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Jocelyn Ajami | David LaRue Alexander | Monica K. Allen | Carol Leavitt Altieri | Bruce Amble | Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee | Gwen Ames | Michael Eddie Anderson | Candace Armstrong | Elana Ashley | Marie Asner | Susan B. Auld | John L. Axtell |
Dianie Lotko Baker | Sherri Baker | Mary Jo Balistreri | Camille A. Balla | Bakul Banerjee | Lois Barr | Jim Barton | Heidi Bellile | Herb Berman | Eva Boczon | Carole R. Bolinski | David Bond | Mary Beth Bretzlauf | Sandra M. Bringer | Laverna Bringhurst-Johnson | Debbi Brody | Theresa Broemmer | Paul Buchheit |
Sally Calhoun | Margarete A. Cantrall | Sandi Caplan | Joseph Kuhn Carey | William Carey | Betty Carr | Nancy Jean Carrigan | Hanh Chau | Susan Spaeth Cherry | Tom Chockley | David Christensen | Christine Cianciosi | Nancy Clark | Joan Colby | Job Conger | James Conroy | Michelle Converse | James L. Corcoran | Don Cornwell | Tracy Costello | Robert Coté | Amelia Cotter | Kathy Cotton | Debbie Neal Crawford | Cassandra Crossing |
Patricia de la Mora | LeRoy Dean | Gail Denham | Mary Krane Derr | Jane Desmond | Jody Dickey | Laurie Lee Didesch | Charlotte Digregorio | Susan Donahue | Carol Dooley | Janice Doppler | Jennifer Dotson | E. B. Dreier |
Barbara Eaton | Idella Pearl Edwards | Phillip Egelston | Mary Ann Eiler | David P. Eldridge | Sheila Elliott | Robert Klein Engler | jacob erin-cilberto | Michael Escoubas | John D. Evans |
Goldie Ann Farkonas | Ron Fintak | Earl V. Fischer | Dan Fitzgerald | Lynn Fitzgerald | Maureen Tolman Flannery | Phil Flott | Georgiann Foley | Mardelle Fortier | Jonathan Foster, OFM | Michael Freveletti | Doris Frey | Judith Stern Friedman | Karen Fullett-Christensen |
Judy Galati | Michael Galati | Cynthia Gallaher | Patricia Gangas | Maureen A. Geary | Jeanne Gerritsen | Marilyn Huntman Giese | Joe Glaser | Theresa Glover | Gail Goepfert | Sandy Goldsmith | John J. Gordon | Crystal L. Goss | David Green | Jim Green | Marina Grose | David Gross | Anara Guard | Gay Guard-Chamberlin | Lee Gurga | Lauren Finaldi Gurus | Marcia Gutiérrez |
Johanna Haas | Lucia Haase | Mark Hammerschick | Lynne Handy | Jim Hanson | Shai Y. Har-El | Patricia A. Hare | Alan Harris | Janea D. Harris | Teresa Harris | William R. Harshbarger | Ann Hart | Kathryn P. Haydon | Colleen McManus Hein | Barbara Lauderdale Hearn | Edward J. Herdrich | Pamela D. Hirte | Chris Holaves | Sister Meg Holden, FSP | Glenna Holloway | Karen H. Honnold | M. E. Hope | Shelley Hu | Jeff Hubbard | Frank Hubeny | Mark Hudson | Melissa Huff | Kate Hutchinson |
Julie Isaacson |
Angela Jackson  | Caroline Johnson | Michael Lee Johnson | Cielo Jones |
