The Poetry Marathon

  • A while back we warned everyone that the future of The Poetry Marathon was uncertain, that we were not sure how we were going to proceed next year, if we were going to not do one in 2018 or if someone else would […]

    • First of all – CONGRATULATIONS on the incoming addition to your family in May! You have more than enough to focus on in 2018 and being with your family is a precious and important task! June is going to make an amazing older sister! I’m sure the other members of your extended international Poetry Marathon family will be as delighted as I am to hear your wonderful news.

      Your idea to halt the Marathon this year is a sensible and practical option. The Poetry Marathon belongs to the two of you and, as you’ve rightly commented, it would be a huge task to train someone up to cover a 2018 event. Who knows what is ahead for the Poetry Marathon? Whatever your decision may be, you are supported here.

      I’m more than happy to donate to such a good cause; additionally, if I can be of any help on the editing or organising front, please ask. I can supply references from my professional work if needed.

      You’re an amazingly supportive and creative couple and so MANY of us owe you thanks for the creative synergy and friendships you’ve produced through these Poetry Marathons. You’re also parents, too, and you’ve just undergone a huge relocation as well as now readying yourselves for a new addition to your family.

      I’m more than happy to wait. And I’m really delighted with your wonderful news. 2018 is going to be an amazing year! xxx

      • Anne, thank you so much for this! June is ecstatic to be a big sister and she is busy informing all the strangers in our vicinity about the fact! We would love to have your help and support moving forward and we are so grateful for the energy and light you bring to the marathon every year!

    • First of all, Congratulations to your NEW family member in May. I’m more than happy to wait. Many blessings to you!

    • I would be interested in doing an unofficial marathon as I think it helps with creativity since I just got back into writing again last year. If fellow marathoners want to let’s get a date down and do it. Congrats to you and hubby Caitlin on new addition to family. I respect your decision and hope to still be a part of future marathons with you and everyone else.

    • Bless you Caitlin and Jacob the marathon is a blessing for me I understand your decision and I agree 💯 congratulations on your new addition to the family take great care of yourself and we look forward to 2019 Gods will. All the best.

    • Congratulations on your coming child! You will loads of rest now, so it’s a good decision.
      In the meantime, who says we all can’t run our own private poetry marathons, individually? Thank you for this enormously inspiring project!

      • Thank you! I’ve done my own personal poetry marathon and one with a small group of friends, and I got more out of the one with company by a wide margin (and I am generally a bit of a loner), I do think there seems to be an unofficial marathon or two shaping up nicely, that you would be welcome to join.

    • Congratulations to you and your family, Caitlin, and thank you for the gift of the Poetry Marathon. I’d love to help out with future marathons, official or unofficial.
      Pam Gerber

    • Thank you for the update and congratulations!!!! I would love to be your editor! I work in an educational agency (school district) and have writings and poems I plan on publishing one day. I am looking to retire soon down the road. I then plan on spending more time focused on writing. I started two years ago with this marathon and firmly believe in and love what you both offer.

    • Congratulations! And thank you for the model of such thoughtfulness and generosity in your decision-making and sharing. I find these days I am particularly aware and appreciative when I encounter each (and both!).

      Last August was my first marathon and I found it truly powerful and inspirational. I’m a bit lost right now with my own writing and think at times about how supported by and connected with others I felt during those 24 hours and for weeks after. So again, thank you .
      To my fellow marathoners, I’ll just say “count me in!” – whether it’s to participate in an ‘unofficial’ marathon, or to help with any needs that I am able to meet. My tendency is to jump in quickly and to over-commit, so I’ll hold back for now. But, please know I am interested in remaining part of and connected to this group in whatever ways make sense.

      And as a side-bar…I have a simple house on 16 acres in western massachusetts and am thinking about trying to offer some writing, meditation, and personal development retreat (or retreat-like) experiences going here. If anyone has experience with this or is interested in talking about it or getting involved in some way, please email me directly at
      Wishing all a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year.

    • Congratulations Caitlin and Jacob! Wishing you much love and happiness with your new addition.

    • Happy for your good news. Patient for your further good news.

