Illinois State Poetry Society
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Benefactors ($50)
Mary Jo Balistreri
Joe Glaser
Chris Holaves
Farouk Masud
Ina Perlmuter
Conrad Selznick
Myron Stokes

Patrons ($30)
David LaRue Alexander
William Carey
Christine Cianciosi
Debbie Crawford
Carole Croll
Dan Fitzgerald
Georgiann Foley
Marilyn Giese
John Gordon
Larry Hays
Katherine Hutchinson
Lee Johnson
Sheila Kirscher
Emma A. Kowalenko
Jim Lambert
Pam Larson
Georgina Milsted
Tom Moran
Jenene Ravesloot
Kathleen Robinson
Tom Roby
Irfanulla Shariff
Joe Solberg
Judith Tullis
Arthur Voellinger
Donald Wier

In Memoriam
Sally Hanson Calhoun
Nancy Jean Carrigan
David Christensen
Don Cornwell
Phillip Egelston
Patricia Gangas
Chris Holaves
Glenna Holloway
Usha Mahisekar
John Mahoney
Marguerite McClelland
Martha S. Moss
John Pawlik
James Reiss
Marge Samuel
Doyle Raymond Vines
Paul J. Wolf

Illinois State Poetry Society
New Poems
New Haiga

Search only ISPS site
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 2018 as well as previous postings.

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.

Upcoming ISPS Meetings

ISPS News Bulletins

A Message from the ISPS President, March, 2017

by Susan T. Moss, ISPS President

Susan T. Moss

First, happy and healthy 2018. This new year seems to be going fast, and the board has been planning some exciting future events. April's Poetry Month will once again be celebrated with displays in several libraries which will be updated closer to the time poems are mounted. As of this writing, they include: Aurora, Bloomington (May), Carbondale, Evanston North Branch, Glencoe, Highland Park, Hinsdale, Indian Prairie, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Wilmette, Pontiac, and more to come. The theme is "garden(s)," and the deadline is March 4.

Further events include a reading by members at the Evanston North Branch Library on April 16 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. If interested, you must contact Susan Moss at to be placed on the reader list. There will also be an event at the Lemont Art Center on April 6 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Poets will share their poems with artists at this reception. The annual Poetry Fest will be at the Harold Washington Library on April 28. ISPS will share a table with Poets and Patrons, and members' books can be sold at the table. Other possible occasions will be announced as April gets closer.

This year also includes the fourth volume of Distilled Lives, our anthology of members' poetry. Submissions and order forms should be sent to Judith Tullis. Two to four poems may be sent, and one or two will be selected for the book. There are separate directions for haiku-related poems. See page 2 of our newsletter for details. A book launch and gala is potentially going to be held in the fall.

We receive fragments of insights, glimmers of hope and despair, also surges of compelling ideas. When we have these calls to possible creativity, it's our duty to ourselves to answer and not put off the words and inspiration that will pass us by if not engaged. With another beginning on the calendar, perhaps our poetry would benefit from some new topics we haven't explored yet.

So many choices to consider include the topic of aging, a wish not yet realized, a nightmare, the stunning beauty of a full moon beaming light across a lake, reactions in a rearview mirror or a time when you realized that your memories are as creative as the way you choose to reformat them on the page. Let's gather the many precious gifts we can give ourselves and then share them with each other.

Happy writing,

Susan T. Moss

Archive of Presidents' Messages

"Last Sunday" Poetry Reading, July 29, 2018

Two highly respected poets, Christine Swanberg and Judith Valente, will be featured at Brewed Awakening, 19 W Quincy (across the street from the METRA Station in Westmont), on Sunday, July 29, 12:30-2:00 p.m. There will also be some open mic time. Cover charge of $10 includes cost of a beverage and snack.

Christine Swanberg

Christine Swanberg's books include Tonight on this Late Road, Invisible String, Bread Upon the Waters, Slow Miracle, The Tenderness of Memory, The Red Lacquer Room, Who Walks among the Trees with Charity, The Alleluia Tree, and Wild Fruition: Sonnets, Spells, and other Incantations. Her poetry appears in many journals and anthologies, including Spoon River, Wind, Louisville Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Garden Blessings, Back to Joy, Gratitude Prayers and Poems and Earth Blessings. Christine gives readings and workshops throughout the United States. She has been a writing teacher and mentor for many years.

Judith Valente

Judith Valente is the author of the poetry collection Discovering Moons (Virtual Artists Collective, Chicago, 2009) and the chapbook, Inventing An Alphabet, selected by Mary Oliver for the 2005 national Aldrich Poetry Prize. Her poems often explore in lush and surprising detail, the whimsical connections between the outer world and the inner spirit. Judith covered religion and spirituality for many years for national PBS-TV and reported on both religion and the poetry scene for Chicago Public Radio. She is the author of four books on how to live a more contemplative life, including The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed, and most recently How To Live: What The Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning and Community.

Order Distilled Lives, Volume 3, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives, volume 3 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
Order Distilled Lives, Volume 2, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives vol. 2 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

Order Distilled Lives, Volume 1, ISPS Poetry Anthology
book cover 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

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