The Poetry Gauntlet

The Gauntlet is an intense one-year workshop for poets. Led by poet Christopher McCurry, up to 12 participants will work collaboratively during the 2020 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, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

 Gauntlet participants receive:

  • 12 generative workshops; you will meet with Christopher McCurry 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; you will help select these books
  • Personal support and accountability as you write 100 poems over the course of the year
  • Detailed feedback from Christopher McCurry 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

INSTRUCTOR: The Gauntlet is led by poet Christopher McCurry.

IMPORTANT DATES: Applications are due on December 16. All applicants will be notified by January 3. 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.

SCHOLARSHIPS: In honor of 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.

APPLICATION: Click here for the 2020 Gauntlet application (Word document; will start download).

FAQ: Please review the FAQ before applying for The Gauntlet.

QUESTIONS? Contact Sarah Chapman, Carnegie Center Program Director, at