Poetry Book Project

The Poetry Book Project, an intensive, two-year program for writers of book-length manuscripts of poetry.

Applications for the Poetry Book Project will open April 1, 2017


What makes The Poetry Book Project the creative writing program for you?

  • The Poetry Book Project is affordable: just a fraction of the cost of an MFA degree program, yet every bit as rigorous as the best creative writing programs.
  • The Poetry Book Project is a personalized course of study. You will work closely with a mentor, who will help you create a curriculum that addresses your particular needs as a writer.
  • Our mentors are working writers and highly skilled teachers, with years of experience nurturing poets.
  • You will have access to all of Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s high-quality resources, including literature courses, writing workshops, the annual Lit Fest, visiting writers programs (recent visitors include Thomas Lux, Mark Doty, Mary Karr, Mark Irwin, Mark Strand), and our award-winning faculty.
  • Our resident publishing experts and relationships with local (and non-local) publishers will help guide you through the necessities and intricacies of the publishing world, and may even become your publisher as well.
  • You’ll be energized by three weekend intensives per year, plus Lit Fest workshops and courses.
  • Remote study available—even if you’re not in the Denver area, you can participate in the Project over the internet and come to Denver for the three weekend intensives.
  • Your Project will end with a public reading, where you’ll receive a certificate of completion.



Over the years, we’ve seen great poetry come out of the Lighthouse workshops, but we had a nagging feeling we could be doing more to support book-length projects—and the intensive learning—that people are undertaking. Our members are often working under the constraints of full-time jobs and full lives, so we wanted to re-envision the best way we could support their efforts.

The limitations of a typical workshop—ideally suited to short stories, essays, and individual poems—on book-length projects are well known, and MFA programs to literary centers have been trying to address them. Workshopping single poems is an option that many people benefit from, but this is not always ideal—readers and instructors are often unfamiliar with the larger project and the voice of the poet—and writers themselves can become prematurely focused on revising just a few poems over and over, and momentum toward a collection can be slowed or shut down.

We feel the best thing we can give our book writers is a customized program that helps writers focus on a schedule, a timeframe, and a set of aesthetic goals. Our program pairs each writer with a mentor who will help him or her chart a path through the project, and also provides another necessary element—a community of writers to inspire and hold accountable each artist to his or her goals. At the end of the program, each writer will emerge with a book of poems, a book the writer can be proud of, plus a support team ready to help him or her take the next steps.



Poetry Mentor – Chris Ransick, MA, MA
Chris Ransick, Denver Poet Laureate 2006 to 2010, won a Colorado Book Award for poetry for his first book, Never Summer. His subsequent collection of short stories, A Return To Emptiness, was a finalist for the 2005 Colorado Book Award in Fiction. He is author of three other books, including Language for the Living and the Dead, which was published in 2013. New editions of all his titles are available or forthcoming from Conundrum Press.

A native New Yorker, he has lived in Montana, Wyoming, California, and Colorado, working as a reporter, editor, and professor. He served as assistant to the editors on the definitive anthology, The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology. Chris holds masters degrees in English/Creative Writing and journalism, and has taught at Lighthouse since 2005.

Poetry Faculty

John Brehm, MFA
John Brehm, MFA, is the author of two books of poems, Help Is On the Way and Sea of Faith, both from the University of Wisconsin Press, and the associate editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry. His poems have been published in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, Boulevard, The Missouri Review, Best American Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. He has taught at Cornell, Emerson College, Portland State University, and The Oregon Writers Workshop. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon but returns as often as possible to teach reading-as-a-writer courses at Lighthouse.

Michael Henry, MFA
Michael Henry is co-founder and Executive Director of Lighthouse Writers Workshop. His poetry and nonfiction have appeared in places such as 5280 Magazine, Georgetown Review, Threepenny Review, Pleiades, and Copper Nickel, and he’s published three books of poetry, Active God, No Stranger Than My Own (Conundrum Press), and Intersection, a chapbook. He holds a BA in English from the University of Rochester, and an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. A former Colorado Council on the Arts and PlatteForum fellow, he’s also collaborated with Garrett Ammon, award-winning artistic director of Wonderbound ballet company, on three narrative ballets, When the Power Goes Out, Intersection, and Gone West.

Elizabeth Robinson, MA, Mdiv
Elizabeth Robinson is the author of over a dozen volumes of poetry. Her most recent books are Three Novels (Omnidawn), Counterpart (Ahsahta), and Blue Heron (Center for Literary Publishing). Robinson’s mixed genre meditation, On Ghosts (Solid Objects), was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times  book award. In addition, she has been a winner of the National Poetry Series, the Fence Modern Poets Prize, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award. Robinson has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the University of Montana, and the University of Colorado Boulder.  

Other instructors to be added very soon!



Year One – The Generator


Monthly Mentor Conferences (12 meetings total)

  • Individual sessions to discuss craft, manuscript development, writing initiatives; not primarily for reviewing/critique of poems.
  • Participant reading list & technical focus papers

Weekend Intensives

  • 3 Weekends: September/October; January; April
  • Led by your mentor and one or two guest instructors
  • Intensive workshops and talks on elements of craft, social events, readings.


  • ​Two 8-Week Poetry Workshops
  • Two Reading as a Writer Courses
  • Lit Fest Week-Long Workshop (with guest instructor)
  • Lit Fest Business Weekend Pass (priority meeting with publishers)

Year Two – Make It Great

Work closely with your mentor as you polish your draft, make your book stand out from the crowd, and prepare for publication.


Full Manuscript Prep and Critique

  • Multiple sessions (October to April); participants submit initial draft and later, a revision, for thorough review and critique by faculty and peers

Closing Conference

  • Individual meeting with mentor for closing review, discussion


  • Two 8-Week offerings (1 Poetry Workshop, 1 Reading as a Writer)
  • Two one-day intensive workshops (during the year, or at year one Lit Fest)
  • Lit Fest Business Weekend Pass (priority meeting with publishers)
  • Public Reading and celebration party          



  • Tuition: $9,500 total for the two-year program.
  • Guaranteed access to the workshops of your choice.
  • Special invites to events and workshops throughout the year.
  • Mentor manuscript readings cover up to 80 pages of poetry.

A monthly or quarterly payment plan—at no interest—is available.



We will not be accepting applications for the 2016 year. Please email info@lighthousewriters.org or call 303.297.1185 for information on how you can best prepare for the next application cycle, beginning in 2017. 



© 2014, Lighthouse Writers Workshop.   All rights reserved.   |  1515 Race St, Denver, CO 80206    |   ph 303-297-1185   |  info@lighthousewriters.org