Old Mill Inn, Hatfield, MA | November 11 – 14, 2016

falls novOriginally built as a grist mill in 1870, the Mill has seen many transformations, from gun machining shop to office building to its most recent incarnation in 2006 as a luxury bed and breakfast. The Old Mill Inn sits on the bank of the Mill River in Hatfield, where you can hear the sound of the rushing river and waterfall. All rooms and suites are tastefully appointed with antiques reflecting the style of the Victorian era through the early 20th century. The open beam construction is reminiscent of loft-style apartments and New England barn conversions, and each room is unique. The Old Mill offers WiFi access. Along with elegant and comfortable surroundings, participants will enjoy delicious, gourmet-style meals.


Here, you will work with renowned poet-editor-educators Joan Houlihan, Stephen Motika, Martha Rhodes and Ellen Dore Watson.


joan-320Joan Houlihan is the author of five books of poetry: Ay (Tupelo Press, 2014), The Us, named a “must-read” book of 2009 by Massachusetts Center for the Book, The Mending Worm, winner of the Green Rose Award from New Issues Press and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays. A fifth collection, Shadow-feast, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2018. 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 serves on the poetry faculty  in the Lesley University Low-Residency MFA Program and is Professor of Practice in poetry at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Houlihan is founder and director of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.

motika2Stephen Motika, poet and publisher,  is the author of Western Practice, published by Alice James Books in 2012. He is also the author of two chapbooks, Arrival and at Mono (2007) and In the Madrones (2011), and editor of Tiresias: The Collected Poems of Leland Hickman (2009). His articles and poems have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, At Length, BOMB, The Brooklyn Review, Eleven Eleven, Maggy, The Poetry Project NewsletterPoets.orgVanitas, among other publications. A 2010-2011 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Resident, he has taught at Naropa University and in the Stonecoast MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine. He is the program director at Poets House and the publisher of Nightboat Books.

marthaMartha Rhodes is the director of Four Way Books, a literary press in New York City and author of five poetry collections: The Thin Wall (University of Pittsburgh, 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.


ellenEllen Doré Watson is director of the Poetry Center at Smith College and poetry editor of The Massachusetts Review. Her most recent book is a translation of Adelia Prado’s work, Ex-Voto, from Tupelo Press. She is author of Dogged Hearts from Tupelo Press, This Sharpening, from Tupelo Press, and Ladder Music, winner of the New England/New York Award from Alice James, which will publish her fifth collection in 2018. Ellen’s work has appeared widely in literary journals, including The American Poetry Review, Tin House, and The New Yorker. Among her honors are a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant, a Rona Jaffe Writers Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship.In addition to teaching at Smith College, she is core faculty in the Drew University Low-Res MFA Program in Poetry & Translation, and has for many years led a generative writing group in Northampton.

How it Works

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

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.

stove with peeps


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, November 11 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 Old Mill Inn
87 School Street
Hatfield, MA 01038

I-91 North
Driving from I-90 North exit 21 and make right turn at top of ramp. Take 2nd left onto Dwight Street just after the Northeast Solar company. Stay on road bear right at turn and continue straight. There will be a water tower on right and the road will fork shortly after. Bear to right on School Street, which puts you into our driveway; there will be a large yellow mill building straight ahead.

I-91 South
Driving from I-90 South exit 21 and make left on Massachusetts Route 5/10 North King Street. At the first left, Elm Street, make a left onto the overpass. Take 2nd left onto Dwight Street just after the Northeast Solar company. Stay on road bear right at turn and continue straight. There will be a water tower on right and the road will fork shortly after. Bear to right on School Street, which puts you into our driveway; there will be a large yellow mill building straight ahead.


Distance to city: 4 miles

Distance to city: 11 miles

Local Airport

Hartford, CT (BDL-Bradley Intl.) 30 miles
Directions to property:
91 north to exit 21 and follow directions above