The 2016 Poetry Marathon Anthology

So this year, as long as everything goes as planned, there will be a Poetry Marathon Anthology. Submissions will open September 3rd and stay open till the 12th.

All submissions must include two poems, no more, no less.. All submissions must be made via our email address ( The subject line of all emails must be Poetry Submission. Poems must be included in the body of the email.

All poems submitted must be written during the 2016 Poetry marathon. All poems should be completely edited and contain no major grammatical errors. You must indicate which hour each poem was written in. Only poets who completed the whole or half marathon will be eligible to submit.

There is no guarantee that by submitting your poem will be selected.

Digital copies will be made available for free to any contributor. Print copies will be available for a reasonable price and any money that is made from them will go back into the marathon.

Want to know what the 2014 Poetry Marathon Anthology was like? Pick up your copy here.

Volunteer Opportunity

This year we are looking for volunteers, not just for the day of the marathon but for the week after.

We really want volunteers to ensure that everyone, or at least most participants, receive comments on their poems.

During the 2014 Marathon I (Caitlin Jans) commented on at least one of every single writers’ poems. In 2015 I commented on at least one poem of every single writer who applied for a certificate. I am not able to do that this year. As more and more people participate it has become less and less feasible. Although I love reading and commenting, I can not do it as much as I used to.

So I am really hoping that volunteers can make sure that everyone receives comments.

The idea is that every volunteer commits to posting a minimum number of comments on other writers poetry. I am not just counting friends or people you know from past marathons, but complete strangers.

When you commit to volunteer you are pledging to write either 50, 80, or a 100 comments. Of course you could write far more than that. The choice is yours.

If you are interested in volunteering in that or another capacity, please email me at

Shloka Shankar’s Poetry Marathon Experience

I participated in the poetry Half-Marathon in 2015. It was my first marathon of any kind, and I had a lot of fun staying up all night. I loved the eeriness of the night, the dead silence after a heavy downpour, the crunch of my all-night snacks, and the way my mind worked its magic into the wee hours. It was a surreal experience! Some of the poems I wrote that night went on to get published in online literary journals, and that was the icing on my marathon cake. I am all set for participating again this year, and am eagerly looking forward to some interesting prompts and scribbles (read first drafts).

You can read more of here writing at

Oksana Grajauskaitė’s Poetry Marathon Experience

I participated in The Poetry Marathon in 2015, shortly after finishing my Creative and Professional Writing degree. I could already feel withdrawal symptoms from the intensity of my course and the marathon was a perfect quick fix.

There is something liberating about writing to a specific deadline, it forces you to stop worrying about perfection of every word and just get on with it. And sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed to make the magic happen. The Poetry Marathon is an extremely fast paced version of it, as the deadlines are hourly. But at the same time there’s no fear of missing the deadline, as nothing bad will happen if you do. It gives all the positive aspects of that “last minute” inspiration and none of the negativity that usually comes with it.

I can’t say I wrote 24 brilliant poems during the marathon. I hated some of them with a passion. But there were 5 that I loved just as much. And those 5 I still do. Some others I might get back to and dedicate more time into editing. And even among the hated ones, some were a really fun challenge that I don’t regret taking on.

In addition to all that, I know what I’ll miss most from my studies is receiving meaningful and constructive commentary on my creative work. I had plenty of in-depth feedback on my poems during the marathon, and I made some friends that I can still rely on to honestly and constructively comment on my work. And that alone is priceless.

You can read more of her writing at

Britton Gildersleeve’s Marathon Experience.

I’ve done two half-marathons. Like many folks, an entire 24-hour period hasn’t been feasible with work commitments. The half-marathon is the perfect compromise. Each year’s 12 hours has pushed me to produce new work, in response both to the prompts and the process. Something about writing a poem an hour, in the company of other crazy writers from around the world, feeds creativity. Seeing how others interpret the prompts, reading the comments on my work… Both are useful as well as encouraging. Writers range in experience, but all are strong readers, which is what most of us writers want & need. I’ll be back for a third year, anticipating more work I couldn’t conceive of otherwise.

You can visit Britton online at



Jacob and myself are pretty vocal about how much we love The Poetry Marathon, but that is not surprising, given that we are the founders.  This year we have decided to do something new. We have asked past marathoners to email us a short piece about what their experience with The Poetry Marathon was like. These pieces are all going to be published on the website and tagged as Testimonials, so that writers who are considering becoming poetry marathoners can read them and get a better feel for what The Poetry Marathon is all about.

