Illinois State Poetry Society
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Benefactors ($50)
Jocelyn Ajami
Mary Jo Balistreri
Joe Glaser
Chris Holaves
Lee Johnson
Farouk Masud
Myron Stokes

Patrons ($30)
David LaRue Alexander
Camille Balla
William Carey
Debbie Crawford
Carole Croll
Michael Freveletti
Dan Fitzgerald
Georgiann Foley
John J. Gordon
Larry Hays
Melissa Huff
Sheila Kirscher
Emma A. Kowalenko
Jim Lambert
Bonnie Leer
Georgina Milsted
Tom Moran
Kathleen Robinson
Nancy Schaefer
Irfanulla Shariff
Rick Shaw
Ruth Siburt
Keith Skilling
Joe Solberg
Judith Tullis

In Memoriam
Sally Hanson Calhoun
Nancy Jean Carrigan
David Christensen
Don Cornwell
Phillip Egelston
Jonathan Foster, OFM
Patricia Gangas
Chris Holaves
Glenna Holloway
Usha Mahisekar
John Mahoney
Marguerite McClelland
Martha S. Moss
John Pawlik
Ina Perlmuter
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 August 2019 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, August, 2019

by Susan T. Moss, ISPS President

Susan T. Moss

As we spend our summer days either enjoying the warmth plus garden produce and colors or longing for cooler climes, there is much to consider and celebrate. First, Illinois was eloquently represented by many Illinois poetry winners, from top prizes to honorable mentions in the NFSPS contests. Congratulations to all our outstanding poets!

I was proud to share this year's national convention with several ISPS members who added to the excitement of also seeing people met and befriended from past gatherings. It is always fun to have extended time to share ideas, meals and easy camaraderie.

This year the state of New Mexico chose a new poet laureate who was introduced to us at the Santa Fe capitol building. Those of us attending the program had an an opportunity to read our own poetry and share in the special gathering. This open invitation to help celebrate was one of the outstanding events of the convention.

A Native American theme throughout the Hotel Santa Fe added a serene and interesting motif which provided the backdrop for workshops and visiting. What all conventions share, no matter the location, is the opportunity for poets to bond based on love of poetry, comradeship, new ideas and the desire to improve their own work as well as their state societies.

The same kinds of mutual interest and fellowship are available at our ISPS chapter meetings, readings and casual get-togethers. We can support and inspire each other while improving our poems, way of seeing the world around us, and experimenting with different styles. That is the power we all have to discover our best selves and encourage others through the means of, as the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova said, "Freshness of words, simplicity of emotions."

A last comment is a reminder to submit dues for this next year's membership renewal. The benefits are abundant and members worth knowing.

Happy writing,

Susan T. Moss

Archive of Presidents' Messages

William Marr's Selected Poems released
The Selected Chinese/English Poems by William Marr
written in 1957-2017, including a brief bio, list of
publications, and excerpts from reviews and comments.

This is one his eBooks produced by his friend, Mr. Hong Phan,
over the past few years.

Please click here to download a PDF file containing the eBook.
Pontiac Poetry Reading Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Pontiac chapter of ISPS will hold a poetry reading on Saturday, October 26th from 6 pm to 8 pm at the Cup and Scone coffee house. The Cup and Scone is at 213 W Madison St, Pontiac IL 61764. The phone number is 815-255-9870.

The Cup and Scone website is at and you can get driving directions on that page, but you have to scroll down.

ISPS members will read their poetry, and there will also be an open mike session for anyone who wants to read. Everyone is welcome!

"Last Sunday" Poetry Reading, October 27, 2019

On Sunday, October 27, Chicago area poets Emma Alexandra Kowalenko and Vittorio Carli will be featured at Brewed Awakening. They will read and perform their poetry at the coffee shop, which is located at 19 West Quincy (across from the train station), Westmont, at 12:30 PM. There will also be an open mic. Cover charge of $12.00 plus tax includes coffee or another beverage and a snack. The event is sponsored by the Illinois State Poetry Society and Brewed Awakening.

Emma Alexandra Kowalenko

Emma Kowalenko emigrated to the U.S. from Morocco with her parents at age 11. Fluent in six languages, small business advocate, oral historian, poet, and mixed media visual artist, she is passionate about giving visibility and voice to the unseen and the unheard. She believes that story telling represents the human lifeline to the past and the future. Currently serving as an emeritus board member, she is one of the founders of East on Central Journal of Arts and Letters, currently in its 18th year of publication, based in Highland Park, Illinois and an active member of the Sister Cities Foundation of Highland Park. Her poetry has appeared in chapbooks, websites, and anthologies published by the Illinois State Poetry Society, The Journal of Modern Poetry, East on Central, and Highland Park Poetry. Her management consulting book published in 2019 Puliziotta's Organizational Health and Fitness — Lessons Learned and Strategies for Zapping the DYSfunctional Virus incorporates creativity, poetry, persona narrative, and mindfulness in its practical exercises for improving workplace environments —

Vittorio Carli

Vittorio Carli's first poetry book, A Passion for Apathy was published by Press of the 3rd Mind in 2012. His second book, Tape Worm Salad with Olive Oil for Extra Flavor, came out in December 2018. His poetry was also translated into Italian by Mario Rigoni and Tom Dewis for Poesia magazine. His poems have also appeared in The Best of Chicago Poetry, Online! the Chicago Poetry Renaissance, Mind in Motion, Poems of the World, Religious Humanism, and numerous other places. His poetry shows take place at the Art Colony a few times a year, and he is also has started a new reading series at Intersect Coffee every second Friday at 1727 W 18th St in Pilsen. He has taught literature, writing, humanities and film at Moraine Valley Community College, Richard J. Daley College, the Illinois Institute of Art, Morton College, and Columbia College. His articles and interviews can be found at and his current email is His longtime collaborator and fellow former lamprey, Carolyn Curtis Margi created the covers for his books.

Order Distilled Lives, Volume 4, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives, volume 4 "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
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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