Mary Jo Balistreri
Mary Beth Bretzlauf
David LaRue Alexander
Diane Lotko Baker
Mary Jo Balistreri
William T. Carey
John J. Gordon
M. E. Hope
S. Michael Kozubek
Leslie A. Peet
Maggie Van Dyke
Welcome to this website for the Illinois State Poetry Society, connecting ISPS members with each other and with the general public. Here you'll find information for and about this group of serious poets. Since June of 2000 we have been posting bimonthly editions of poetry written by ISPS members. All ISPS members are invited to submit a poem each two-month period. (How and when to submit) You are invited to read the ISPS member poems and haiga posted in June 2021 as well as previous postings. In March, 2020 we published a special edition of poems on the theme of "water".
To join ISPS through June, ,
please fill out our Membership Form and mail it with a check for $20.00. You don't have to be an Illinois resident to join ISPS, but you do need to be an ISPS member to have your poems posted in this website.
Summer has finally come with warm temperatures and outdoor activities, not to
mention drought and then flooding. Perhaps the last two issues will be one of the next topics poets write about as Covid slows its deadly pace. On the other hand, there is much to celebrate with nature's beauty and an easier lifestyle with new approaches to getting our poems across.
During the National Convention virtually shared earlier in June, techniques for writing about any topic were discussed by various workshop leaders. Looking at different approaches to presenting poetry and experimenting with them can bring fresh energy to our work. One focus was on writing poetry that "brought us here" by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer. Like her suggestions, Eleanor Berry's comments about poetry offering a "deep conversation" and Carol Clark Williams' "Are You Talking to Me?", there is always another approach to present poems in fresh ways. It's in the creating that we often discover ideas and turns that weren't initially present in our thinking. In any piece it's important, however, to write about what we know, as emphasized by Bud Powell Mahan. There is an overall takeaway that poetry can be a conversation between the poet and anything from plants to art or other humans. Transcribing thoughts in a poetic style is a version of this idea of conversing.
ISPS strives to offer opportunities not only to critique each other's work but also
to learn new approaches to writing poetry. If you have a workshop you could share
with other members, a Zoom session would be provided for the event. Let me know
Another topic is the reading of the Strophes sent by NFSPS. Are you happy with receiving the informative publication by email or is hardcopy preferable? Please consider what is better for you and which method is more likely to get your interest. You may let me know if you would prefer a change.
In closing, David Budbill, poet, writer and playwright, said that "All worthwhile writing relies finally upon details, on things seen (and felt) with exactness from an individual
point of view." He also believed that "word music" is what helped make Chaucer such an enduring wordsmith.
William Wei-Yi Marr, Ph.D., Wins Lifetime Achievement Award
William Marr, a poet and past president of ISPS, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who's Who. Read about Bill's award.
"Last Sunday" Poetry Reading, August 29, 2021
Two poets will be featured on Sunday, August 29 at Brewed Awakening in Westmont, IL. The event will run from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., and will include an open mic for which you can sign up in the Zoom chat or at Brewed Awakening. Tickets will be required for Zoom attendance (purchase details to come). Brewed Awakening is open as per Covid guidelines, so you may participate by going there (19 W Quincy Street, Westmont, Illinois; just off Cass Avenue, across the street from the train station). There is a $12 cover charge, which entitles you to a beverage and snack. The event is sponsored by the Illinois State Poetry Society and Brewed Awakening.
Order The First Six Months - Poems During a Pandemic
The First Six Months, a pandemic snapshot of March through August 2020, features work by 22 diverse southern Illinois poets as they learned to sequester, social-distance, mask, and deal with both uniquely personal and worldwide challenges. Though the anthology's themes of COVID-19 and racial justice protests reflect this period, the in-the-moment viewpoints are as individual as the poets themselves. Photos, art, and snippets of news reports accompany the poetry, adding to a creative record of the unprecedented months of one spring, one summer. To Sample and Order at Amazon.com
Order Distilled Lives, Volume 5, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives, Volume 5 presents recent poems from 70+ writers new and established, all members of the Illinois State Poetry Society. The observations, memories, triumphs, laments—yes, and comic moments, too—presented by the assembled pieces reflect the diversity of the members and the breadth of interests they represent. To Sample and Order at Amazon.com
Order Distilled Lives, Volume 4, ISPS Poetry Anthology
"What I love most about this wonderful 4th edition of Distilled Lives is its clarion call to pay thoughtful attention to the world around us and within us. For indeed, as these remarkable poets make clear in these poems, all of life is worthy of such sustained attention and creative response. In these pages, readers will be treated to unfamiliar experiences made viscerally accessible. So too, readers will be moved by fresh perspectives on familiar themes. Spanning a broad range of subject matter, style, and treatment, there are poems in this collection to appeal to every reader." —Arlyn Miller, Senior Editor of Poetic License Press To Sample and Order at Amazon.com
Order Distilled Lives, Volume 3, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives, Volume 3, showcases the talented voices of sixty-seven Illinois State Poetry Society member poets who deal in a variety of styles about personal catastrophes and triumphs, grounded by the seasons and values of America’s heartland. Quiet pleasures along with quiet griefs are given the same dose of wit and wisdom honed by the work of those with rolled-up sleeves in overalls as well as those with daily commuter passes in briefcases. This is a collection of powerful human stories lived with uniquely Midwestern ethics. To Sample and Order at Amazon.com
Order Distilled Lives, Volume 2, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives, Volume 2, is a rich and diverse collection of poetry from members of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Represented in the anthology are new word-crafters alongside poets in their nineties who have been writing throughout their lives. There are first-timers as well as Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award nominee James Reiss and the prolific Joan Colby and Jacob Erin-Cilberto, each with more than a dozen volumes to their credit. You will find formal forms, poems with stylized messages, rhymed lines, and prose-poem paragraphs.The lives distilled here offer a panoply of poetic style and individual creativity, a challenging and comforting gift of words offered by eighty-one representatives of ISPS. To Sample and Order at Amazon.com
Order Distilled Lives, Volume 1, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Seventy-five members of Illinois State Poetry Society have, as their 20th anniversary anthology's title promises, distilled life with its vicissitudes and revelations. Poems weave universal themes in rhyme and free verse while presenting fresh, provocative and sometimes
metaphysical insights. Humor, pathos, reverie and existentialism, among other diverse tones, combine in this entertaining and insightful collection. Sneak Peek To Order
If you have questions or feedback regarding this website, please click the link below to send us an email. We welcome your thoughts.