Steven Kappes | Thomas R. Keith | Steven Michael Kellogg | Maggie Kennedy | Gary Ketchum | Elizabeth Stanley King | Lonna D. Kingsbury | Iryna Klishch | Joseph J. Kozma, M.D. | S. Michael Kozubek | Karen Hurley Kuchar | Christopher Kuhl |
Ruth La Sure | Nancy LaChance | Jim Lambert | Eileen Landau | Beth Langdon | Jill Angel Langlois | Rafael Lantigua Medina | Jill Lapin-Zell | Pamela Larson | Bonnie Pignatiello Leer | K. M. LeMohr | Mary F. Lenox | Shirley Anne Leonard | John Li | Gari Light | Lucy M. Logsdon | Paul Lubenkov | Shontay Luna | Lennart Lundh |
Rowena R.R.A. Maalikulmulk | G. Jordan Maclay | Usha Mahisekar | John Mahoney | Bonnie Manion | Carol Marcus | William Marr | Carol Schott Martino | Farouk Masud | Bob McCarthy | Marguerite McClelland | Cassandra McGovern | David McKenna | I. F. Miller | Winifred Morgan | Wilda Morris | Martha S. Moss | Susan T. Moss | Robert Burns Mounts | Hugh Muldoon | Kathleen Murphy |
Michael Nickels-Wisdom |
Jim O'Brien | Richard Oberbruner | EJlizabeth Felts Olmsted | Donna O'Shaughnessy |
Sue Parker | René Parks | Margery Parsons | Carmen Patterson | John Pawlik | Cathy Lou Pearson | Marilyn Peretti | Ina Perlmuter | Jetara Perry | Pat Petros | Ivan Petryshyn | Patty Dickson Pieczka | Todd Possehl | Marcia Pradzinski | Jan Presley | Donna Pucciani |
John Quinn |
Andrew Rafalski | S.V. Rama Rao | Jenene Ravesloot | Barbara Cagle Ray | Mark M. Redfearn | James Reiss | Khristan Renfro-Stella | Mary Reynolds | Marjorie Rissman | Barbara Robinette | Kathleen Robinson | Tom Roby | G. C. Rosenquist | Christine Ross | Mike Ruhland | David Rush |
Rick Sadler | Chuck Salmons | Marge Samuel | Marie Samuel | Ryan K. Sauers | Nancy Ann Schaefer | Thom Schmidt | Steven Schroeder | Cara Schuster | Michael Scott | Molly Seale Edwards-Britton | Irene Sedeora | Elizabeth Shack | Irfanulla Shariff | Dorothy Bury Shaw | Richard Shaw | Colette Shelby | Ruth Siburt | Keith Skilling | Robert Skrocki | Terry Slaney | John E. Slota | Jared Smith | Marthalyn Dale Smith | Sherri Smith | Joris Soeding | Joseph J. Solberg | Sarada Purna Sonty | Beth Staas | Nancy Staszak | Myron L. Stokes | Abby Strasser | Jason Sturner | Christine Swanberg |
John Tanner | Jennifer Thiermann | James Tosh | Michelle True | John Trusty | Judith Tullis | Larry Turner |
Michelle L. W. Utendahl |
Beth Copeland Vargo | Curt Vevang | Doyle Raymond Vines | Barbara Voegeli | Arthur Voellinger | Constance Vogel | Joan Volkmann | William Vollrath |
Undra' Ware Sr. | Cheryl Weber | Daniel S. Weinberg | Neil Whitman | Donald Wier | Gus Wilhelmy | Amanda Williams | Court Williams | Syreeta L. Williams | John Wolf | Paul J. Wolf | Ruan Wright | David Wu |
Rita Yager Regina Young
Loren Zee

