Colrain Classic: April 8-11, 2022

The Colrain Manuscript Classic is a highly focused, 3-day conference designed for poets with manuscripts in progress–book-length or chapbook-length. The Classic features in-depth pre-conference work and candid, realistic evaluation and feedback from nationally-known poets, editors and publishers. In preparation, participants work at home on the pre-conference assignments and then, in the workshop, review, arrange, and winnow their work based on the pre-conference work. In addition to the manuscript preparation workshop and editor sessions, there will be an editorial Q&A, and an after-conference strategy session.


Friday:  you will receive your Zoom link via email at 4 pm EST on Friday, April 8. Introductions among participants and faculty take place.  We’ll talk about backgrounds in poetry, goals and expectations. Faculty will present an overview of the weekend.

Saturday: workshops begin at 11 am EST.

Sunday:  editorial sessions begin at 11 am EST.

Monday:  wrap-up session and publication strategies going forward.  11am EST.


Joan Houlihan is the author of six books of poetry, most recently, It Isn’t a Ghost if it Lives in Your Chest (2021). In addition to publishing in a wide array of leading journals, including Poetry, Boston Review, Harvard Review and Gulf Coast, she has served as critic and editor at a series of online magazines, most recently Contemporary Poetry Review. Her critical essays are archived online at Her work has been anthologized in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (University of Iowa Press) and The Book of Irish-American Poetry–Eighteenth Century to Present (University of Notre Dame Press). She has taught at Columbia University and Smith College and currently teaches in the Lesley University Low-Residency MFA Program and is Part-time Professor of Practice in Poetry at Clark University, both in Massachusetts. Houlihan is founder and director of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.

Martha Rhodes is the publisher of Four Way Books, a literary press in New York City where she edits and publishes award-winning poets including Gregory Pardlo (Pulitzer Prize), Rigoberto Gonzalez (Lenore Marshall Award and Lambda Award) and Yona Harvey (Kate Tufts Discovery Award). She is author of five poetry collections: The Thin Wall (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), The Beds (Autumn House Press), Mother Quiet (Zoo Press, 2004), Perfect Disappearance (winner of The Green Rose Prize, New Issues, 2000), and At the Gate (Provincetown Arts, 1995). She has published widely in magazines and journals including Agni, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and TriQuarterly, and her work has appeared in such anthologies as Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women, The New American Poets, Last Call, and many others. Martha has taught at Emerson College, New School University, UC at Irvine, and currently teaches at Sarah Lawrence and the Warren Wilson MFA Program.


Poet and translator Ellen Doré Watson is the former director of The Poetry Center at Smith College and is currently the Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence at Smith. She also serves as poetry and translation editor of The Massachusetts Review. Her fifth full-length collection, pray me stay eager, is available from Alice James Books. Earlier books include Dogged Hearts (Tupelo Press, 2010), This Sharpening (also from Tupelo), and two from Alice James, We Live in Bodies and Ladder Music, winner of the New England/New York award. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Tin House, Orion, and The New Yorker. Among her honors are a Rona Jaffe Writers Award, fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and to Yaddo, and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship. Her best-known works of translation are The Alphabet in the Park and Ex-Voto, both by Brazilian Adélia Prado. Watson also teaches in the Drew University Low-Residency MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation and has for many years led a generative writing group in Northampton, MA.

Ross White is the director of Bull City Press, an independent publisher focused primarily on chapbooks of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in Durham, NC. At Bull City Press, he has edited collections by Michael Bazzett, Leila Chatti, Tiana Clark, Kate Daniels, Michael Martone, C. T. Salazar, Connie Voisine, and many others. He is the author of Charm Offensive (Eyewear Publishing, forthcoming), winner of the Sexton Poetry Prize, and three chapbooks, How We Came Upon the Colony (Unicorn Press, 2014), The Polite Society (Unicorn Press, 2017), and Valley of Want (Unicorn Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, and The Southern Review, among others. He is the host of two podcasts, The Chapbook and Trivia Escape Pod, and a Teaching Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he teaches creative writing, grammar, literary editing and publishing, and podcasting. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswhite.

How to Apply

Before you apply, please visit our Conference Criteria page to make certain this conference is right for you. Once you understand the nature and goals of the conference, please submit an application.

Conference Fee

Following successful application, the registration fee is $1,000.00.