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Benefactors ($50)
Mary Jo Balistreri
Mary Beth Bretzlauf
Dan Fitzgerald
Joe Glaser
Lee Johnson
Donald Lyles
Jenene Ravesloot
Tom Roby
Arthur Voellinger

Patrons ($30)
Jocelyn Ajami
David LaRue Alexander
Candace Armstrong
Diane Lotko Baker
Mary Jo Balistreri
Camille Balla
Eva Boczon
William T. Carey
Thomas Chockley
Patrice Claeys
Jennifer Dotson
Dan Fitzgerald
Georgiann Foley
Michael Freveletti
Karen Fullett-Christensen
Leo Gehr
John J. Gordon
Susan Gundlach
Larry Hays
Joris Heise
M. E. Hope
Melissa Huff
Phyllis Janik
Steven Kappes
Sheila Kirscher
S. Michael Kozubek
Jim Lambert
Jill Langlois
William Lederer
Carol Marcus
Georgina Milsted
Tom Moran
Wilda Morris
Leslie A. Peet
Marcia Pradzinski
Marjorie Rissman
Kathleen Robinson
Nancy Schaefer
Irfanulla Shariff
Ruth Siburt
Joe Solberg
Judith Tullis
Maggie Van Dyke
Arthur Voellinger
Linda Wallin

In Memoriam
Sally Hanson Calhoun
Nancy Jean Carrigan
David Christensen
Don Cornwell
Phillip Egelston
Jonathan Foster, OFM
Michael Galati
Patricia Gangas
Chris Holaves
Glenna Holloway
Usha Mahisekar
John Mahoney
Marguerite McClelland
Martha S. Moss
Hugh Muldoon
John Pawlik
Ina Perlmuter
John Quinn
James Reiss
Marge Samuel
Doyle Raymond Vines
Paul J. Wolf
Marvin R. Young (2017)

Illinois State Poetry Society
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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 October 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.

Upcoming ISPS Meetings

A Message from the ISPS President, November, 2021

by Susan T. Moss, ISPS President

Susan T. Moss

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.

Happy writing and a healthy new year,

Susan T. Moss

Archive of Presidents' Messages

"Last Sunday" Poetry Reading, November 28, 2021

Kate Hutchinson and Ida Kotyuk will be featured at Brewed Awakening on Sunday, November 28, 2021. Kate will appear via Zoom; Ida 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.

Kate Hutchinson

Kate Hutchinson recently retired from a 34-year career of teaching high school English in Chicago's northwest suburbs. Her poetry and personal essays have appeared in dozens of publications and won numerous awards, both regional and national. She has two books of poems, The Gray Limbo of Perhaps in 2012 (Finishing Line Press) and Map Making: Poems of Land and Identity in 2015 (THEAQ Press). Her new book, A Matter of Dark Matter, will be released in the spring of 2022 by Kelsay Books. Kate is active with several local poetry organizations, including serving as contest chair for Chicagoland Poets & Patrons. She will begin working this fall as assistant editor for the literary arts journal East on Central in Highland Park. Find more of her work at:

Ida Kotyuk

After finishing her BA in English Literature at Indiana University, Ida Kotyuk moved to Chicago where she was introduced to the stock market and worked for the brokerage house, Mitchell Hutchins, as events planner for visiting CEOs and political dignitaries. Eventually, she moved on to Mesirow & Company as a licensed stockbroker and then to the Chicago office of Rauscher Pierce, a Dallas company, to sell municipal bonds to Illinois banks. One day she walked away from it all (yes, there is an interesting story in there) and began work on her MA in Studio Arts at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, with a goal to be a portrait painter. Forty years later, and now retired, she is turning to her first love, writing. She is currently writing about her clients' stories in "The Education of a Portrait Painter" as well as poetry about the process of discovery.

Order Remember: Poems for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11
remember 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.
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Order The First Six Months - Poems During a Pandemic
The First Six Months 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.
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Order Distilled Lives, Volume 5, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives, volume 5 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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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
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