Poetry Collective (draft)

The Poetry Collective is a new manuscript-focused curriculum for poets. It’s a flexible, affordable program aimed at helping you produce a finished, high-quality book of poems that reads as a cohesive collection, not just a bundle of singular works. (Please note: The Poetry Collective is replacing the Poetry Book Project.)

Applications for the Poetry Collective open April 1, 2017. Please apply by midnight MST on June 20. Apply here

Why the Poetry Collective?

Over the years, we’ve seen great poetry come out of the Lighthouse workshops, but we’ve also felt we could be doing more to support book-length projects—and the intensive learning—that people are undertaking. Lighthouse poets are often working under the constraints of full-time jobs and full lives. And while workshopping single poems is beneficial, it’s not always ideal: Readers and instructors are often unfamiliar with the larger project and the voice of the poet—and writers can become prematurely focused on revising just a few poems over and over. As a result, the momentum toward building a collection can be slowed or shut down.

We feel the best thing we can give our book-focused poets is a customized program that helps them focus on a schedule and a set of aesthetic goals. Our program pairs each writer with a mentor to chart a path through the project. The Collective also creates a community of writers to inspire and hold each other accountable to our writing goals. At the end of the program, each writer will emerge with a book of poems he or she can be proud of, plus a support team ready to help with next steps.

Is the Poetry Collective right for me?

Before applying for the Poetry Collective, it’s best if poets have taken (or plan to take while participating in the Poetry Collective) the following classes:

  • Poetics Class: An 8-week Reading as a Writer class focused on the different elements of poetic craft.
  • Poetry Schools Survey: An 8-week Reading as a Writer class that examines, in-depth, a variety of schools of poetry, giving historical context to poets and their work.
  • Practical Skills for the Poet: A one-day workshop with information on how to submit, how to give a reading, and how to stay informed on what’s happening in the poetry cosmos.
  • Chapbook Workshop: A course that helps collect participants’ poems into a chapbook-length work, providing a rough framework for the full poetry collection.
  • Two Lighthouse 8-week poetry workshops (can include Lit Fest master workshops)

Applicants may receive credit for workshops already taken at Lighthouse. Poets with MFAs may ask to receive credit for courses completed through their degree program as well.

How Does the Poetry Collective Work?

Over the course of a year, Poetry Collective participants get four one-on-one mentor meetings, three day-long intensives, four in-depth manuscript workshops, and one private meeting with an additional poetry instructor. Just eight poets are admitted into the Poetry Collective at a time, ensuring a close-knit working group and lots of personal instruction. The year culminates in a reading and reception at Lighthouse’s annual Lit Fest celebration.

  • Day-Long Intensives: These meetings will be mainly lecture, helping poets prepare to submit the manuscript draft. Topics may include things like poetic craft (the line, image, voice, diction, metaphor); demarcating themes and motifs; and putting together a manuscript.
  • Manuscript Workshops: These meetings will be led by the mentor, with workshop contributions from the entire cohort. Over the course of these workshops, you’ll have your entire manuscript critiqued by the mentor and by your fellow poets. The final workshop will talk about the revision process and how to handle the feedback you’ve received.
  • Mentor Meetings: Poets will have four one-hour private meetings with their mentor to discuss how the process is going, review work, and talk about the drafting process. The mentor will also review up to 30 pages over the four meetings but won’t offer poem-by-poem critique.
  • Non-Mentor Meeting: Poets have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a non-mentor poetry instructor in order to get feedback from a fresh vantage point. The instructor will review up to 15 pages of poems and offer big-picture feedback.

Poetry Collective Calendar (Dates are subject to change)

  • May 13, 12:00 to 2:00 PM, @Lighthouse: Info session
  • June: Applications due
  • July: Spots offered to poets
  • July: Orientation, for scheduling of mentor meetings and workshops
  • August: Mentor Meeting 1
  • September: Day-Long Intensive 1
  • October: Day-Long Intensive 2
  • November: Day-Long Intensive 3
  • December: Mentor Meeting 2
  • January: Manuscripts due; Mentor Meeting 3
  • February: First Manuscript Workshop
  • March: Second Manuscript Workshop
  • April: Third Manuscript Workshop
  • May: Fourth Manuscript Workshop; Mentor Meeting 4
  • June: Reading and celebration at Lit Fest

Non-Mentor Meetings are scheduled according to the availability of the instructor and the participant, ideally after manuscript critique.

Poetry Collective Tuition

Cost: $2,760 ($230 per month for 12 months)

Monthly or quarterly payment plans—at no interest—are available.

How to Apply

The inaugural session of the Poetry Collective starts in July 2017. The application deadline is June 20, and all applications must be submitted via Submittable. Apply here

Your application will include:

  • Writing sample: 10 poems, up to 20 pages. These can be part of the planned manuscript, but don’t have to be.
  • Project outline: A brief outline of your proposed project.
  • List of previous workshops and craft classes completed at Lighthouse or elsewhere.