Mary Jo Balistreri
David LaRue Alexander
Diane Lotko Baker
John J. Gordon
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 February 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.
After a brisk winter walk in lightly falling snow here in Northern Illinois, I am
reminded of how nature holds the power to sooth worry and stress. Sitting here
at my desk and grateful to be distanced from the pandemic, I am also aware of
what a perfect moment can be, one that should not be overlooked or denied.
This gift is what poetry can look to for inspiration—a silent connection with creative
forces and gratitude. Literary history is replete with poetic insight responding to a
moment. Presently, there is a need to call for hope, peace and healing, to offer words
of solace that carry us beyond this time and place toward a oneness with self and the
world. Perhaps we need to look inward and find strength to keep moving forward and respond to the question Amanda Gorman's inaugural poem asks, "...where can we find light in this never-ending shade?" It's in the creativity of our art that we overcome some of the fear and helplessness where we sometimes see ourselves starting to sink. We need to write our own poem to the future and the abundant possibilities of now.
Our society is going strong in spite of limited in-person gatherings. Brewed Awakening
continues to offer featured readers and open mic with virtual monthly events, and
several chapters Zoom critique sessions with great success. We celebrated the end of
2020 with the publication of Distilled Lives, volume 5 and send congratulations to the
ISPS annual contest winners. Also, the website continues to offer opportunities to share
our work. We poets are a wellspring of positive forces that can offer the motivation
to keep moving toward better days ahead. May the new year bring good health, serenity and abundant creativity.
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, February 28, 2021
Poet Robin Chapman will be the featured reader on Zoom on Sunday, February 28, for the Last Sunday of the Month Reading sponsored by ISPS and Brewed Awakening Coffee Shop in Westmont, Illinois. The poetry event, which will include open mic, will run from 12:30-2:00 p.m. Email Wilda Morris at email@example.com for the Zoom link. There is no charge but donations will be solicited.
Robin Chapman is Professor Emerita of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of sixteen books and chapbooks of poetry, including The Only Everglades in the World from Parallel Press and the Posner Poetry Award-winning books The Way In (Tebot Bach) and Images of a Complex World: The Art and Poetry of Chaos (with J.C. Sprott's fractals and explanations; World Scientific). Her books, The Dreamer Who Counted the Dead, received a Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award, and and her book Abundance received the Cider Press Editors' Book Award. She has collaborated with composers, painters, textile artists and scientists in producing work, including a traveling Epidemic Peace Imagery show of poets and artists. She has held writing residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts Leighton Studios and Vermont Studio Center and is a recipient of the 2010 Appalachia Helen Howe Poetry Prize, a Wisconsin Arts Board Literary Arts Fellowship, a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, and a life member of Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. She teaches a week-long poetry workshop at The Clearing and Bjorklunden. Her poems have appeared in many print and online journals, including The Alaska Quarterly Review, The American Scholar, Appalachia, The Christian Science Monitor, The Hudson Review, Poetry, and Valparaiso Poetry Review and on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, American Life in Poetry, and The Writers' Almanac. Her most recent books include Six True Things (Tebot Bach 2016), the eelgrass meadow (Tebot Bach, 2017), and The Only Home We Know (Tebot Bach, 2018). She has also co-edited the anthologies On Retirement (with the late Judith Strasser, University of Iowa Press) and Love Over 60: An Anthology of Women's Poems (with Jeri McCormick, Mayapple Press).
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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