Mary Jo Balistreri
David LaRue Alexander
Diane Lotko Baker
John J. Gordon
Emma A. Kowalenko
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 June 2020 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 leading the business portion of a recent ISPS board meeting, I asked what the
attendees were doing with their time and whether they were feeling isolated. One
of the repeated takeaways was that poetry writing and sharing are natural ways to
use time in positive and emotionally fulfilling endeavors. It's what poets have always
done—indulge in solitary and creative thought with the possible goal of participating in
an artistic collective whole.
Poetry can be mere entertainment; however, it can also offer powerful antidotes and
consoling possibilities. If we write about our fears and sorrows, there is a patient
blank page waiting to listen, record, examine and even put out the proverbial fires that
burn within. Words and emotions start to pose questions and if allowed to flow freely, can lead to new insights or at least a release of deep concerns. We can meet ourselves
at the edge of despair and come back after creative and freeing words unfold down
At the risk of sounding as though Covid-19 is a positive event, it does potentially offer
more free time to be in touch with the Muse. In Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook,
she states that "the poem requires of the writer not society or instruction, but a patch
of profound and unbroken solitude." She points out that "The poem, as it starts to form in the writer's mind and on paper, can't abide interruption." It awakens "the dreamer
from the dream."
We don't know when these troubling times will be over and what the future holds, but we do know that there are ways to choose inspiration and its healing powers. Poetry is
a constant, an ongoing chronicle of our lives with all its vagaries.
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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