Jocelyn Ajami

Jocelyn Ajami is an award winning painter, independent documentary filmmaker and writer. She is the founder of Gypsy Heart Productions which specializes in projects related to cultural awareness and social justice. Among her award-winning films are Gypsy Heart, Oasis of Peace and Queen of the Gypsies. Jocelyn has been the recipient of numerous awards, including major grants from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Leadership Foundation, International Women’s Forum and the Goethe Institute. She has published works in Armco World Magazine, Cune Press and the Ekphrastic Review. Most recently her short story, "Reaching the Border," was a finalist in the 43rd New Millennium Fiction Competition. She is also a member of Poets & Patrons. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, she works and lives in Chicago, USA.

David LaRue Alexander

David LaRue Alexander is an avid poet who first developed a love for poetry when he wrote his first poem in the second grade (eons ago), and it was published in the school paper. Since then he has written a great deal of poetry, and has been published in a few minor venues. He doesn't write poetry for poets. They already have the awareness, appreciation, and insight of the written word that he wishes to share with others. He writes poems for the everyday person who doesn't often (if ever) read poetry--those who may not appreciate poetry unless it's written in a manner which can capture their attentional focus long enough to gain their appreciation. He notes that they are often a much tougher crowd than most poetic critics. He is a Psychologist, currently employed by the Illinois Department of Human Services, and he currently works with individuals who have a developmental disability. He is married to a "wonderful, loving, long-suffering wife," and they have 5 children. They live in Pontiac, IL where he writes a column ("The Poet's Place") for one of the local papers. While he loves all poetry in its many forms, he must admit a certain penchant for verse which utilizes rhymes (whether it be in sonnets, limericks, free verse, etc.). He guesses that makes him Old School. :) His e-mail addresses are:, or | Read his poems

Monica K. Allen

Monica K. Allen (Eagan, Minnesota) is a loving mom, professional organizer, activist, and amateur poet.

Carol Leavitt Altieri

Carol Leavitt Altieri is retired from teaching English and American literature in New Haven Public Schools. She has published five books of poetry and won the Connecticut Environmental Award for helping to save the Griswold Airport Property. She loves hiking, reading and the whole world of nature. Her previous poetry books include In Beijing, There are no Redwoods, The Isinglass River, The Jade Bower, Chronicles of Humans with Nature, Still Brooding on a Strong Branch, Parables of Passages.

Bruce Amble

Bruce Amble has graduate degrees from Northern Iowa University and the University of Iowa. He is a licensed psychologist in Illinois and Kentucky. He was a featured writer in The Pegasus Review, October, 2011. | Read his poems

Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee

Doreen Ambrose-Van Lee was born in 1969 in Chicago, Illinois, in one of Chicago's most notorious neighborhoods, Cabrini Green. Writing since the age of twelve, she lived with four sisters and brothers; a mother, Rosetta Ambrose Scott, who was a substitute teacher; and a father, now deceased, who was a factory worker. Doreen has three children of her own, ages 13, 11 and five. She enjoys writing poetry and reading autobiographies. She earned a BA in print journalism from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE), and also served in the Armed Forces for three years. She has had poems and short stories published by major publications. Ambrose-Van Lee is the author of Raised in Da Sun which is a culmination of poems from her youth in Cabrini Green to being a single parent. It has poems of struggling to adjust as a child, going to school and being married and then becoming a single parent. It has passionate stories of self-love and love and acceptance. It was written over a ten-year period. Ambrose-Van Lee is currently working on another book of poetry entitled, Life After Good Times and Cooley High. Ambrose-Van Lee is also a founding member of the North Austin Public Library Poetry Group which is located on the west side of Chicago. A play about her life as written through her poetry will take place at American Theater Co. in Chicago April 24 through May 24, 2015. Read her poems

Gwen Ames

Gwen Ames has been writting poetry for years now and loves it with a passion. She has had one poem published in the Prairie Light Review (literary publication from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn). She also won second place in the Illinois State Poetry Society's contest for free verse in 2003. A number of her poems have been dedicated to social issues. Read her poems

Michael Eddie Anderson

Michael Eddie Anderson has been published in Matter, Rhino: The Poetry Journal, Pen Woman and in the Poet and Artist Chapbook of the Northwest Cultural Council. He has worked as an editor at Rhino and now serves on their Advisory Board. Anderson lives in Evanston, IL with his wife Kay.