    • Congratulation Caitlin and Jacob!
      May you have a safe and healthy “stork” delivery. Again, I am sending you much love and happiness to your upcoming bundle of joy. Hugs❤️

    • Hi Caitlin and Jacob,

      Congratulations on your pending new child. Don’t forget the for great connections for parenting. You are already top notch!
      I look forward to 2019 and also, perhaps, a FB mini-marathon this year.

  • Hopefully right before Thanksgiving.

  • Oh this wonderful! You convey so much so sparsely.

  • Ideally you would include it in the introductory note (but an introductory note is not required). So it is ok to just put it at the start. If not enough people include their’s I will not use it in the anthology, but I am hoping I can include it. Also I updated it to indicate that a link to page is preferred.

  • Thank you! It is really helpful hearing every ones opinion! We do know that the ultimate decision is up to us, but we plan to take our time to make it. We know that we are not going to hand it over to a committee, but we are open to the person who is in charge of the 75% to delegate – but they will be completely in charge of the delegation. Also…[Read more]

  • Thanks! But honestly I think it is fastest with just one person doing it (I’ve worked on committee literary journals before so that is why I do it this way).

  • Submissions to the 2017 Poetry Marathon Anthology are open now and will stay open through the 15th!

    Read our guidelines carefully before submissions.

    All submissions must include two poems, no more, no […]

    • Umm… Does indicating our location mean we have to include our country in the introductory note? Also, do we link our pages in the email body this year too?

      • Ideally you would include it in the introductory note (but an introductory note is not required). So it is ok to just put it at the start. If not enough people include their’s I will not use it in the anthology, but I am hoping I can include it. Also I updated it to indicate that a link to page is preferred.

    • Do you need help putting the anthology together after you make selections? Please reach out if you do. Many are so grateful for all you’ve done, I’m certain a few of us would step up if there was a way for us to lighten your load.

      • Thanks! But honestly I think it is fastest with just one person doing it (I’ve worked on committee literary journals before so that is why I do it this way).

    • Are there separate guidelines (like 12 point, Times New Roman, etc.) posted someplace on this site? Your second sentence says we should read them carefully. Or are the guideline just whats on this page? Please provide a link.

    • Just the guidelines above!!

    • When will the 2017 anthology be available?
      Brian Sluga

    • Hopefully right before Thanksgiving.

  • Thanks everyone for the support, ideas, and motivation. We have to figure everything out once the anthology starts to wind down, but we will start to work on sorting out everything as soon as we can. We will keep everyone updated! Thank you for being so amazing!

  • Many of the posts and comments I read refer to next year’s Poetry Marathon. Jacob and I even use this phrase when talking to each other, and then we catch ourselves.

    The poetry marathon has been going for five […]

    • This marathon belongs to you, Caitlin and Jacob. You are the Marathon. You’ve given so, so much of your free time these past years to devising, fine tuning, maintaining and driving this event forwards.
      I’d be completely happy to step back from the marathon for a year or so (there needs to be no time pressure on you both; that’s not fair) til you get some breathing space and decide the best way forward – whether you both decide to take up the reins again at some stage or appoint someone else to run it. You’ve done an amazing thing in creating this strong creative community. Now you need to put yourselves first and do what’s best for you xx

    • I’m so grateful for all the Jan’s crew has done! I’m not in a position to take over the marathon or contribute in a 75% way, but I like the idea of individual groups running marathons that might come together in a common way/place (online). I’d be happy to run the Houston, TX branch. Keep me/us posted, Caitlin. 🙂

    • Dear Caitlin and Jacob,
      The two of you have done so much to sustain this global writing community and to further poetry as a viable and much needed genre, and not just a writing form of the past as so many think of it. I sincerely hope that whatever life-changing circumstances have happened this past year improve for you, and would support any combination of the three options you put forth. From my own perspective, I personally have gained so much from this, words for once fail to convey the depth of gratitude I feel. Therefore, I’d like you to consider me for option number one, and I know that one or two (or more!) brave souls from my writing group, Some Poets, would help in the endeavor. After all we would never have all met each other and our group (much less our books) would not exist without the marathon. Please think on this and let me know what you think.
      Warmest regards,
      Tracy Plath

    • I know what it’s like to walk away from something in which you’ve deeply invested. I ran a poetry open mike for more than twelve years. But when the energy is no longer there, it’s gone.

