By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Feb 10, 2003 at 5:08 AM

The 9th Annual Poetry Marathon Benefit Reading, held at Riverwest's Woodland Pattern Book Center on Sat., Jan. 25, raised $4,482 for the not-for-profit bookshop and performance space.

The money was raised mostly throught pledges attained by the marathon participants who are asked to secure at least $25 in pledges. This year, the average raised by each reader was $44.82, about $17 more than requested.

"Organizing this event is the highlight of my year. I got to sit and listen this time more than I ever have in the past and was so impressed by what the Milwaukee literary community has to offer, and that people continue to support this event in such a strong way," says Woodland Pattern's Stacy Szymaszek.

104 readers participated in the event, including Milwaukee's poet laureate Antler, UWM's Susan Firer, esteemed filmmaker Jennifer Montgomery, OMC's Molly Snyder Edler and scores of other writers who do not usually perform their work but came out to support Woodland Pattern and connect with the local literary community.

Each writer was allotted five minutes to read or perform; consequently, the marathon lasted almost twelve hours. The $6 admission price was good for the entire event, but audience members and sizes fluxuated greatly throughout the marathon.


Numerous participants suggested that the event has outgrown the Woodland Pattern performance space, because for many hours of the readings, there was standing room only. At times, spectators even spilled from the performance room into the book center.

"We are torn about moving the event to a bigger space because the sale of books on that day is significant, and bringing people into the space has always been a goal. If the event keeps growing, which it will, I can't see how another venue can be avoided," says Szymaszek. "Sounds like a topic for a board meeting!"