Candace Armstrong

Candace Armstrong is a recent transplant to Southern Illinois and a new member of the ISPS Southern Illinois Chapter. Her poetry was published in the Summer 2010 issue of The Lyric, and her poetry and a prize-winning short story were published in the Summer 2011 issue of Muse. Additional poems were published in the 2012 Summer issue of Muse and the Winter 2012 online issue of Negative Suck. She is currently seeking an agent for a novel she has finished, and she has written several short stories. Read her poems

Elana Ashley

A multi-talented entrepreneur with a doctoral degree in Ugaritology, Dr. Elana Ashley demonstrates her creativity, imagination and strong, successful work ethic as the head of two companies; a researcher, writer and dramatic performer of educational and entertaining programs; author and storyteller; public speaker; TV performer; ventriloquist; poet and composer of songs; and artist. Read her poem

Marie Asner

Marie Asner is an entertainment reviewer, poet and church musician. Marie is a past member of Kansas Arts-On-Tour in poetry readings and writing workshops. Marie was on National Public Radio in Kansas City for 25 years as a member of a monthly entertainment panel. To celebrate April Poetry Month in 2021, Marie was a guest poet on a Zoom recital with the Kansas Wind Symphony. In 2022, Marie did a live poetry reading before the performance of The Kansas Landlocked Opera Company presentation of operatic vocal selections. Marie Asner poems were included in a collection of poems by Dad's Desk Publishing and the Grist Anthology in the spring of 2022. | Read her poems

Susan B. Auld

Susan B. Auld is a poet and a retired pediatric speech-language pathologist who lives in Arlington Heights. Susan finds inspiration in the natural world that she believes is a gift meant to be discovered, remembered and revered. Susan writes free verse and contemporary English haiku and haibun. Her work has been published both online and in print journals including Heron's Nest, cattails, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Paper Lanterns, Chrysanthemum, Autumn Moon, A Hundred Gourds, Haibun Today, Avocet. One of her haibun was selected as the best of 2014 and included in Red Moon Press' Contemporary Haibun 2014. One of her haiku was selected and included in Haiku 2016. Her work will also be recognized in a women's haiku anthology to be published in 2018. Susan has participated in numerous readings, including, those sponsored by the NWCC and the Illinois State Poetry Society. She has been a featured poet on two occasions at Brewed Awakening and also at The Book Stall at Chestnut Court. Susan teaches continuing education writing classes for new writers and those who wish to use writing to heal, meditate and discover. She facilitates the Haiku Chapter of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Susan is a member of the Haiku Society of America and the Illinois State Poetry Society. She has published two chapbooks of her poetry (Waiting Innocence and Visiting Morning and Other Quiet Places) and a collection of haiku with Red Moon Press, Chrysanthemum Dusk. Read her poems

John L. Axtell

John Llewellyn Axtell (1931-2011): From 1971 until his death, Axtell's poetry appeared each year in various magazines and other collections. Axtell served in the US Navy before attending and graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago. Subsequently, he worked for a number of different organizations. In addition to writing poetry, Axtell developed methods for photographing fingerprints and for colorized radar. His cartoon website is still posting new work. A poetry critic once said, "Whether John's poetry is born in his imagination or from experience, all of it has a living reality. In his work you will find feelings that beat in America's heart from her great Midwestern plains to the beauty of the western deserts." John's philosophy was that "poetry is a part of life, a part of being alive and a part of the eternal soul." Read his poems

Diane Lotko Baker

Diane Lotko Baker is a long-time Evanston resident; retired federal criminal antitrust prosecutor; and married with an adult son and daughter, and 3 young grandchildren. She enjoys domestic and international travel, and has various hobbies. She has written poetry for a long time, but never as much as she would like. Recently, she has been working on developing her skills, and she is beginning to share more of her poetry - something she had not done in the past. She is also beginning to appreciate and write haiku. She looks forward to writing, reading, and sharing more poetry in 2020 and beyond. Read her poem

Sherri Baker

Sherri Lohrum Baker of Belleville, Illinois, is a special procedure technologist who has worked at Memorial Hospital since 1994. She has written poetry intermittently throughout her life “to purge her feelings,” and had a few pieces published in college, but usually threw her poems away. In recent years, Sherri says, she has experienced much tragedy and finds comfort in her writing that she hopes to share with others. At the insistence of her sister, who also writes poetry, Sherri no longer throws away her poems, but shares them online, often as creative broadsides. Read her poems