      I also learned that events by committee, especially long distance committee, stumble at the starting gate. If the event is to continue, I suggest that two or three poets who already work in close cooperation take over. Otherwise, one person will carry the load, or pieces will be left undone.

    • Caitlyn and Jacob, this has been a blessing and blast for me being this was my first poetry marathon. By the end of the year, I’ll be working from home so I could better take care of my family and our home. By this time next year I may be ready to help with the organizing of next year’s marathon. Even though I had a bit of a rough go at it this year, it helped me reopen my mind and soul and enjoy writing again. So count me in.

    • Dear Caitlin and Jacob,
      Thank you for the time, money, and energy you are putting into this WONDERFUL Poetry Marathon. I know how hard is to make this kind of decision. Follow your heart and pray together to find the best option.
      Thank you for sharing with us your concern.
      Best wishes,

    • Hi Caitlin & Jacob,
      I am so thankful for The Poetry Marathon you have created and nurtured these past years & the difference it has made in my life creatively, a sentiment undoubtedly shared by many of us.
      I fully support your taking a sabbatical from the Marathon for as long as you both wish & until you decide the best way and next step forward. Your young family, health, and business must always come first.
      To be frank, I know myself, and I don’t think I am confident or able enough to assist to the point of taking over to the extent suggested.
      However, I am certain that more than a few of my fellow writers will be inspired to create their own poetry or other marathon events down the road, and they can count on the support from the members of our ever-growing Poetry Marathon community.
      Gratefully yours,

    • Please get in touch; I’m very serious that I don’t want this to die out or for the current participants to lose their traction because someone else needs to pick it up.

      This was my first half-marathon, and it was so inspiring, so useful for me as a writer that I was wondering if I might start something similar in a prosaic way.

      My lifestyle is free, in that I plan to buy a van and live on the road, traveling across North and South America for as long as I want while writing and working odd jobs when I need to.

      I also love marketing and social media, and keep a rather active profile.

      That means that I have plenty of time and expertise to continue the momentum of The Poetry Marathon, and would actually like to stop off in various communities to encourage it at Open Mike Nights, Poetry Slams, colleges and universities, coffeehouses and book stores wherever I go.

      This would be an amazing task for me, and I’d love it if someone else wanted to help; but if not, I’m sure I can manage it on my own.

      Again, please get in touch; I believe my email address is listed with my registration.

      Sincerely and excitedly,
      Meredith (Meri) McGuire

      • I want to read more comments, so won’t say much here, but wanted to respond just say that I’d love to be in touch – to hear about your plans. My wants are much like yours. I’ve been on a big journey for many years…it’s about to take another form.

        AND, as I’ll write as a comment to Caitlan’s initial post, I too would be willing to help with organizing, keeping going, growing this. It was my first marathon too and I thought it was an incredible experience! Perhaps a brainstorming session among those who’d consider helping to keep it going – whether for a year or longer.

    • I agree with one of the previous comments: having a committee organize is likely to be fraught with peril.

      My preference: You two take a break. Let one person take over the duties you list in your post. Come back when you’re ready.

    • I agree with what Anne said in the first comment. You have done a lot already and we all are really grateful. It’s completely okay to take as much time as you guys need…. We’ll support you in whatever you decide. And I am sure we all are willing to wait…. Even if it takes time…. Please take care and know that for us, your well-being comes first.

    • Yes, Caitlin and Jacob, it was a tremendous work and I for one would like to congratulate you on a job well done and some pats on the back. Yes, again, The Poetry Marathon is Caitlin and Jacob and Caitlin and Jacob is Poetry Marathon. It would not be the same if man by others. Go ahead and skip TPM for a year, we will live, and so the 2 of you. God bless and best regards.

    • I am so very sad to read your announcement. I am sad for your situation and sad for the Marathon’s future. Please know that whatever you decide, you are doing the right thing. I wish I were capable of handling even a part of what you do. I would be willing. I am just not that person. Be well. Keep writing.

