Mary Jo Balistreri
Mary Beth Bretzlauf
David LaRue Alexander
Diane Lotko Baker
Mary Jo Balistreri
William T. Carey
John J. Gordon
M. E. Hope
S. Michael Kozubek
G. Jordan Maclay
Leslie A. Peet
Maggie Van Dyke
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 (monthly since 2021) editions of poetry written by ISPS members. ISPS members are invited to submit a poem each monthly submission period (according to last initial). (How and when to submit) You are invited to read the ISPS member poems and haiga posted in January 2023 as well as previous postings. In March, 2020 (beginning of the pandemic) 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 ($30.00 for "Patron" listing, $50.00 for "Benefactor" listing). 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, January/February, 2023
Happy, healthy and creative New Year! As we start another passage through the calendar, thoughts drift toward what new approaches and themes we could try in our poetry. What are some topics such as concerns, reminiscences, regrets, hopes, and connections or goals that have not been explored yet? Is there a song that brings back a memory and feeling, an object that invokes a story worth condensing into a poem? The blank pages seem to invite fresh starts, a revitalization of what could come from our inventive imagination. Unexplored ideas and approaches can rejuvenate our writing and open the path to insightful productivity.
Congratulations to the winners of the latest ISPS poetry contest. Seventy-eight poets entered and submitted five hundred and twenty-nine poems. A student contest is presently being planned for the new year.
The ISPS Board is considering programs for the coming year which includes the coming of the promised anthology. The process had a couple of snags but all is well. Efforts to expedite the publication have been taken. Among forthcoming events is "Expressions: Art & Verse Festival 2023" at the Addison Center for the Arts. The exhibit, opening February 15, 2023, features a recital of ISPS poets on Saturday, February 18 from 1-4 pm. Thirty-five members have signed up to participate. Everyone is invited to view the show and hear the poems.
Joy Harjo, the U.S. Poet Laureate, offers the following advice for poets: "Find the language to express yourself and approach your art with deeper motivation. Explore rhythm in art, navigate the world of revisions, and unlock your innate creativity to help you express your unique stories."
For the first time ever, the monthly poetry reading at Brewed Awakening (and on Zoom), sponsored by the Illinois State Poetry Society, will celebrate National Haiku Month. Both of our featured poets are well-known writers of the English versions of Japanese short-form poetry. Join us on Sunday, February 26, 12:30-2:00 PM Central Time, prepared, if you wish, to participate in open mic. Thomas Chockley, facilitator of the ISPS/Haiku Society of America Chapter will appear in person and Brad Bennett, who is Frogpond's haiku and senryu editor, will read via Zoom. There will also be an open mic and a contest for the best coffee- or coffeeshop-related haiku or senryu. You may participate by going to Brewed Awakening (19 W Quincy Street, Westmont, Illinois; just off Cass Avenue). There is a $12 cover charge, which entitles you to a beverage and snack. Or you may listen to the featured poets and participate in the open mic via Zoom. Zoom tickets can be purchased for $5 here. Winner of the contest will receive free admission to an upcoming reading at Brewed Awakening (in-person or on Zoom).
Thomas Chockley is a practicing haiku poet. Tom lives in Illinois and is fascinated by the intricacies of haiku poetry. He has had haiku, senryu, haiga, and haibun published in a variety of print and online haiku journals: Bottle Rockets, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Shamrock Haiku Journal, Cattails Haiku Journal, and World Haiku Review as well as the former A Hundred Gourds Haiku Journal and Haibun Today. His haiku poetry is included in several issues of the Haiku Society of America's member anthologies and in the Illinois State Poetry Society's Distilled Lives as well as in numerous ISPS Newsletter issues. Currently, Tom serves as the Illinois State Poetry Society-Haiku Society of America Haiku Chapter facilitator and Zoom host. Tom's first chapbook is Personal Myths 1: Born in Mystery from Red Moon Press. His second book is Personal Myths: Numbers 2, 3, and 4 in print PDF and epub form from Lulu.com
Brad Bennett lives in Arlington, Massachusetts. After teaching third and fourth grade for twenty-five years, he now teaches haiku to adults. He has published three collections of haiku with Red Moon Press, a drop of pond (2016), a turn in the river (2019), and a box of feathers (2022). a drop of pond won a Touchstone Distinguished Book Award from the Haiku Foundation, and a turn in the river was shortlisted for the Touchstone Award. Brad was an Artist-in-Residence at Acadia National Park in 2021. He served as haiku and senryu editor for Frogpond from 2021-2023 and is currently a mentor in the Haiku Society of America's mentorship program.
Order Remember: Poems for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11
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. To Sample and Order at Amazon.com
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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