Mary Jo Balistreri

Mary Jo Balistreri has two books of poetry, Joy in the Morning, and gathering the harvest, both published by Bellowing Ark Press. Best Brothers, a chapbook, was just published, September, 2014, by Tiger's Eye Press. Recent or forthcoming work can be found in the Aurorean, Avocet, Crab Creek Review, Grist, The Kentucky Review, Plainsongs, Parabola,The Homestead Review, Tall Grass Writers, and Whistling Skin Anthology and Wilda Morris's Poetry Challenge. Mary Jo has three Pushcart nominations and two Best of the Net. She is one of the founding members of Grace River Poets, an outreach for schools, churches and women's shelters. Read her poems

Camille A. Balla

Camille Balla's poetry first appeared in Bereavement Magazine in 1994. Abbey Press published verses she wrote as greeting cards and gift items. Her poetry has been published by St. Anthony Messenger, Prairie Light Review, and DuPage Valley Review as well as in Pieces to Peace, an anthology. She has enjoyed sharing a few poems with the Internet where her verses are enhanced with music and animation. She also enjoys creating her own greeting cards. Camille has received awards from Poets & Patrons in Chicago and a First Place Award from the Lisle Library. In March, 2010, she completed her first chapbook, Simple Awakenings. She is a mother of three adult children and grandmother of six. Read her poems

Bakul Banerjee

An award-winning author and poet, Bakul Banerjee published her second collection of previously published poems, titled Bathymetry: Poems, in 2017. Her chapbook, titled Synchronicity: Poems, was published in 2010. For the past twenty years, her essays, stories, and poems appeared in several literary magazines and anthologies throughout U.S. and India. She has been featured at several poetry readings and presented multiple poetry workshops around Chicago. Links to her online publications and reading are available at Born in India, Bakul Banerjee lived and worked at various places in U.S. While attracted to the metaphysical traditions of the world, she delved into science. Her creative practice is based on the melding of these two apparently contradictory, yet ultimately complementary disciplines. Her scientific training enabled her to work at some of the most innovative scientific facilities built by humans. This included Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland and Advanced Photon Source, near Chicago. These experiences gave her the opportunity to appreciate scientific advancements leading to many technical and literary publications. Read this member's poems

Lois Barr

A Spanish professor at Lake Forest College, Lois Barr co-produced a documentary, "Isa: The People's Diva". She published Isaac Unbound: Patriarchal Traditions in the Latin American Jewish Novel as well as many articles and reviews on modern and contemporary Spanish and Latin American fiction. Her creative work appears or will appear shortly in East on Central, Love After 70, 94 Creations, Ekakshara, The Daily Palette (U of Iowa), Art From Art (Modernist Press), Du Page Valley Review, phati'tude Literary Magazine, The Legendary, Mochila, Flashquake, and The New Vilna Review. Her translations have been published in Brújula and Collage.

Jim Barton

Jim Barton’s poetry has been published in over 125 journals nationwide and has won more than 450 awards. He is the author of four poetry collections including the Morris Memorial Chapbook Award-winning At the Bird Museum. Barton serves as Treasurer of his local branch, Treasurer of Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas and President of NFSPS. He is a public speaker and poetry event organizer in his spare time. He is married, and he and wife Cathy have seven children and five grandchildren. They live in the wooded bayou country of extreme south Arkansas. In his younger days, he lived for three winters in Fox Lake, IL.

Heidi Bellile

Heidi Bellile was raised in Iowa. She started writing poetry as a teenager. She stopped writing for many years, but re-engaged after her close friend from the military passed. She obtained her teaching certificate from Indiana University Southeast. She finished her Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling. She is currently a counselor at a non-profit mental health agency in Kentucky. She recently bought a home in LaSalle County, Illinois, not far from Starved Rock Park. She has been inspired by Chicago area poets and attends poetry readings all over the United States, mostly in Illinois, though. She has written one book, A Walk on the Poet's Edge, and has been published in about 20 magazines, journals and other media sources.

