The Colrain Manuscript Classic is a highly focused, four-day Intensive designed for poets with manuscripts in progress. 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 pre-conference assignments and then, in the workshop, review, arrange, and winnow their work based on the pre-conference work. (Note: the pre-conference work will be sent to participants approximately two weeks ahead of the conference.) 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 for the Overview and Introductions on Friday, October 20 at 5pm (bring your own wine!).  We’ll talk about backgrounds in poetry, goals and expectations. Faculty will present an overview of the weekend.

Saturday: workshops begin at 10 am EST, break for lunch at 1pm and continue through the afternoon until around 5.

Sunday:  editorial sessions begin at 10 am EST, break for lunch, and continue through the afternoon until around 5.

Monday:  wrap-up discussion and publication strategies going forward from 10am until around 11:30.


You will work with poet-editors Joan Houlihan, Stephen Motika and Kevin Prufer.

Joan Houlihan is the author of six books of poetry, most recently It Isn’t a Ghost if it Lives in Your Chest (Four Way Books, 2021), winner of the Julia Ward Howe Award and a Notable Indie Award; and Shadow-feast (Four Way Books, 2018), a Massachusetts Center for the Book Must-Read. Her other books are: The Us, named a Must-Read of 2009 by Massachusetts Center for the Book, and Ay, both from Tupelo Press; The Mending Worm, winner of the Green Rose Award from New Issues Press; and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays. 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 serves on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts and she is also Professor of Practice in Poetry at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Houlihan founded and directs the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.

Stephen Motika, poet and publisher of Nightboat Books, 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 News-letterPoets.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 former program director at Poets House.    

Kevin Prufer’s newest books are The Fears (Copper Canyon Press, 2023) and Sleepaway: a Novel (Acre Books, 2024). Among his eight other books are Churches, which was named one of the best ten books of 2015 by The New York Times, and How He Loved Them, which was long-listed for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and received the Julie Suk Award for the best poetry book from the American literary press. Prufer’s work appears widely in Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Paris Review, and The New Republic, among others. He is Professor of English at The University of Houston, where he also directs The Unsung Masters Series, a book series devoted to rediscovering great, long forgotten authors. He also teaches at the Lesley University Low-Residency MFA Program.

How to Apply

Before you apply, please visit the Conference Criteria page to make certain this conference is right for you. If so, send a bio and 4-5 poems from your manuscript to us at: We’ll get back to you within three days.

Conference Fee

Following acceptance of your application, the registration fee is $1,000.00.

Note: Refund available only up to one month prior to conference (September 20).