Mary Jo Balistreri
Mary Beth Bretzlauf
David LaRue Alexander
Diane Lotko Baker
Mary Jo Balistreri
John J. Gordon
M. E. Hope
S. Michael Kozubek
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 April 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.
This April is the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Month started by the Academy
of American Poets in 1996. Scilla, daffodils, forsythia and magnolias, among other
beauties, are celebrating with vibrant blooms. These tenacious harbingers of spring birthed by creative forces have much to teach us as we look forward to better times after a long winter with its many challenges.
Surprise of color and greening lawns remind us of our own possibilities to generate new poetry and see the world with fresh insight as our work responds to another beginning. Perhaps it's time to mail out poetry to more journals, do some public readings or share critique sessions with a new group of poets. Consider including a poem in the next birthday card you send. Like spring flowers, we need to reach for the light and respond to the call of engaging ideas waiting to bloom on the page. This could be the year for a first poetry collection or another one, experimenting with a different style of writing and formatting words on a page. Look beneath the petals of ideas and attempt to capture underlying motivations that nourish poetic offspring.
Ted Kooser's "Late Spring" sets a time of year and age with a fresh look at the speaker's
location and ephemeral events of the season. "This April, in good health, I entered my fifty-fourth year./ The perfect porcelain bells of Lily-of-the-Valley/ring into the long, shy ears of ferns,/and the horsefly sits in the sun and twirls his mustache/and brushes the dust from his satin sleeves."
It's all here, the possibilities of renewal and fortitude if we choose to emulate what the tulips already know.
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, June 27, 2021
On Sunday, June 27, 2021, two poets will read their poems at Brewed Awaking. The event will run from 12:30 - 2:00 pm. There will be an open mic. There is a $12 cover charge for in-person attendees, who will be entitled to a beverage and snack. Zoom attendees will need to purchase a $10 ticket to receive the Zoom link. All proceeds will go towards operation of the coffee shop. Brewed Awakening is at 19 W Quincy Street, Westmont, Illinois 60559 (just off Cass Avenue, across the street from the train station).
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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