So if you participated in the past and want to contribute a testimonial send us an email at poets@thepoetrymarathon. Otherwise keep your eyes peeled. The first testimonial will be posted tomorrow.


2016 Poetry Marathon Updates and Ideas

The Poetry Marathon continues to grow every year.  Every year the diversity of the participants increase. In 2015 individuals living on 6 different continents participated. There were several mother daughter teams. The oldest poet was in their 80s, the youngest was in their teens. Experienced poets who had published books participated as did several people who had never really written poetry before.

During the marathon friendships and communities are formed that last much longer than the marathon itself.

However, what continues to surprise and impress me the most about the Marathon is the quality of work that it produces. By that I don’t mean edited and polished work. (One person dropped out this year because they hated looking at others typo riddled poems.) I mean the quality of the raw material, the poems before polishing.

This year the basics of the marathon will stay the same.

The Marathon will run from 9 am ET on August 13th till 9 am ET on August 14th. The half marathon will run from 9 am ET till 9 pm on August 13th. Each poet must write and publish on the blog one poem per hour.

We will have one central Facebook group where poets can meet and encourage each other, before, after, and during the event.

All of the poems will still have to be posted on the central website (although you can remove them as soon as the marathon is over).

Everyone has to register before the marathon in order to participate in the marathon.

Everyone who completes the half or whole marathon will receive a digital certificate to mark their participation.

This is still largely a two person operation. Jacob Jans handles most of the technical aspects of the Marathon and Caitlin Jans handles almost everything else. Keep this in mind when we make mistakes or cannot manage to do everything that we want to do. This is not a large non-profit, this is two poets (with a baby, a dog, and jobs) who try their best.

There will still be a prompt published every hour.

However there may be some changes.

We tried making groups on the website itself last year. Sometimes this was helpful, but mostly it was not. We are trying to find a better way to make that work, so if you have any ideas please tell us.

We are considering doing an anthology again. However, this is largely contingent on how many participants are involved. The anthology will be different from the 2014 anthology. It will most likely not include the work of everyone that submits and we would not be able to offer complimentary physical copies to all the contributors (however they would probably be available at cost and digital copies would be available for free). If you want another anthology to happen, even with these conditions in place, please encourage us in that direction.

We may or may not have a cap on the number of participants.

We may be accepting prompt submissions.

If you can think of any other changes we should or could make, please email us at


absorbing aiming attaching
bubbling breathing
chewing chasing clicking crashing clinging
diving dancing disengaging
echoing ebbing emulating
falling flicking fornicating
grazing gagging galloping gallivanting gathering gesturing
jogging jiggling jostling
kneeling kissing kneading
lollygagging leaping loaping
mooing melting meshing munching
nudging nestling
orbiting obliterating
puckering punching
quaking quivering quavering
rolling running romping rumbling
screeching slithering swimming stalking spreading swishing shifting
tumbling teeming tip-toeing
wagging whipping writhing
x-ing out
yanking yawning yodeling
zooming zesting

What I Learned Doing a Poetry Marathon

The real secret to writing
isn’t a secret
The pros have been telling you for years
to act on your intentions
and write

It’s about priorities
It shouldn’t be the lawn
that needs mowing
the laundry
that needs washing
the friend
who needs validation
The writing comes first
No excuses

No one faults the business owner
for doing business
So no one should fault the artist
for making art

For me
it has to be
about thinking
and writing

Forget about what’s for dinner
There’s always cereal
and canned soup
and some of us thrive
on words

He always got it Write

Asked who, as a writer, I admired most, I

ran the options: novelists, poets, playwrights

reporters, essayists, columnists, commentators,

settling on the ultimate writers-writer: Paul.


Apostling not being the most lucrative gig

Paul started out as a stringer, freelancing then

finding success at building his brand;

reporter, biographer, essayist, op-ed guru,

occasional food critic, frequent advice columnist


Versatility to be admired, at the very least

the guy consistently bent genres, poo-pooed

convention and succeeded doing it his way


A lightning rod for controversy

he always had a Tarsus on his back


Dude had all the attributes of an NYT best seller;

compelling narrative, fascinating characters,

great story hooks, intrigue and crackling dialogue.

A natural story-teller, Paul also had unique,

finely-honed insight into the human condition


Like many top writers, he also had a pseudonym


Picture Paul at a first-century Barnabas and Noble

reading from his work at an author event

though I doubt he ever autographed book copies,

posed for pictures with having waited-in-line fans

his sales figures remain high


Critics be damned!


Paul dealt with writer’s banes; constant rejection,

haggling with gutless, wishy-washy editors, he

ignored continual barbs from critics, fellow writers


Paul had it going on


Experiences and a writing career many a scribe

would kill for: embedded journalist, stellar biographer,

revered social analyst and self-help essayist, social gadfly…

he built an impressive portfolio people still thumb through


Paul had, in every way possible, the write stuff.


~  Mark Lucker

Quoth the Poe

Down deep dark dreary pathways I follow
The pounding pulse, twisting violent turbulent turns
Gothic rhythms of your nightmares
Spilling spinning screaming
On aging pages
Hold me hostage

I dare not look away
I dare not leave
My blood pounding bruised beating heart
Pleads for peace and reprieve
Yet still I read
Captive to your craft

A dance with death
In velvet gowns and stolen souls
Deceptive dreams, fantastic fears
This wild madness flows
Like morphine for my writer’s soul
May I have some more?




“I’m A Poet”


Dedicated: To ALL POETS around the globe. Most especially to PENTASIAN POETS

(Photo taken from:Ms. Suzette)




When poets unwind

They truly explore

To reach the edge of the horizon

Search, meet strangers as family

Where words value, kept as treasure

Saved in every single moment


Those unforgettable moment

Those risky things unwind

Those most precious treasure

Expand twinkling as it explore

Cultivating soul in every family

Not giving up staring the horizon


Almost at the edge of the horizon

Fragile, difficult, risky each moment

Tears may flow, no one to embrace a family

Scattered teardrops fall unwind

Need to sacrifice, take the risk, explore

Hoping in the end, there is treasure


Finding a treasure

Won’t see, need to take the obstacles across the horizon

Need to dream, need to believe, need to plan to explore

Value each single moment

For every single moment unwind

There, can find true family


Not a real family, but a bountiful home of family

More than a treasure

Wrap, fold, unwind

In different edge of the horizon

Uncounted moment

Shared happiness, love and moment to explore


Keep on the eye to explore

Value every single bountiful home of family

Treasured every single moment

Most especially, a love to be treasure

Across the horizon

Unforgettable moments to unwind


In life, we unwind, to struggle, sacrifice, and explore.


Keep on dreaming to reach the edge of the horizon, don’t give up, there are people who waits for us, our family.


There’s a lot of things to be treasure, but the most of it can’t be value by money, and the most memorable – unforgettable ones are those moment.


(C)seth:kw:23:18:june15,2015:ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


poem #7 I was late for motherhood

I was late for motherhood
the appointment was in a neighbourhood
I didn’t know      hidden behind billboards
and bare-limbed trees
for years I drove the highways
but the map given me at childhood
was missing pieces
like a puzzle where someone stole
all the blue edges

I had to ask directions
the doctor made me pass a test
I flunked the first time
later he would help me study
prescribe me vitamins
tell me not to worry things would work
I tried to follow his car to where
I thought I should be

you weren’t certain you wanted to live
there in that toy-strewn house
where the large windows first beckoned
at night I would dream of infants
and their tiny whispernames
in the darkness just before light broke
I would drive myself to where
the babies might be
that rendezvous I always meant to keep

it would be years later
when two boys became men
that I would remember
how it felt to be unfinished
missing those blue pieces
and realize
it was never about motherhood

“A Poem to REMEMBER:being A mArAtHoNeR”


In that straight

More than 24hours awake

Studying sentina

And working household chores

As well as to calm the mind

And relax the heart

My mind stocked to understand

What sentina is

And the clock comes lesser

To write, I have none

I’m about to stop

My mind says hop

My bed says come

My heart says write

I focused

I focused in my heart

And I followed each hole

I was challenged

Not because there were writers better than I

Not because I was a new comer in this race

It is because, here I saw diverged

Every single Tictac of the clock

A pen’s value in tact

And soul to rock

My shadow walked

As I stood

I’m done

I can’t imagine

How I finished the game

Its not just a game but a plan

An undreamed run

A memorable ground


(C)seth:kw:13:46:june15,2015:ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

a great marathon of poets in time and space

starting eastern time 9 am 13 June  2015

moving for expressing in each prompt

creating poems

raw emotions raw verses creating

making poems creating and revising

posting for PUBLISHING

whether a half marathon or full marathon

moving creating and posting

for 12 hours 12 poems finishing a half marathon

next 12 hours begins

surely patiently eagerly moving to a great plane expedition

finishing full marathon

poets expressing themselves the sleep prompt which is final marathon prompt

ending  8 am 14 June 2015

what a blast!

adding to my humanity’s experience

kudos to organizers and fellow marathoners in this endeavor


I remember, towards the end
You asked me why I don’t tell you
You are beautiful

I thought it strange you would ask such a  thing
As I recall, I told you so every day

I smiled when you ever came to mind
Which was always
When I saw you, I wouldn’t hesitate to kiss you
When you would pass by
I would embrace you
Never to let go

You said, I didn’t show it enough
I didn’t tell you enough

You were mistaken, mi amor
I told you every day
Every moment you were in my presence

Could it have been that I did not say it enough?
I won’t deny that
In my defense, though, you knew I was of few words
My heart did not reside on my sleeve

In fact, the truth is
I did not dare attempt such a feat

To tell how beautiful you are
How much more I fall in love
When you look at me
Your way

I can not encapsulate the extent of your grace
Within the mire of words
Sought and placed as markes
Upon the portrait you are

It would be as futile a thing to attempt
As it would be for anyone to describe a sunset

Try as I might have, it would be done in vain
For I could never put words to what I could never understand

It is my greatest regret
For all that we lived
For all the love we had

You could never see
The words I spoke
In ever kiss
In every look
In every moment when all I could do
Is stare in wonder

How could a wayward soul like me
Be so lucky

To find such a beautiful thing
In such an ugly world
And somehow convince it
To love me


Creation in its smallest from is something that not many people see or believe

A single event in a single time on a split from the world that has created it

But what of those things that the world has not create or refused to acknowledge

What stands between the world that exist and that of a time that has past us by

The creations we seek are not the things that catch are sight or interest

They are the things that make us invisible to the world outside

The large and small things that make us think about all the other things we see and hear

Creations of what they do make us question whether or not the world sees itself

Always wanting more than what is required

Questioning if the things we do is correct or if they lack that something special for the full creation requested

What will the world create in the absence of time and in the void of darkness

Something remembered only when fear and loneliness take over what is not seen

A creation forgot in the wake of time and the lack of all else

The world will always become something greater

And the creations that came in its wake is something that will be un-measurable in time

Yet the world will continue in its unmistakable creation of things to come

The World Creates

The world creates small and impossible things

Something that is and always has been forgotten to others

Things that only exist to those that take turns and watch them grow

Small things that no one can see

Or just things that that have become inconvenient to most

Those that find the world to slow in its turning and too slow to be noticed

Will never see the small things that are being made and frown in the world around

There is always something more than the big things that you can see so well

What of the sunset you see as you quietly sit on a bench under a tree

Maybe it’s the bird that wakes you in the morning as you lay in bed and smile

It could be smile you get when you have the one person say how much they care for you

The small things are what we miss the most when no one is watching

They are sometimes the beginning of the day

And at other times they end the day on a smile

The world races around itself in hopes that things will one day be better

And yet no one had come to the thought or the ides that the world’s race is what helps everyone miss the small things

To slow down and see the world as it has always been

Would be something that no one in this world is willing or wanting to do


Clearing windows. Open doors, existential rooms. View surprising, tantalizing. Unremembered dreams, endeavoring scenes. Moments recorded throughout time, different place, different lives. Expanded views from skyscraping angles, clouds that dangle. Breathtaking, painstaking, never faking, real. City living, dangerous beauty, feel. No regrets, dark nights, cold kisses. Hours fly by, drunken misses. Painstakingly pleasurable, unforgettable. Old files locked away for rainy days. What ifs, maybes, the ones that got away. Clearing windows, exhausting. Padlock, won’t cost me.

Keep Finding

What keeps one finding that that was never done

For they cannot see the world as it should be

What finds them hunting for the wrongs that another does

How is their world held together when wrong is all they say

That which is done is never truly done as long as they see what is left behind

A world that takes only that where they find all wrong

Where can one find true bliss if it is never done their way

How does one search for that which was once for love

When what was done before was done as two

But now it lies to one to finish

Yet even when an attempt is made to make another happy

The wrong is still what is found as the day goes on

Where will one stand when their attempt is not accepted

Even if the wrong is completed it is still a wrong that was never done

The hope stands tall that one day all will be done right

But even then a wrong will be found

And yet the world will still turn to the perfection of one

But a wrong can never be right by the other

The day will go on and another wrong will be connected

But hope stands faith that the wrong will be right

And yet still a wrong will be found