Conference sonnet class under the maple tree on the Frost grounds

Conference sonnet class under the maple tree on the Frost grounds

A  small student-to-instructor ratio by design 

Imagine two days of intense instruction by an award-winning poet who will immerse you in the art and craft of formal poetry writing.

  • Learn techniques to master meter and/or rhyme while focusing on poetic form.

  • Put your new knowledge into immediate action during free writing time.

  • Gain valuable insights through feedback from your instructor and fellow workshoppers.

  • Strengthen your poetic craft, whether writing in free verse or form.

Our award-wining instructors are among the premiere formalist poets in the United States. Their work has been published in many journals, including PoetryThe New YorkerThe Paris ReviewMeasure, and many more. The Master Class this year will be taught by renowned poet Melissa Balmain.

Participants have the opportunity to select a class
with one of the following 2019 instructors*:



William Baer has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright (Portugal), and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  His books include The Unfortunates (recipient of the T.S. Eliot Award); Writing Metrical PoetryThe Ballad Rode into Town“Bocage” and Other Sonnets (recipient of the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize); Luís de Camões: Selected SonnetsClassic American Films;Times Square and Other Stories; the mystery novel New Jersey Noir; and, most recently, Formal Salutations: New and Selected Poems.  The founding editor of The Formalist (1990-2004), he’s a graduate of Rutgers, N.Y.U., South Carolina, the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, and U.S.C.’s Graduate School of Cinematic Arts.

The Ballad


Melissa Balmain is Editor of Light, America's premier journal of light verse. She teaches humor writing, poetry writing, and journalism at the University of Rochester. A winner of the Able Muse Book Award, she has been a finalist for the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, the X.J. Kennedy Parody Award, and the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award (twice). Her poems have appeared in American Life in Poetry, Lighten Up Online, Measure, Mezzo Cammin, The New Verse News, Poetry Daily, RattleThe Spectator, and The Washington Post; her prose in The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney's, and Success. Her poetry collection Walking In on People (Able Muse Press) is often assumed by online shoppers to be some kind of porn.

Master Class


Bill Coyle’s poems and translations have appeared in journals such as PoetryThe New RepublicThe Hudson Review, and Modern Poetry in Translation, and in the anthologies New European Poets and The Swallow Anthology of New American Poetry His debut collection, The God of This World to His Prophet, won the New Criterion Poetry Prize and was published in 2006. In 2010 he received a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. A collection of his translations of the Swedish poet Håkan Sandell, Dog Star Notations: Selected Poems 1999-2016, was published by Carcanet Press in 2016.

Introduction to Meter and Rhyme


Len Krisak's books of original verse include Midland, Even as We Speak, If Anything, and Afterimage. His books of translation are Horace's Odes, Catullus's Carmina, Virgil's Eclogues, Ovid's Erotic Poems and Rilke's New Poems. His work has appeared in The Hudson, Sewanee, PN, Southwest, and Antioch Reviews, among many others. A recipient of the Robert Penn Warren, Richard Wilbur, and Robert Frost Prizes, he is also a four-time champion on Jeopardy!

Sonnets and Friends


Alfred Nicol’s most recent collection of poetry, Animal Psalms, was published in 2016 by Able Muse Press. He has published two other collections, Elegy for Everyone (2009), and Winter Light, which received the 2004 Richard Wilbur Award. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The New England Review, Dark Horse, First Things, Commonweal, The Formalist, The Hopkins Review, and elsewhere. Nicol’s poem “Addendum” has been selected to appear in the 2018 edition of The Best American Poetry.

The Ballad


Deborah Warren's poetry collections are The Size of Happiness (2003, Waywiser, London), which was  runner-up for the 2000 T. S. Eliot Prize;  Zero Meridian, which received the 2003 New Criterion Poetry Prize (2004, Ivan R. Dee); and Dream With Flowers and Bowl of Fruit, which received the Richard Wilbur Award (2008, University of Evansville). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, and The Yale Review. 

Loosen Up


Rhina Espaillat is the 2019 Frost Farm Poetry Conference Poet-in-Residence. Rhina P. Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. After Espaillat’s great-uncle opposed the regime, her family was exiled to the United States and settled in New York City. She began writing poetry as a young girl—in Spanish and then English—and has published in both languages. Espaillat has published 11 poetry collections, including Lapsing to Grace (1992); Where Horizons Go (1998), winner of the 1998 T.S. Eliot Prize; Rehearsing Absence (2001), recipient of the 2001 Richard Wilbur Award; Playing at Stillness (2005); and a bilingual chapbook titled Mundo y Palabra/The World and the Word (2001).


*Participants are asked to indicate first, second and third choices when selecting a class during online registration. We will make every effort to accommodate preferences. We assure you, each of our instructors will change the way you approach formal poetry!


Sponsored by the Trustees of the Robert Frost Farm and the Hyla Brook Poets