White House Inn, Wilimington, Vermont | May 15 – 18, 2015

bridgetoinnBuilt in 1915 as a summer home for local lumber baron Martin Brown, the inn is steeped in Vermont history. It has 14 working fireplaces, exquisite molding and woodwork, original hand-printed wall-paper, original light fixtures, a hidden staircase, an original servant call system (and a haunted bank vault!). Each of the inn’s 16 guest rooms has a private bath, and, thanks to the its hilltop location, there is a view from every room. Along with elegant and comfortable surroundings, participants will enjoy delicious, gourmet-style meals.


Here, you will work with renowned poet-editor-educators Joan Houlihan, Fred Marchant, Martha Rhodes and Jeffrey Shotts.



joan-320Joan Houlihan is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Ay (Tupelo Press). Her poetry 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 is a contributing critic for the Contemporary Poetry Review, associate editor for Tupelo Quarterly, and author of a series of essays on contemporary American poetry archived online at bostoncomment.com. She has taught at Columbia University and Emerson College and currently teaches in the Lesley University Low-Residency MFA Program and Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Houlihan is founder and director of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.



marchantFred Marchant‘s sixth collection of poetry, The Day Later, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2016. He is also the co-translator (with Nguyen Ba Chung) of From a Corner of My Yard, poetry by the Vietnamese poet Tran Dang Khoa, published in 2006 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam and editor of Another World Instead: The Early Poems of William Stafford, 1937-1947 (Graywolf Press, 2008). Fred is Professor Emeritus at Suffolk University in Boston. He is a longtime teaching affiliate of The William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and has taught workshops at various places across the country, including the Veterans Writing Group in the San Francisco Bay area and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Over the past several years he has frequently been a teaching faculty member in the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.



marthaMartha Rhodes is the director of Four Way Books, a literary press in New York City and author of four poetry collections: 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. She is core faculty at the Colrain Conferences.



shottsJeffrey Shotts is currently Executive Editor of Graywolf Press  where he has worked for nearly fifteen years with such writers as Elizabeth Alexander, Mary Jo Bang, Charles Baxter, Eula Biss, Robert Bly, Mark Doty, Nick Flynn, Tess Gallagher, Dana Gioia, Albert Goldbarth, Linda Gregg, Eamon Grennan, Marilyn Hacker, Donald Hall, Matthea Harvey, Tony Hoagland, Fanny Howe, Carl Phillips, D.A. Powell, Claudia Rankine, Charles Simic, Tom Sleigh, Tracy K. Smith, Dorothea Tanning, Tomas Tranströmer, Natasha Trethewey, and Kevin Young, among many others. Authors whose books Shotts has acquired and edited have received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism and in poetry, and many other awards and honors. Shotts is also currently a Poetry Editor for Post Road, a bi-annual literary magazine headquartered in Boston. He is on the advisory boards of the Literary Arts Institute at the College of Saint Benedict, and a national advisory board member of Essay Press and Whit Press. He has served as an adviser and on informational panels for the Bush Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Poetry Foundation. Shotts has taught or lectured on poetry and editing at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the College of Saint Benedict, Hamline University, the University of Houston, the University of Iowa, The Loft Literary Center, Macalester College, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Sarah Lawrence College, Vermont College, and Washington University. Shotts is also on the continuing faculty of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference in Massachusetts. He is a Visiting Instructor in the English Department at Macalester College, where he teaches courses in creative writing and on literary publishing.

How it Works

Workshops provide intensive focus on manuscript preparation (selecting, ordering, revising, and swapping out poems), then poets meet with the decision-makers.

Pre-Conference Work

Prior to the conference, and following registration, poets will be given pre-conference assignments. Poets will complete their assignments and bring them to the conference for review with workshop leaders. These assignments are designed to help the poet prepare both the manuscript and its presentation to an editor, by helping them focus on the elements that make their collections unique.

Step by Step Upon Arrival

Arrival at the conference location on Friday between 5 and 6 pm. After the 7 pm dinner there are introductions, an overview of the weekend, and participants will be assigned to their workshop leaders and editors for the weekend. On Saturday at 9 am, manuscript preparation workshops begin. Focus is on reviewing the pre-conference assignments, ordering, revising, and/or swapping poems out. Editors arrive around 6 pm and join the participants for dinner at 7 pm. There will be an after-dinner Q&A with the editors. On Sunday, from 9 an until around 5 pm, poets will meet with the editors in small groups determined by the workshop leaders and have one-on-one consultation within that group. There is an after-dinner reading by participants.


On Monday after breakfast, poets meet with workshop leaders for a final wrap-up session to review editorial input and to help devise goals appropriate to guiding the collection toward publication. The conclusion of the Monday recap session marks the end of the conference. Departure begins at 11 am. Please note that we will make all reservations and arrangements for lodging and meals for participants and will request any special dietary needs before the conference.


Plan to arrive on Friday, May 15 between 5 and 6 pm. Dinner is at 7 pm, after which introductions and preparation for the next day take place. The conference will begin with breakfast at 8 am on Saturday and last till 11 am on Monday.

How to Apply

Before you apply, please visit the Conference Criteria page to make certain this conference is right for you. If so, submit an application.

Conference Fee

Following successful application, the registration fee is $1,375.00. This includes:

Participants will receive pre-conference manuscript preparation assignments several weeks before the conference begins.


The White House Inn is located on 178 Route 9 East in Wilmington, Vermont.

If you are driving: The nearest major intersection is I-91 and Rt. 2 in northwest MA. From north on I-91 to exit 2 in Brattleboro, turn right on to Route 9 West and proceed 18 miles. The Inn is located at the junctions of Routes 9 and 100, 20 minutes west of Brattleboro. The Inn is on the right, just before entering Wilmington. When coming from the West head straight through the traffic light in Wilmington and proceed for 3/4 of a mile and the Inn is on the left. From New York City, Connecticut, Long Island I-95 to New Haven; I-91 North to Exit #2 in Brattleboro, Right on Vermont Route 9 West and proceed 18 miles. 4.5 hours. From the Boston area US Route 2 to Greenfield to I-91 North to Exit #2 in Brattleboro. Right on Vermont Route 9 West and proceed 18 miles. 2.5 hours. From New Jersey, Albany N.Y. Thruway to Albany Exit #23. After toll take I-787 by-pass to N.Y. Route 7 to Vermont Route 9 East to Wilmington. Head straight through the traffic light in Wilmington and proceed for 3/4 of a mile and the Inn is on the left.

If you are flying: The best airport for arrival is Hartford’s Bradley International Airport which is about an hour and a half away. (Albany Airport is about the same distance.) There is a shuttle service straight from the airport to the White House. It is called Thompson Transportation. (800) 526-8143. You must make arrangements directly with them for the pick up at Bradley, and please do so several days in advance. NOTE: You may share a van with other participants for a substantial discount, so please let us know if you wish to coordinate with other participants who are arriving at Bradley. Make sure and send us your ETA. And don’t forget to arrange for a return shuttle on the final day of the conference, preferably after 11am.

If you are arriving by train: There is an Amtrak station in Brattleboro, Vermont, 20 minutes from Wilmington. From there, you can take a cab to the inn. See the Amtrak web site for schedules and rates. From NYC it takes about 5 hours by train to Brattleboro.