

and we help shape you into the writer you want to be: confident, keen, and committed to a writing community.

In bi-weekly meetings and through individual mentorships, we'll stock you with craft know-how, revision skills, and writerly habits so you can forge your own literary works.


In other words, we got our MFAs so you don't have to.


In her work with hundreds of writers over 20 years, Ellen Santasiero has refined ways to help people figure out just what story they want to tell, whether it’s subtle and associative or barefaced and bodacious!

Ellen taught writing and literature at Oregon State University-Cascades for 15 years. She led  multi-day intensive  memoir writing workshops at the Bend Writers' Workshop in 2018 & 2019, and she's taught creative writing courses for  Deschutes Public Library,
Central Oregon Community College, the Central Oregon Writers Guild, Saving Grace, and Lewis & Clark College, among others. 


Ellen's  writing has appeared in literary and other magazines since 2001. She is an editor & coach, co-editor of Placed: An Encyclopedia of Central Oregon (2020), and editor of Just Say Yes to Life! Stories of Surviving after Stroke (2021). She holds an MFA from the Bennington College Writing Seminars.


People want to hear stories. They want their emotions jangled and their minds bent, their perception of existence questioned, their

reality suspended, their world taken apart and put back together again, and for that,

they need us to write.


Mike Cooper holds an MFA from Oregon State University Cascades in Bend, Oregon where he lives with his family. Mike is a writer of fiction and an editorial coach. He's been published in The Baltimore Review and several of his short stories have been finalists in Glimmer Train, The Lascaux Review, Driftwood Press, and Cutthroat. He is president of the Central Oregon Writers Guild and teaches writing at Central Oregon Community College and Oregon State University-Cascades, as well as creative writing workshops through Blank Pages Workshops, Deschutes Public Library, and COCC Community Learning.


Irene Cooper is a working writer, editor, & creative writing facilitator who believes, as Ann Richards said, The answer to life is yes. She also agrees with Annie Dillard that where writing is concerned, one must give it all, and give it all now. 

Teaching: Co-facilitator, The Forge; Faculty, OSU-Cascades MFA; Poetry Instructor, COCC Continuing Education; Instructor & Presenter, Deschutes Public Library, MUSE, Saving Grace, & elsewhere

Publications: FOUND,  domestic noir & finalist for a Next Generation Indie Book Award; Committal, speculative spy-fy novel about family; spare change, finalist for the 2022 Stafford/Hall Award for poetry, Oregon Book Awards, Literary Arts; Co-editor, Placed: An Encyclopedia of Central Oregon

Essays, stories, reviews, & poems appear in Denver Quarterly, phoebe, Witness, The Feminist Wire, The Rumpus, Beloit Poetry & elsewhere. Best of the Net Pushcart Prize nominee.


(See the Student Reading from the 2022 Program)


Irene continues to provide just the right combination of positive feedback and useful input. She brings an emotional intelligence to share with her students that helps widen our outlook in the writing world.

~Happy Writer


Irene was a fantastic teacher!

~Happy Writer

Irene Cooper is an amazing instructor. She is very encouraging but also honest. She introduced me to writing poetry, something I had never done before. I had a blast and enjoyed the other students and their poems immensely. ~R.K.




The classes that I have taken in poetry and writing from COCC [with Irene} have been better and more helpful than the extension courses I have taken at UCLA.

~Happy Writer


Mike knows how to inspire writers. He teaches craft and technique while still allowing for creative expression. As a new writer, he helped me find my voice and sharpen the message of my story. His welcoming teaching style creates an environment where every writer can grow, regardless of where they are in their journey.


Mike is a great writer and a thoughtful and knowledgeable teacher. Story structure and the elements of craft are not my favorite subjects, but he can teach these core concepts even to the hard-headed such as myself. Working with him has improved my workshopping and revision skills.


I find that creative confidence is often my biggest writing challenge. Mike’s analytical and encouraging approach motivates me to keep going and get closer to the story I want to tell.

~ S.L.

Each time I participate in a workshop or class with Mike, I come away with not only invaluable new perspectives on my writing, but also fresh insights into the human condition and the greater world around us. If you are looking to improve your writing (and/or life), you are in the right place.

~ L.B.


I loved the workshop.  It exceeded my expectations (which, to be honest, were high) in every way, especially the content, presentation, and caliber of discussions with the other participants.  

My favorite part was the generous, open, and  safe setting created by Ellen to experiment, take risks, and share work with the group.

~Ellen Ronan, Bend, OR

Ellen was terrific! Her tone and style was encouraging and inclusive. She did a great job moderating the personalities and ensuring that each writer had ample time to hear peers respond to their work.
~Philip Langdon Ross, Seattle, WA

Ellen is immensely passionate about writing and this passion seeps into the classes she teaches.

~Amanda Brown, Bend, OR

Get the Newsletter

Fire up your inbox once a month with news and happenings about the writing life. 

Thanks for subscribing!

Read the blog:Wordsmiths 

Dip into the creative writing conversation and catch up with Forge alumni

bottom of page