About the Poetry Marathon

The Goal: Write one poem every hour, for twenty-four hours, straight.

The Reward: In one day you will write a chapbook worth of poems. An admirable achievement. You also get the satisfaction and bragging rights that comes with completing a challenge, as well as the Official Marathon Writer’s Certificate.

The Date: The Poetry Marathon starts at 9 AM ET on Saturday August 5th, 2017 and goes till 9 AM ET on Sunday the 14th of August. Those who are interested in doing a half marathon can either start at 9 AM EDT on the 5th of August and go till 9 PM.  Or they can start at 9 PM ET on the 5th and go to 9 AM ET on the 6th of August. The second option might work better for poets living outside of North America.

How It Will Work: Every hour you must write and post a poem on this site. The length and content of this poem is up to you. There will be prompts posted on the official website, every hour on the hour. You can choose to follow these prompts or ignore them. What you do with the rest of the hour is up to you. You can write the whole time, you can sleep, cook, eat, edit, run…

The Details: Sign up will start on the 20th of July and go till the 27th of July this year, so keep an eye on this website, or follow our official Facebook page here.

The History of the Poetry Marathon

The Poetry Marathon is a yearly event that challenges participants to write 24 poems in 24 hours. The Poetry Marathon is run by Caitlin Jans (Thomson) and Jacob Jans, two writers and web publishers living in the Pacific Northwest. We have additional help from wonderful volunteers.

We run the Poetry Marathon because we think that writing 24 poems in 24 hours is a great challenge to writers, and to do the challenge as part of a community can be particularly fulfilling. Great poems have been written and wonderful friendships formed because of the Marathon and we are grateful for that.

We cover all the costs of the marathon ourselves and we have never charged participants or received any outside funding. Any money we make on the yearly anthologies goes towards covering the cost of the marathon.

The first poetry marathon occurred in 2011. Caitlin Jans came up with the idea as a way to challenge herself to write new and different poetry. When she told her husband about it, he wanted to do it, and he wanted others to do it as well.

The first poetry marathon was a small but intense experience with only a few individuals involved, and the second one was very similar. The third marathon in 2014 was the first proper poetry marathon in many ways. It involved over 100 participants from all over the globe. The 2015 marathon had over 300 participants. There were people participating on every continent except Antarctica. The 2016 marathon has over 50 participants, but fewer people completed the marathon.

The goal this year is for more participants to complete the marathon, even if there are fewer participants.