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 January 2022 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.
The ISPS newsletter has been an important source of communication within
our society, and we on the board are very appreciative of Kathy Robinson's efforts
as editor. Unfortunately, she has had to take a medical leave from this position.
We send good wishes for her better health in the days ahead. We welcome Jennifer
Dotson who has kindly volunteered to take over the job, and you are invited to
contact her with ISPS related news that requires a two-month notice at the following:
Now that trees have dropped their colorful robes and winter is on the way, we poets
might learn something from this annual event and shed what's left of former ideas
and creative motivations that don't add up to initial intentions to capture what we
tried to say but missed the mark. Before the year is over, we have time to weigh,
word for word, what best represents our individual efforts to save what we know
of this year, this life we have observed and experienced.
We can discover a lot from our own poetry and even be surprised by our words.
Sometimes when we are fully absorbed in our writing, we dwell in a place beyond
the moment and are carried by deeper inspiration that seems to magically emerge
on the page. These are the "keepers," the ones that we can learn from and then try
to find that creative place again and again. As we move into winter, we can set new
tracks to follow and trust that they will lead to more insights. The poet William
Stafford also seeks ways to explore deeper connections. In "Bi-Focal" he offers
the following view:
So, the world happens twice—
once what we see it as:
second it legends itself
deep, the way it is.
As we leave the Sturm und Drang of this past year and gather the positives to take
with us into 2022, let's keep our sight on the horizon of possibility, joy and creativity.
M.E. Hope and Mike Freveletti will be featured at Brewed Awakening on Sunday, January 30. Hope will appear via Zoom; Freveletti will read in-person at the coffeeshop. 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. Zoom tickets can be purchased for $5 here.
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.
M.E. Hope was born in Wallowa County and spent most of her first twenty years there. Then about twenty years away from Oregon in and around Navy bases throughout the US and Europe before making Klamath Falls home for twelve years; then back to Europe for a few years. Wanderlust is a real and valuable thing. She has been a recipient of a Fishtrap Fellowship, Playa Residency and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission. She currently lives in a smallish town on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, near Saint Louis. Publications include Sky Island Journal, Rattle, Hubbub, High Desert Journal, the Iowa Review (as a runner up for the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans), a chapbook, The Past is clean, and numerous anthologies. While in Oregon she was a member of the Oregon Poetry Association (and contest chair for a few years for the regular and student contests). She has a blog called Meanders where she talks about poetry, birds, family, the weather, tofu, the past; wherever the road goes. She lives with her husband of thirty-five years and the ghosts of seven cats who ran out of lives.
Mike Freveletti is a poet and writer living in Wheaton, IL. In college at Illinois State University, he developed an interest in poetry after reading poets like Charles Olson, George Oppen and Denise Levertov. He's on the board for two poetry organizations, the Illinois State Poetry Society where he's the voice of William Shakespeare distributing emails to the membership as well as the historian, and he's the treasurer for Poets & Patrons. His poetry and prose has been published online and in print in places such as Shotgun Honey, Gyroscope Review and RiverPoets Journal, among others. He is currently at work on his first chapbook of poems that he hopes to find a home for in the near future.
Order Remember: Poems for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11
Remember: Poems for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 offers a two-decade look back at the terrorist attack. Set in 30 poems interspersed with photos and news notes, the collection closes with a chapter of peace poems. In diverse styles and forms, 18 members of the Illinois State Poetry Society Southern Chapter bring to these pages personal reflections on the horrific event, the nation's aftermath of loss and grief, and, still, our longing for peace. To Sample and Order at Amazon.com
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
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