    • You are awesome for doing this, and I am very grateful for the opportunity you presented to get me writing again after many many years. Looks like there are a number of volunteers to take the reins next year. Please don’t hesitate to call on me, too, if I can be of service. I suspect a team of us could take the load off.

      Much love! Joy

    • I like the first option. I for one am willing to take over the majority of the work/writing and help out with guidance along the way. How exciting and fantastic to get to be part of a fantastic event. If you as a family need to take a year off then I understand and respect the decision but as a participant, winner, admirer and inspired fellow poet I am more than willing to step up.

    • I think a year off is important, and I support you in that. I was the director of a small non-profit started by a lovely woman, and for health reasons she wanted to retire, so she turned it over to me. But then she didn’t actually. She kept wanting to stay involved, to micromanage and to just give orders. That wasn’t what I signed on to do. A wise person called it “founder’s syndrome”…the founders find it hard to step away because no one will run it like they did or like they envision. Please think about how you would feel turning it over to someone else who might not do it as well as you did. Could you let them fail?

      There’s also the issue of how much you would actually stay involved. If you are going to be working almost as hard to help someone else run it, then just keep it and run it. Only you know the answer to these things. That’s why I support you in taking a break for a year. Life happens. If you miss the marathon, you will come back. If not, then you can hand it off then.

      By the way, I am in another group that would love to consider doing a variation on the marathon. When you are in the mood to discuss options like that, please drop me a note! 🙂 All the best to you both, and deep thanks for a wonderful experience! — Kaye Vivian

    • Whatever you choose, I give my full support. Sometimes we want the same experience again, but we often don’t see the full impact on others. You were amazing leaders this year, and I appreciate the work I see and am grateful for all I haven’t seen. As a newbie, I’m not familiar with the whole marathon so cannot volunteer to lead this, but I will give support if another person or group comes forward. Whatever develops, we’ll be fine.

    • I am immensely thankful how both of you intiated this endeavor and taking the inherent risks of this that it also affected the basic function of family affairs. I will simply abide whatever decision for your poetry marathon. Blessings from Philippines and from bottom of my heart forever grateful for participating this marathon

    • I think that you should hire someone to run the Marathon (or most of it). Charge us $10 to be a part of it. That would pay that person’s salary. The more contestants…the more he or she is paid. With the right person this would be a win/win/win. (When my wife Colleen was looking into being part of this year’s Marathon she asked me how much it cost and was incredulous when I said it was free.) Maybe have scholarships if it’s a financial hardship…or ask volunteers to pay $20 to cover those that might not able to join due to cost. This is too great of an event to not carry on! It’s a time for reinvention!

    • Thank you
      I could say sis much but gratitude is the first emotion that comes to mind. Your hearts and spirits are so beautifully Indelde in this inspiring gift. I felt the amount of work that it takes to do what you do to give such a gift to all of us on this, my second marathon. My first fit Ling wa and spirits are so beautifully Indelde in this inspiring gift. I felt the amount of work that it takes to do what you do to give such a gift to all of us on this, my second marathon. My first next feeling was to jump in an offer my support. And then I remembered how much work I noticed the two of you have put in and continue to. I have seen some very strong offers of support above. And I truly honor and recognize your vision for someone to take on 75% Because yes, committee and all of that is fraught with wildness.

      After reading many of these comments I have a few thoughts.

      if you found that magical 75%er to hold the container, I do believe there would be support within the community willing to follow that leadership and make the commitments to complete necessary tasks as presented. I know that I am willing to support in that way if you keep going, take a break or whoever is keeping us together.

      I encourage your taking time to pray on it and feel what’s right

      it feels like members of this community may be ready to share the cost of keeping the site on the web as it is in the interim and maybe even moving forward. Again, I would for sure.

      And I also would love to see, facilitate and participate in more experiences like this one!

      I wonder if the combination of a 75%er, and others who wish to take the idea and run with it and community financial commitment could all swirl up a pot of awesomeness right there on the current site.

      Ok. I feel like this strewn of consciousness rambling was written at hour 22. But yeah. Let’s keep us together somehows.

