Echo Park

The 5-Day Poetry Marathon

Enjoy 58 hours of stirring words, in Echo Park.

If you paid a visit to The Floating Library, the raft-bound book-lending station that floated at Echo Park Lake in February, you correctly surmised that the hosts of the event held a lively and unconventional view of the written word.

Machine Project, those Echo Park-based art visionaries, served as a presenter of the lake-located library (which artist Sarah Peters created). The art group's next venture into ideas printed on pages will involve poets reading their entire books over the course of 58 hours.

You heard — er, read — that right: A bevy of poets will head for the subterranean theatre under Machine Project's Echo Park storefront for a five-day poetry marathon, an event that doesn't simply involve a single poem spoken aloud but all the poems that exist between two covers of a book.

The dates? Wednesday, March 30 through Sunday, April 3. The partner on the project? Wave Books.

If you're doing the addition, and you interject that five days does not equal 58 hours, you'd be correct again; there'll be 12-hour break each day, from 2 a.m. to 2 in the afternoon (save on the final day, which starts earlier).

Each poet is allotted 90 minutes to three hours, depending on the poet and book. Rebecca Wolff, Harmony Holiday, and a host of thought-provoking scribes will appear, with poet Dolores Dorantes presenting in Spanish and Kim Yideum presenting in Korean.

The readings are separately ticketed, at $10 each. There are 25 writers in all, so if you plan to make the full 58-hour push, plan on budgeting $250 (and some quick naps during those short morning breaks).

It's a "rare opportunity to hear poets read their book in their entirety," for sure; consider how hearing one poem read aloud from a tome can sometimes leave the listener wondering how it fits into the book's other works.

This marathon answers that question by fanning the whole idea of the poetry book out in full, over a couple of hours, as read by the person who wrote the poems. It's a novel idea, with poetry in its veins, and a bit of mirth to its marathon-esque big thinking.

Can you go all 58 hours? And perhaps find a new poet to adore? Rest up.

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