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Benefactors ($50)
Mary Jo Balistreri
Mary Beth Bretzlauf
Dan Fitzgerald
Joe Glaser
Lee Johnson
Donald Lyles
Jenene Ravesloot
Tom Roby
Joe Solberg
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
Lee Johnson
Steven Kappes
Sheila Kirscher
S. Michael Kozubek
Jim Lambert
Jill Langlois
William Lederer
G. Jordan Maclay
Carol Marcus
Karian Markos
Georgina Milsted
Tom Moran
Wilda Morris
Leslie A. Peet
Marcia Pradzinski
Marjorie Rissman
Nancy Schaefer
Irfanulla Shariff
Ruth Siburt
Judith Tullis
Maggie Van Dyke
Arthur Voellinger
Linda Wallin

In Memoriam
Sally Hanson Calhoun
Nancy Jean Carrigan
David Christensen
Don Cornwell
Carol Dooley
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
Kathleen Robinson
Marge Samuel
Doyle Raymond Vines
Paul J. Wolf
Marvin R. Young (2017)

Illinois State Poetry Society
New ISPS Poems
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Random ISPS Haiga
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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 (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 2022 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, 2022

by Susan T. Moss, ISPS President

Susan T. Moss

Members have attended Charlotte Digregorio's Zoom presentation on writing senryu and haiku poems and recently submitted to the annual ISPS contest. Another creative event will be an opportunity to join Addison Center for the Arts artists with another ekphrastic response in February. More details are forthcoming for an early February poetry submission. A new possibility offered by ISPS is a competition for Book of the Year prize. More details can be found in this newsletter. Also, check on the BlackBerry Peach National Poetry competition that member Wesley Frazier-Keys competed in this year. Remember to keep your membership active in order to participate in ongoing and future activities.

Recently, I attended a workshop that was about writing poetry that is personally hard to express and thus, difficult to put down on paper. It could be about any number of different topics such as telling someone we love them, disclosing fears of dying, terror resulting from world events or what has happened in our town or family among many other ideas. The topic is an evocative challenge often difficult to face or describe. It is not necessarily meant to be shared with everyone; although, it might be appreciated by readers who feel the same way and could gain some solace from the poem.

What we poets have is a long reach into not only ourselves but the connection with other poets and nonpoets. We can express what poets have done long before us—a voice that is unafraid to address the human range of emotions from angst to great joy. We can be the bearer of words not only spoken to ourselves but to others who also seek a better understanding of our mortality, as Emily Dickinson expressed in the following excerpt:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody too?
Then there's a pair of us—don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know!

Happy writing,

Susan T. Moss

Archive of Presidents' Messages

"Last Sunday" Poetry Reading, November 27, 2022

Save Sunday afternoon, November 27 for another wonderful poetry reading sponsored by ISPS and Brewed Awakening. Jim Hanson from Southern Illinois will make his first appearance as a featured poet at Brewed Awakening. He will appear via Zoom. Susan Nelson, a performance poet from Chicago, will return in-person to the Brewed Awakening stage. Other poets are welcome to participate in the open mic. You may show up at Brewed Awakening (19 W Quincy Street, Westmont, Illinois, just off Cass Avenue, across the street from the train station). There is a $12 cover charge. Or purchase a $5 ticket here to join us on Zoom.

Jim Hanson

Jim Hanson is a retired Senior Researcher at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, where he worked and taught in community development. He has a doctorate in sociology and is an ordinated Zen Buddhist. In past years he has published two books through Greenwood Publishing Group and more than twenty articles in the social sciences. Now residing in the St. Louis area, he is a recent writer of poetry and member of the ISPS Southern Chapter and St. Louis Poetry Center. His book of poetry was published by Spartan Press earlier this year and titled Endless Journey.

Susan Nelson

Susan Nelson is all about language. In addition to her current work as a renowned Spanish teacher, she writes and performs poetry at schools, nursing homes, and other local venues, and participates in open mic readings as time allows. She is a world traveler, having toured 104 countries, all 50 states—half of them by bicycle—and having circumnavigated the globe twice. Currently Susan is spearheading efforts to firmly establish an annual scholarship award for piano and performance students in honor of her Chicago-famous entertaining mother, Dorothy Olson, to whom the Chicago Federation of Musicians bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award for 84 years of musical contributions to the city of Chicago when Dorothy was 102 years old. Susan continues to be an avid cyclist, as well as role model for her 5 children and 8 grandchildren.

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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