      Caitlin and Jacob. I have addedyou and your family to my prayers and I see you all well and blessed. You have touched so many hearts!


    • Thanks everyone for the support, ideas, and motivation. We have to figure everything out once the anthology starts to wind down, but we will start to work on sorting out everything as soon as we can. We will keep everyone updated! Thank you for being so amazing!

    • Hi,
      I had my head down the last two days – or maybe propped up!

      I was sorry to read your announcement.
      This was my first marathon and it was an incredible experience for me! I’ve been telling many about it.

      My thoughts reflect those of many already expressed. So, in no particular order:
      1. THANK YOU, thank you, thank you – for your vision, your execution, the resources you invested and shared so generously, your support, and who you so clearly are in the world!

      2. It seems the first order if for you to decide what you’d like
      (a) GET HELP for next year then make a longer term decision,
      (b) HAND IT OVER for next year then decide,
      (c) RESTRUCTURE. Several possibilities- including you two retaining ‘leadership’ or ‘vision’ but others sign on to do some labor (maybe in conjunction with some modest fee for participation to cover costs
      (d) END IT – knowing that some may start other events based on this)

      I appreciate the comments folks have made regarding running things by committee, and yet, we also know that most enterprises of any size take more than one or two people to make them run/work.

      I suspect a group of interested others could be assembled, responsibilities divided in a way that makes sense and leverages the resources we as a community could bring to the table.

      My general approach is to decide first what you’d most like to see happen – without concern for the ‘how’ – let us know, and we’ll all go from there.

      Finally thought – in my work, I’ve often heard those who don’t wish to take a task suggest that maybe the task shouldn’t be take up at all. I think we should guard against that approach.

      Decide what feels best to and for you, let us know and let’s go from there – with an awareness that there really are ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES : )

      Thank you again, and wishes for peace and ease for you and your family!

      • Thank you! It is really helpful hearing every ones opinion! We do know that the ultimate decision is up to us, but we plan to take our time to make it. We know that we are not going to hand it over to a committee, but we are open to the person who is in charge of the 75% to delegate – but they will be completely in charge of the delegation. Also we discussed it in some length yesterday and I don’t think either of us is ok with charging fees and it would be conditional to handing it over that anyone else would not change that. Fundraising is ok and maybe even wise, but one of the most important things for us is that the Marathon remain open and accessible for all.

    • Whatever you decide, a break, or whatever is fine with me. Not sure how much help I can be, but I am willing to follow directions to make it work.
      The two of you are wonderful folks. You do so much for yew writing community..before reading this, I sent Jacob an email because I wanted to let you know that one of your leads, I think it was yours, has resulted in my placing a short mystery of mine. Your family must come first. Let us know what we can do for patient, take a break, take on tasks…whatever you need

    • Thank you for all you’ve done. I’m open for any resolution that means continuing with the marathon. I would be happy to help as one of the organizers if option number 1 seemed viable. If the #2 and #3 are the favored options, I could organize one of the regional or statewide groups.

  • Jenny that is a wonderful message and very true!!! I really hope everyone continues writing!

  • Sarah, I am not sure I understand your question but you should just be able to copy the image by clicking on it and holding down on your mouse a little menu will pop up that offers that as an option.

  • Around 450, so about half the people that signed up (and didn’t bow out before hand) completed their goal.

  • Sarah, Thank you!! Have you joined the Facebook group ( It is a good place to connect that does not involve friending anyone.

  • I just spent the morning compiling the list of winners of the poetry marathon and half marathon. I’ve linked to the all of the participants pages below. Note, there may be a few names missing –– if you’re not on […]

    • Thank you, Jacob. What a journey this was!
      I’m still reflecting on it today; I suspect I’ll continue to do the same throughout the week as quiet moments come or when I tell others directly.

    • Thank you so much Jacob! This is such an inspiring experience for me! I honor your passion and hard work in making this happen. You have created a beautiful community for us. Deep gratitude!

    • Thank you so much for posting this! And thank you for such an amazing outlet to challenge ourselves and to meet so many wonderful like-minded people!

    • Thank you Jacon and Caitlin Jans for this terrific experience and challange. Blessings!

