The Colrain Manuscript Classic is a highly focused, 3-day conference 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. 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, August 7. Introductions among participants and faculty take place (bring your own wine!).  We’ll talk about backgrounds in poetry, goals and expectations. Faculty will present an overview of the weekend.

NOTE: There will be several built-in breaks, including for lunch, snacks and bathroom!

Saturday: workshops begin at 10 am EST. You’ll join via Zoom link at 9:45.

Sunday:  editorial sessions begin at 10 am EST. You’ll join via Zoom link at 9:45.

(Pre-conference work will be sent pre-conference.)

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

*We will be using Zoom, an easy-to-use online application.  No need to have it installed–it will open in your browser when you click the link you get from Colrain.  More info in the pre-conference instructions.


You will work with poet-editors Joan Houlihan, Rusty Morrison, Hilda Raz and Ellen Dore Watson.

_dsc3823largeCROP1Joan Houlihan is the author of five books of poetry, most recently, Shadow-feast (Four Way Books). 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. Read more…


Rusty 2017Rusty 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. In 2001, Morrison and her husband, Ken Keegan, founded Omnidawn Publishing in Richmond, California, and continue to work as co-publishers. Read more…



hildaHilda Raz is editor of the Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series, University of New Mexico Press, and the poetry editor for BOSQUE (the magazine). She is the author of seven books of poetry published by Wesleyan University Press and other presses, the editor of five books published by Persea Press, and others, and a memoir, with Aaron Raz, What Becomes You, published in the American Lives Series, ed. Tobias Wolff, University of Nebraska Press, finalist in two categories for the Lambda Book Award.

She is editor emerita of the venerable literary quarterly Prairie Schooner and founding director of the Prairie Schooner Book Prizes, and their e-Book Prizes, two annual publication and cash awards in both short fiction and poetry, now in their eleventh year of publication. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for these prizes and also Arbor Farms Press in Corrales, NM.

Hilda Raz is a member of the Board of Directors, Goucher College MFA in Creative Nonfiction; a past president of AWP; and is Luschei Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies, emerita, at the University of Nebraska where she taught in the graduate program in Creative Writing, poetry. She has taught at many universities, writers’ conferences and MFA programs including Stanford, Georgia, Harvard, Bread Loaf, Rainier Writing Workshop, and Taos. For a more complete bio, see


Ellen.2016 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.

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 $1,000.00.