Mary Beth Bretzlauf
John J. Gordon
James Lowell Hall
Janea D. Harris
M. E. Hope
William L. Lederer
Joseph J. Solberg
Diane Lotko Baker
Mary Jo Balistreri
Camille A. Balla
Edward J. Herdrich
S. Michael Kozubek
G. Jordan Maclay
Paul B. Vanni
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 November, 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, November/December, 2023
Did you know that November is NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month is quite
the thing among writers. I'll be using the inspiration of the month to work on my
mystery at a writing weekend the first weekend of November. Carving out time for
writing is difficult for me. Sometimes even getting a poem to paper is a struggle, so
I look forward to that time to focus.
I realized we poets don't really have that kind of month-long organized motivation
like NaNoWriMo, do we? Is anyone aware of such a thing for poets? Please reach
out to me if you know of one. Perhaps we can use April as our "get out and write"
inspiration, like writing a poem a day with prompts of form or subject.
Maybe January, when it's dark longer than it is light, and with our hands wrapped
around a steamy mug of cocoa or tea, we can use that time to write a poem or two.
That could be our "stay in and write" month of motivation. Please reach out to me
with ideas, suggestions, or share where and when you find motivation to write.
Now as the holidays creep upon us, we want to address more of the suggestions
we received last year from our survey. One of those was publishing. We will begin
a series of programs designed to help the unpublished achieve their goals. Keep
watching your inbox from William Shakespeare for news. Now that I think of it,
perhaps April could be the motivation to get your manuscript ready!
One of the items on the Board's agenda when we meet next week will be Poetry
Month events. Believe it or not, it's not too early to start thinking about it. One way
I'd like to challenge all of you is to contact your local libraries and see if you, as an
ISPS member or as a chapter, can be of assistance with their planning — which will
begin in December for them. It may be as simple as helping with collecting and
displaying poems from local poets, hosting an open mic, or even programs.
This seems odd to say this since autumn is on full display in my corner of the state,
but I wish each one of you a wonderful holiday season!
Two poets will be featured at the monthly poetry reading sponsored by the Illinois State Poetry Society and Brewed Awakening on Sunday, December 31, 12:30-2:00 PM Central Time. There will also be an open mic. You may participate via Zoom or by going to Brewed Awakening (19 W Quincy Street, Westmont, Illinois; just off Cass Avenue, across the street from the METRA station). There is a $12 cover charge, which entitles you to a beverage and snack. The link for Zoom tickets, which can be purchased for $5, will be posted here. You may participate in the open mic either way.
Order Fresh Ink, 2023 Anthology of Prize Poems by Illinois Students
Fresh Ink 2023 is the inaugural anthology of winning poems in the Illinois State Poetry Society's student contest. From 226 submissions by students in high school and junior high school categories, 31 poems were selected for the anthology. They represent 14 schools, from Chicago in the north to Wolf Lake, 400 miles south. (Book cover by Kathy Cotton) To Sample and Order at Amazon.com
Order Distilled Lives, Volume 6, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives, Volume 6 offers a rich and diversified chorus of voices captured in verse. The featured poets explore a variety of terrains and tableaux, from the Ganges River in India to quaint cafes in Europe, from boisterous bistros in Chicago to the fertile farmlands of Illinois. Its language is as expansive as space and as intimate as a heartbeat. The compendium of work ranges from sonnets to haiku to free verse—a combination of forms distilling the creative essence of modern poetry. To Sample and Order at Amazon.com
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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