Captain Whidbey Inn, Whidbey Island, WA | Sept. 23 – 26, 2015

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Over the years, electricity as well as high speed cable and Wi-Fi have been installed and upgraded thThe Captain Whidbey Inn, located in the heart of Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve is surrounded by forest and hugs the shore of Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove. Stepping through the Inn’s front door takes you back to 1907 when Judge Still and his men originally cut and placed the first timber and laid the stone for the Inn. Today, the inn appears very similar to the way it was when it was built. The original wood floors are still visible in both the lobby roughout the building.


Here, you will work with the following renowned poets and editors.


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.

Fred Marchant

marchantFred Marchant’s new collection of poetry, The Day Later, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2016. The Looking House (Graywolf Press, 2009), was named by Barnes and Noble Review as one of the five best books of poetry in 2009. He is also the author of Tipping Point, winner of the 1993 Washington Prize in poetry, and Full Moon Boat (Graywolf Press, 2000). A new and selected volume,House on Water, House in Air, was published by Dedalus Press, Dublin, Ireland, in 2002. He was the 2009 co-winner (with Afaa Michael Weaver) of the May Sarton Award from the New England Poetry Club, given to poets whose “work is an inspiration to other poets.” Fred Marchant 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 of English and the Director of The Suffolk University Poetry Project 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.

Rusty Morrison

RustyRusty Morrison is an American poet and publisher. Her poetry book After Urgency won Tupelo’s Dorset Prize (2012). The Book of the Given is available from Noemi Press. the true keeps calm biding its story won Academy of American Poet’s James Laughlin Award, Northern California Book Award, Ahsahta’s Sawtooth Prize, the DiCastagnola Award from Poetry Society of America. Whethering won the Colorado Prize for Poetry. She has received the Bogin, Hemley, Winner, and DiCastagnola Memorial Awards from The Poetry Society of America. Her poems have appeared in periodicals including A Public Space, American Poetry Review, Bomb, Boston Review, Chicago Review, Gulf Coast, Lana Turner, New American Writing, Pleiades,, Poem-A-Day, Verse, and VOLT. Her essays and/or long reviews have been, or will be published in Colorado Review, Chicago Review, Denver Quarterly, Evening Will Come, Fence, The Kenyon Review, Pleiades, Poetry Flash, Verse, and in the anthologies One Word: Contemporary Writers on the Words They Love or Loathe (Sarabande 2010), Beauty is a Verb (Cinco Punto 2011). In 2001, Morrison and her husband, Ken Keegan, founded Omnidawn Publishing in Richmond, California, and continue to work as co-publishers.

Jeffrey Shotts

shottsJeffrey Shotts is 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 press editors.

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 we will request any special dietary needs before the conference.


Plan to arrive on Friday, September 23 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 Captain Whidbey Inn is located on Whidbey Island:

2072 W Capt Whidbey Inn Rd, Coupeville, WA 98239
ph, (360) 678-40973493

fireplaceFor directions flying, by ferry and by car, see:

Directions to the Inn