    • thanks the time to pull this together!

    • I would like to send my love to those poets who were so ready and very much on board, but unable to participate or finish the full or half due to circumstances beyond their control. I feel your anguish and commend you for whatever you may have been able to submit. Never forget, there’s always next year! Warm regards my dears, and keep writing!

    • I am not one to finish a project. My wife, my life can attest to that. However, in my one true love and expertise—early childhood and development from newborns to age 8—I have always completed my initiations. This was true of the Poetry Marathon. Although, I could only sign up for 12 poems in 12 hours—it tested my commitment and resolve. I did it! Now, I have gained confidence to achieve other unattainable goals…and I will directly because of Poetry Marathon. Thank You!

    • During the marathon I was thrilled to be participating. It was invigorating! Being a night owl, it wasn’t especially hard for me to stay up all night and write, but it was fatiguing, and it was a new experience to be watching the clock the entire 12 hours. I didn’t do much of what I consider good work, but I wrote things I would never dreamed I could have written, about things I never would have written about. I consider that a big victory!

      Thank you so much, Caitlin and Jacob, for your hard work to pull this all together and make it such a pleasant and worthwhile experience for all of us. It was great fun, and I’m in for the full ride next year! –Kaye

    • Thank you both for your creativity, organizational skills, motivation and stamina – I’m sure there’s lots more as well – this was fun and into the bargain, I read a LOT of truly fantastic work. Curious how to connect with folks outside of this space/going forward? Is there any connection/link between ‘friending’ someone here and say FB??? Appreciate your guidance to a newbie here. I’ll be back, you can be sure. With gratitude.

    • Thanks you for the list. How many people signed up this year for the full and half marathons?

    • Thank you so much for the recognition. This is surely worth it 🙂

    • I was not added to the 12 hour poetry marathon and I did complete it so please check and add my name. Thank Ms. Caitlin and Mr. Jacob for everything!

  • Every year I make the same two meme’s for everyone who participated in the poetry marathon and half marathon. This year I added a third meme, just because I thought it was funny.

  • 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 […]

    • Thank you Caitlan for all you do to make this happen! The prompts were great as were your supportive comments throughout the day and night!

      I think everything will stay up for some days – the prompts as well as other people’s work. If that’s incorrect, please let me know.
      Thanks again!
      Jill (…

      • The prompts will stay up as long as the site does. Some people remove there poems within the first couple of weeks some leave them up forever. It is up to you!

        • I am not on facebook, can i still get a download of a winners certificate? Please and thank you. This is event is absolutely brilliant!

    • This is lovely. Thank you for letting me be a part of this wonderful sail. The prompts were trickling and pensive. Fnding some time now to read other poets work.:)

    • What am I after the marathon?
      Exhausted but Fulfilled,
      Sleepy but Happy,
      Spent but Grateful.
      Thank you Caitlin and Jason.

    • Thank you everyone for making this year such a success.

    • Did It!

    • I did it but the last poem had an error when I published it that I only found out when I woke up and saw that it hadn’t been published this morning! I went to sleep before I saw it hadn’t officially been posted XD I was up though and wrote Lady Slumber before the 24 hour mark!

    • Thanks a huge amount. This was evoking, satisfying, resolving, and fun. Plain fun. Thanks. I did 24 in 24. Will send 2 and would like to see print. See you next year.

    • Well after my first half I felt good. It was fairly easy I felt no sweat. So there is nothing for halfers?

    • I signed for the half marathon, but completed the 24 hours marathon. Thanking Caitlin and Jacob Jans for such an amazing experience. Also congrats to all my fellow marathoners.

    • Hmm. When I download the certificate, it is a powerpoint slide, which I cannot edit. Can’t seem to convert it either.

      I can’t be the only one with this problem?

  • Congratulations Second Half Marathoners! I am so happy that you have completed 12 poems in 12 hours! That is wonderful. Thank you for joining us in this madness.

    In the past I have personally verified that […]

  • Hooray! You are almost there! This is the last prompt!

    Write a poem about the view out your window right now, this view can be real or imagined, so if you don’t have a window, you can imagine that too.



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