Now accepting applications for 2024!

Created by Christopher McCurry, The Poetry Gauntlet is an intense one-year workshop for poets. Led by poet Sean L. Corbin, up to 12 participants will work collaboratively during the 2024 calendar year to draft 100 new poems. Each month, the group will read and discuss a poetry book. Everyone who completes The Gauntlet will receive a Gauntlet challenge coin and be invited to share their work at a reading.

The Gauntlet is open to writers (16 years old and up) of all experience levels. The Gauntlet year runs from January 1, 2024, through December 31, 2024.


Gauntlet participants receive:
• 12 generative workshops; you will meet with Sean Corbin and a community of working writers for 3.5 hours one Saturday a month for one year

• 11 books of poetry and essays on the craft of poetry
• Personal support and accountability as you write 100 poems over the course of the year
• Detailed feedback from Sean L. Corbin on a selection (approx. 10 poems) of your works in progress
• Access to two free Carnegie Center classes per season (8 total free courses; some restrictions apply)
• Two Saturday/Sunday day writing retreats in collaboration with students in the Carnegie Center Author Academy
• The opportunity to meet and learn from local established poets who visit during some Saturday workshops
• The opportunity to pitch your manuscript in progress to Accents Publishing and Workhorse
• An invitation to read your work publicly at the end of your Gauntlet year and at annual Gauntlet Reunions
• A challenge coin that you’ll receive upon successful completion of your Gauntlet year.

Tuition: $1,500. *Ask about financial assistance if needed.

Important dates: Applications are due on Friday, December 15. All applicants will be notified by January 5. A nonrefundable deposit of $350 will be due on January 15. $575 will be due on January 30. The remaining $575 will be due on June 30. Saturday workshop dates will be announced this fall.

Questions about the program? Contact Poetry Gauntlet Coordinator Sean L. Corbin at or Carnegie Center Program Director Z Jackson at


The Katerina Stoykova Scholarship ($1,500): In honor of poet and publisher Katerina Stoykova, we offer one poet a free spot in The Gauntlet each year. The scholarship goes to a writer who would have otherwise been excluded for financial reasons. It’s in the spirit of Katerina’s supportive and giving nature. Scholarship applicants are asked to submit a statement of need with their program application.

The Pamela Jane Fernand Scholarship ($250): Given in memory of a teacher with a passion for educating young minds, this scholarship covers $250 of the program fee.

Questions about scholarships? Contact Carnegie Center Program Director Z Jackson at

Meet the Poetry Gauntlet Coordinator

Sean L Corbin is the author of THE LEPER DREAMS OF SNOW (Finishing Line, 2018), and is a graduate of Morehead State University, as well as the University of Kentucky's Creative Writing MFA program. He is a long-time writing instructor at the Carnegie Center, and his work has been published widely. He also works in medical simulation. For the Poetry Gauntlet's future, Sean hopes to continue its rich tradition of loving, rigorous poetry instruction, artistic expression, and community-building.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you like to write poetry? Do you like to read poetry? Are you looking to do more of both? Do you like working with other people to remove barriers to your writing? Would you like to take a poetry workshop but can’t take off time from work? If you answered yes to some of these questions, then The Gauntlet may be right for you.

Founded by Christopher McCurry of Workhorse in 2016, The Gauntlet was designed to help poets build a habit of reading and writing that is sustainable. It was also designed to build a community of poets who are supportive of each other during The Gauntlet year and beyond. The program was administered and taught by Christopher McCurry for three years starting. In 2020, the Carnegie Center assumed administration of the program.

We like to organize The Gauntlet to maximize diversity of writing experience and background; a well-rounded and productive year together starts there.

The books read throughout the year are those selected by The Gauntlet participants. So, you’ll have a chance to share with everyone else a book you loved and found valuable to your writing.

High expectations are the foundation for success. If you don’t risk failure, success won’t taste as sweet.

Carry it in your wallet, wear it as a necklace, display it on your shelf. In the same way that people are celebrated for publishing, we want to celebrate people who are actively writing and reading.


The Carnegie Center is home to writers, lifelong learners, & the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame. We hope to see you soon!

Contact Us

251 West Second Street
Lexington, KY 40507

(859) 254-4175

Monday–Thursday: 10:00 AM–7:30 PM
Friday: 11:30 AM–7:30 PM
Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED