Changes for the 2024 Poetry Marathon

We are very excited for the 2024 Poetry Marathon. Sign up is open here!

This post is mostly focusing on what will change and will stay the same this year, but before I get into that, I want to share that the Poetry Marathon Anthology for 2023 is at the printers, and has been for a while, and we are waiting on them for approval and a proof. We are very sorry it’s taken this long – but we have no control over this stage right now.

There are two big changes to the Poetry Marathon this year.

The first is that, as we warned everyone last year, we will not be continuing on with the anthology. We are grateful to everyone who edited and contributed to it over the years. We are really grateful that we were able to do them as long as we did. They were never part of my initial design for the marathon, and to me they always felt like an additional step. We are hoping that letting go of them will make the marathon more sustainable and easier to run every year. We are still happy to share others’ calls for submissions and the good work they’ve done, but we are not going to play an official role in the running of anthologies for the foreseeable future.

The second is that we are moving away from Facebook and Word Press and on to Circle.

Yes, we know change can be scary but WordPress has gotten increasingly buggy over the years. This year I couldn’t upload any of the image prompts without making major and time consuming file size changes (and even then it only worked half the time). We’d already been considering switching platforms for the last year, but that failure on WordPress’s part is what encouraged us to commit to a new platform.

The other factor is that Facebook played a vital role in community building in many of the marathons, but as more and more people have left the platform it has become less functional and as a social meeting place. Last year less than half the participants were even part of the group. The Circle platform will have many of the same social features that help make the community vibrant, and it won’t be limited to people who are on Facebook. It will be available to all participants.

This year we are paying for two months of hosting from Circle, which is very similar to Facebook in some ways but for only limited groups. No one will have to pay to join the marathon (now are always), we are covering the cost ourselves. If later people want to optionally donate to keep the Circle up, that might be an option, but it should work well even if it isn’t up between Marathons.

Via Circle, we can email all the participants easily, so now all the prompts and announcements will appear in your email inbox and not be lost on the chaos of the websites. Participants can post their poems as responses to the hourly post, and connect with fellow participants via the community discussion area. Everything is pretty intuitive to use, and in fact I’ve hosted four classes on the platform already.  So I trust it and know it mostly works well.

We will be sharing the link to the Circle with the first round of acceptances on the 24th of May so everyone should have plenty of time to sign up and feel it out.

We will also be hosting orientation material on Circle so it should be easy for newcomers to understand how the marathon works better.

One of the added benefits of moving to Circle is that all posted poems will be automatically private. That doesn’t mean you can’t share your poems with friends via social media, by all means, please do that, but for those planning to submit to literary journals after the event, this space is now officially entirely private and accessible only to members who have applied to join. Even the strictest literary journal I know of, in terms of rights, (Clarkesworld), does not consider that sort of private sharing published.

Even though every editor I talked to about it had no issue with writers sharing work using the private button on the WP, users were actively worried about sharing work on the site, and this should hopefully ease their fears.

It’s also really easy to DM other participants on Circle, which can help build community too.

If Circle does not work better for most people than WP, we will of course not stick with it as a platform, but given that the current courses I teach on it are also large and prompt based, and work really well, I have every reason to believe that the move will be a good one!

9 thoughts on “Changes for the 2024 Poetry Marathon

    1. The site will stay around for now, but it’s a very good idea to keep a separate copy of the site, as it will need to be taken down eventually.

  1. AP June 2024 Poetry Marathon

    Less than thirty minutes to culmination!

    In spite of a “run” to the ER with my husband (ear infection), I “ran my first poetry marathon”.

    In pleasant company, thanks to J & C!

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