The next Poetry Marathon already has a date. It will start at 9 am (EST) June 13th. However, there are other changes in the works.
Most of the changes we are making and all of the ideas we have are just theoretical at this point, so we are looking for feedback from past participants and from people considering future participation.
The major reason for the changes is that The Poetry Marathon is growing. Last year we had over 100 participants. That was with announcing it less than two full weeks in advance of the marathon and with minimal promotion. Obviously we are going to be more organized this year.
This year we are expecting a lot more participants. We are thinking around 500 is likely, although we are not sure what we will do if it exceeds that number (or if we will have to cap it) and so that affects many other things and will require some changes.
The three major changes we are anticipating are in the following areas: the Organization of the Website, the Organization of Facebook, and the Anthology. Below I will explain some of the things that need to change and how we are considering changing them
The Organization of The Website
All of the posts will still be made on one central blog. We feel very strongly about that. That in and of itself is a lot of work for Jacob particularly, as we grow there are more technical questions and needs.
Last year there was a scrollable list of names on the side and so it was easy to see everyone. That would not be possible or at least not be useful with many more participants, so we will have to find some way to organize people into groups.
A half marathon group would make sense but there will have to be more divisions than that, they may be made by geography, or by some other way, but it will have to happen. People might even be able to choose what groups they join or create their own groups.
The Organization of Facebook
Last year there was one big Facebook group for all the participants. It was a lot of fun. A great community was built. It is not going anywhere. Anyone who participated last year can still spend the marathon in that group. It will remain as is. However all the new participants will not be added to it.
New participants will be able to join groups based around geography or other factors. Old participants can also join these new groups. You can be a member of more than one group. We don’t know any of the details yet, but we know we will need volunteer leaders of the groups and even if there is a central group, we will need help answering questions, etc. If you are interested in volunteering in this capacity, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Anthology cannot exist as it did last year. It was a lot of work and it is not sustainable with more people. Besides it is prohibitively expensive in terms of time and money.
However we are considering having an Anthology that would be edited by Jacob and myself (our work would not appear in it) and everyone who completed the marathon could submit two pieces for consideration in the chapbook. We would accept 25 poems.
We would have an 8 month turn around time. Everyone who contributed would get one copy.
It is hard because I loved putting together an anthology that reflected most of the participants work last year. But if the anthology is to continue in any form it will have to be different. Other suggestions are welcome, but we are leery about charging anyone anything, because we do not want to have to get into taxes or officially become a non-profit.
Also we will still have the personalized certificate but they will only be sent out digitally. However it is very easy to print them out, or have a good printer make a copy for you. The printing was very reasonable for us last year, the international shipping, not so much.
The other changes that we know will have to happen this year are twofold.
The first is that we are going to need volunteers this year to manage the groups (which should be minimal work) on facebook. If you are interested in volunteering in any capacity, email us at email@example.com
The second is that registration will end earlier this year, so that we can organize people into group and figure out how best to prepare the site, etc. Registration might have to be two or even three weeks before hand.
There are a lot of things that won’t change. There will still be an emphasis on community. There will still be a full marathon and a half marathon. There will still be the blog. There might not really be any obvious differences for most people.
Thank you for putting up with this whole, very long document. Please comment with feedback and ideas, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.