Frequently Asked Questions

How do I join the Poetry Marathon?

The sign up period in 2021 starts will start on June 1st, and close on the 19th of June. Keep an eye on this website and our Facebook page for updates. If you have just missed this period email us at

How long do the poems have to be?

They can be as long or as short as you want them to be. Every single one of them could be one line long or you can write a series of sonnets, or the length can vary from a few lines to two pages.

When do I write the poems?

Each hour of the poetry marathon you will write one poem and post it on the website. The poem should not be written in advance. It should be written during the hour. If you have to play catch up because of sleep you can.

How should I prepare for the Marathon?

Everyone goes about this in a different way. I usually stock up on food and caffeine, ensuring that we don’t have to leave the house unless we want to leave the house. I am also going to try and get at least two good nights of sleep before the marathon. Some people are planning to do the evening portion with friends. So that they can help each other stay awake and motivated, also it will be a lot of fun. Some are planning to spend some of the downtime in Skype. You can do the marathon however you want to do the marathon.

I am going to be away from my laptop/the internet for part of the day? Can I just write the poems down every hour and put them up later?

Yes, it’s not always possible to access a computer or the internet. Besides we believe in the honour system. After all, if you cheat during The Poetry Marathon you are only really cheating yourself. But you cannot schedule posts in advance. You can add poems you wrote during the marathon after the marathon is completed if you could not post them at the time, but you cannot do them in advance.

What if I can’t think of what to write about?

There will be prompts on the website, posted every hour, that may help. Also phone or video call a friend or fellow Marathoner. You can also start a discussion on the Facebook group which tends to be very active throughout the marathon.

What happens after the Marathon to the poems I write?

All the poems you write belong to you, both during the marathon and after it. You have the right and ability to remove the poems at any time.  It is best to keep them up for at least a day after the marathon. I generally keep them up for at least a week so that fellow marathoners get a chance to read them.

There is an option to make sure no one but other marathoners can see your posts. This means that you can remove the poems after, edit them, and submit them to journals, because journals do not consider that to be a public posting.

Why do I have to fill out an application?

Filling out the very short application is a great way to start thinking and start committing to the marathon. When you sign up for a marathon in running, or any long organized running race, you have to fill out a form and pay a fee to run, it is a way of committing to prepare and participate in the race. This form works in the same way, except we’re completely free.

What happens after I apply?

Once we’ve received your application, we will read it and contact you within a week. We will set you up with a WordPress account, so you can post your poems. We will help you get oriented, to make sure you are comfortable using the technology. We’ll also connect you with the community of other participants, and help you with any other questions you might have.

How many people participate in the Poetry Marathon?

It varies from year to year. But over the last four years there have been around 500 participants from all over the world.

Do I have to be a poet to participate?

Of course not. A surprising number of people who have rarely/never written a poem participate every year and they produce great poems. Lots of the participants are primarily novelists, non-fiction writers, songwriters, or visual artists.

Who founded the Poetry Marathon?

Caitlin Jans (Thomson) came up with the idea in 2011 and told Jacob Jans about it. He thought it was such a good idea that he made a website for it and started to convince others to join in.

Please keep in mind that the marathon is run by two people with small children and full time jobs. We make zero profit and actually put a fair amount of our own money into the marathon. This means that not everything is perfect, but we try and are always open to hearing feedback.

Why do some years have an Anthology, and others don’t?

The anthology is a great project and it provides a lot of writers with an opportunity to create a publication history. But it is a huge undertaking in terms of time, even when we hire outside editors, for that reason it is not always possible to have one. Although so far only two of our eight years were without one.

Please ask any other questions in the comments section or email

20 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I am not clear where I write the self-description.

    I belong to three writing groups. Is it okay and helpful to post the desire to have poets from the remaining continents?

    Are you also interested in islands and archipeligos? archapeligos? arcapeligoes? Archipelligoes? Arcapelligos? Chains of islands?

  2. not sure about beginning, i wrote something for the
    third hour, as my internet was down the first two hours
    not sure my entry was posted as i didn’t see the title.
    now in the 4th hour. lol

  3. I Survived Tshirt is a cool idea….but will they ship to India…would be extra shipping charges I guess…with the USD to Rupee conversion rate of a whopping Rs 70 per Dollar – I am thinking it would be a lot cheaper for me to buy a tee and print the mssg right here in Pune-India 😂😁😃

  4. HI… I’m new this year and need a couple of answers from someone.
    I signed up for 24 hrs but can’t do Sunday so how can I change to 12 hrs…?
    Where do we post our poems – do we create as new posts on the WordPress page?
    Thanks to whoever can help out

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