2017 Poetry Marathon Updates and Ideas

Every year The Poetry Marathon is a little different. This year we are figuring out how it will be different.

Last year, as some of you may know, we had more people start the Marathon than every before, but the completion rate was much lower than the year before. 500 people signed up, about 250 for the full marathon, and 250 for the half marathon. Only around 100 completed the full marathon. The success rate for the half marathon was much higher, but still not as good as the previous year.

So this year instead on focusing on growing, we are going to focus on completion rates. We want the majority of the participants to have a complete the marathon, or half marathon – whatever they have committed to.

To that end we are going to make the application sheet ask more specific questions of potential participants. We will also stress on the sign up sheet how much work the marathon is.

The majority of the people we talked to, who had dropped out of the marathon, did so because they did not realize how much time and effort it would involve. It is called a marathon for a reason. So we will also send out emails regarding how to plan for the marathon in the week proceeding it.

If you have any ideas about how we can make it clear how much effort the poetry marathon involves, please send me an email at poets@thepoetrymarathon.com.

We are hoping for the first time to have fewer initial participants but a much higher completion rate.

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 take place on August 5th. It will start at 9 AM ET and it will conclude at 9 AM ET on the 6th for full marathoners. The half marathon will run from 9 AM to 9 PM on August 5th. 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.

We will again have volunteer commenters after the marathon. This was one of the really great improvements last year. I am very grateful for everyone who volunteered.

However there will be some changes.

The anthology is still up in the air, but it will most likely happen again, with hopefully an August submission period this time. Thus anthology may be different from the other anthologies. 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 will be accepting prompt submissions.

As mentioned before we will really stress the amount of time and work the marathon requires and we may be posting a series of blog posts by past marathoners, to that end.

If you can think of any other changes we should or could make, please email us at poets@thepoetrymarathon.com

Anthology Submissions are Now Open

Submissions for the 2016 Poetry Marathon Anthology opened this morning, the 3rd of September and will stay open till the 12th of September. No submissions will be accepted after that point.

All submissions must include two poems, no more, no less. All submissions must be made via our email address (poets@thepoetrymarathon.com). 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. If you signed up for the whole marathon and only completed the half, submit as a half marathoner.

There is no guarantee that by submitting to the anthology 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.

Congratulations Poetry Marathoners!

The Poetry Marathon [correct]

You did it! Congratulations! I am very impressed! You wrote 24 poems in 24 hours. This is an achievement that few poets ever accomplish. Although if you are a returning marathoner, some of you might be accomplishing it for the second or third time!

Now you should probably go get some sleep.

After every marathon I have participated in I, have been filled with exhaustion but also a tremendous sense of achievement. I hope you have that too.

If you completed the marathon please send us an email in the next couple of days to poets@thepoetrymarathon.com with your full name, the details about what event you participated in (full or half marathon), a link to your marathon blog, and an email address in the body of the email. 

You will not receive a digital certificate if you do not follow those instructions and email poets@thepoetrymarathon.com by September second.

You should receive your digital certificate within two weeks of emailing us.

Also remember that this year we will be putting together a 2016 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 (poets@thepoetrymarathon.com). 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 although the goal is to include one poem by everyone who submits.

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.

The Poetry Marathon [correct]

Prompt for Hour Twenty Four

Congratulations – you are almost there.

The last prompt is to write a poem about doing something that others are not doing, such as being awake while those around you are asleep.

Prompt for Hour Twenty Three

We are almost there! Hang on. Do what you need to do to get through these next two hours.

The prompt this hour is to write a poem about a place. It should be a place you know very well because you have been there a lot, or imagined it a great deal. It should be a smaller place. Think of a house, a room, or a park, not an entire city or county.

The poem should describe the place as it relates to people, not just you, but the other people who are there regularly.  If what you are describing is one room in your apartment, say the kitchen, you would know most of the people who frequent it, and you can be more specific. But if what you are describing is a park, generalities are easier, although you can imagine specifics if that helps.

 

Prompt for Hour Twenty Two

Write a poem to go with one of the following five titles.

Möbius Strip

The Night is For Sleeping

Blue Clouds

Station

At the Diner

 

 

Prompt for Hour Twenty One

Write a poem as if it is a letter to someone. Start with the word Dear and go from there. This poem letter could be to yourself. It could be to someone you know. It could be to a complete stranger.

Prompt for Hour Twenty

Write an ekphrastic poem to go with this image. An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

This painting is called Coalition and it is by Kevin Peterson.

Artwork-by-Kevin-Peterson-9

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