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.


Sign Up Announcement & An Email List

The Poetry Marathon

Sign up this year will go from the 11th of July till the 19th of July.

In the next few weeks we will start an email list so if you want updates and reminders directly in your inbox make sure to sign up then.

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

Congratulations Marathoners!


You did it! Congratulations! I am very much impressed! You wrote 24 poems in 24 hours. This is an achievement that few poets ever accomplish. 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 with your full name and email address in the body of the email. In the next few weeks you should receive your digital certificate.


Prompt for Hour Twenty Four

I imagine that a lot of poets right now are ready to sleep. So that is the theme of the final prompt. Write a poem about sleep. What it is like to sleep, what it is like to dream, what you are dreaming about. But don’t fall asleep until you press Publish!

Prompt for Hour Twenty Three

‘The worst enemy to creativity is selfdoubt.’ – Sylvia Plath

I love this quote. Doubt is something almost all writers face. However it is rarely something we write about. Your prompt is to write about a poem about doubt. It could be self doubt, it could be doubt in terms of creative writing, or it could be about doubt in general.

Prompt for Hour Twenty One

Write a poem inspired by a writer that you admire. The poem should mention the name of the writer explicitly at least once. The writer’s influence should be seen in the content or the tone of the poem.

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