Last weekend, I participated in a poetry marathon. It was the first time in two years.
In a movie marathon, people watch a series of movies, like Start Wars, all in one sitting. It is a relaxing way to become exhausted.
In a running marathon, people run long distances as fast as they can. It is an exhilarating way to become exhausted with a sense of accomplishment.
So what exactly is a poetry marathon? Do you read poetry? Yes, a bit. Do you discuss poetry? Yes, a bit. Do you talk with other poets? Yes, a bit.
Most of the time, though, is spent thinking, reacting, writing, researching, erasing, rewriting. There is at least one prompt that goes out at the start of each hour and the participant has to write something by the end of the hour. A sense of urgency is felt in some hours, especially when sleepiness takes over in the middle of a poem.
It is a mind boggling, emotional journey, that leaves the participant exhausted with a huge sense of accomplishment. After all, poetry is not easy to write and to write a minimum of 24 within 24 hours is nothing short of phenomenal.
Another aspect that makes this poetry marathon incredible is that it is open to anybody, anywhere, as long as they have Internet. It is a marathon of writers from all around the world. The opportunity to encounter new points of view, to make friends, to join new groups of like-minded people is literally right at your fingertips.
It has taken me almost a full week to recover, probably because of the lack of coffee and snacks I took in during the event this year. My slower recovery might also be because I am older than I was last time.
Was it worth it? Yes, it was definitely worth it. I managed to write thirty-eight poems. Not all of them are any good, but thirty-eight poems written over a course of two months might not produce better results. They all need editing. The ones that are beyond editing to help them along might be useful as jumping points for something more meaningful.
Would I do this kind of marathon again? Well, considering that I have participated in a half marathon and this year was my second full poetry marathon, I think the answer is simple: of course!