Illinois State Poetry Society
Home Page
Poetry Competition
ISPS Member Poems
Poem Index by Poet
Poem Index by Title
Poet Bios
ISPS Member Books
Submitting Poems
About ISPS
To Join ISPS
Other Sites

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

Patrons ($30)
David LaRue Alexander
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

Pontiac Poetry Reading Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Pontiac chapter of ISPS will hold a poetry reading on September 28th 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, September 29, 2019

Two Chicago-area poets, Matthew J. Lawler and Eric Allen Yankee, will be featured on Sunday, September 29, at Brewed Awakening in Westmont, IL. The event will run from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., and will include an open mic. The cover charge of $12 plus tax entitles each person to coffee or other beverage and a snack. Brewed Awakening is located at 19 West Quincy, across from the METRA station.

Matthew J. Lawler

Matthew J. Lawler was raised on the Northwest Side of Chicago in the Irving/Albany Park neighborhood. He has been published in numerous journals, including, The Miscreant, Sick Lit Magazine, People's Tribune, Caravel, Tuck Magazine, Unlost, Scarlet Leaf Review, Peeking Cat Magazine, Eunoi Review, Dissident Voice, Spillwords, Madness Muse Press and in an anthology titled The Best Emerging Poets of Illinois, put out by Z Publishing. Concrete Oracles, his full-length poetry collection debut, blends narrative and philosophical thought, delving deep into concepts of identity, urban life, belonging, teenage conformity, friendship, dreams, and death.

Eric Allen Yankee

Eric Allen Yankee's poetry has appeared in The Good Men Project, The Rising Phoenix Review, Between the Lines, The Paddock Review, and many others. He is the author of three chapbooks: RIOT (Finishing Line Press), Bees Against the War (Locofo Chapbooks), and American Bullet (Atomic Theory). His full length collection Ceremony of Ashes is coming soon from Weasel Press.

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

Contact Us

If you have questions or feedback regarding this website, please click the link below to send us an e-mail. We welcome your thoughts.

Alan Harris

Website design and maintenance by Alan Harris at