Herb Berman

Herb Berman is a resident of Deerfield, and a 71-year-old retired lawyer and a semi-retired labor arbitrator. In his busy years of helping his wife raise three kids and pursuing a demanding career, he didn't have a lot of time (or energy) to write poetry or much else besides briefs, technical articles, and, for the last 25 years or so, arbitration decisions. As his work has decreased, his interest in reading poetry (and history and philosophy) and in writing poems has increased. In his old age, the English major is asserting himself. Six of his poems were published in the Spring 2007 issue of Humanistic Judaism, a quarterly journal with about 2,500 subscribers published by the Society for Humanistic Judaism. Many, many years ago a few of his poems were published in a University of Louisville literary magazine and several small magazines whose names now escape him. Read his poems

Eva Boczon

Being born and raised behind the Iron Curtain in communist Poland, and living for over 20 years in the United States, as a first generation immigrant, created in Eva Boczon the need for connections with people around her. Since her university years, when she pursued a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education, she worked with children with learning challenges. From those personal experiences, she developed a fascination with words and language and how they connect people. Writing seems to be her stronger skill, in contrast to speech. She writes to calm her tempestuous feelings and the fruits of these efforts usually sit someplace in her drawer. A few years ago, together with her friend a photographer, they created a book about her journey home, after many years of living away. The friend opened up to her the world of haiku, with its simplicity and complexity all at the same time. And it got her hooked for good, in any free moment she gets.

Carole R. Bolinski

Carole R. Bolinski (aka Carole R. Seldin-Bolinski and CR) has published mystery short stories, flash fiction and poetry. A number of her poems are published in anthologies from contests, journals, and a book co-authored with her brother, Pearls Beneath The Rind. Before moving to southern Illinois, Bolinski was an active member in the Prescott, Arizona writing community and a member of the MADD Women Poets, a group of committed poets dedicated to presenting their work in an oral tradition. She has an M.A. in art education and an M.Ed. in secondary education. Read her poems

David Bond

An Illinois Arts Council Artist Fellowship winner in poetry in 2001 and 2005, David Bond has published recent work in the anthology Hurricane Blues, a book Great Possibilities: 150 Verne Morton Photographs, and the journals Big Muddy, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Cape Rock, Crab Orchard Review, and storySouth. A MacDowell Colony Fellow in 2006, David lives in Carbondale, where he claims inspiration from the beauty of the Shawnee National Forest. He has published two books, Colors and American Chicken, as well as a chapbook The Light That Shatters Darkness: Poems From the Spartan Mine. He works at Southern Illinois University as a Librarian. Read his poems

Mary Beth Bretzlauf

Mary Beth Bretzlauf began writing poetry and short stories in high school. Her Creative Writing teacher, Jean McCready, encouraged her to continue writing. Now with an empty nest, she has returned to writing both fiction and poetry. She finds both forms help the other. Sometimes a poem sparks another plot or scene and at other times, a character needs his/her poetic moment. Living and working in Lake County her whole life, her surroundings, family and friends are great inspiration and support. Recently her poems "Waxing Lemons" and "O Elixir of Life" were selected by Highland Park Poetry for their summer muses. This year, the East on Central Anthology also published her poems "Fear" and Scars". She is a member of two local writing groups and is always up for the challenge of learning more about the craft of writing.

Sandra M. Bringer

Sandra M. Bringer is a retired grandmother who joined a "free" writing group at the library and is pulling up poems and thoughts and suprising herself. She says that she'll see where it all leads. Read her poems

Laverna Bringhurst-Johnson

Laverna Bringhurst-Johnson is still here! She's been in love with poetry for at least 84 years. It's good for one's long life and makes it seem not quite so long. She's blessed with family, friends, and poetry!

Debbi Brody

Debbi Brody is an avid attendee and leader of poetry workshops throughout the USA's southwest. She has been published in numerous national and regional journals, magazines and anthologies of note including Poetic, Broomweed, Sin Fronteras, her newest full length book, In everything, Birds (Village Books Press, OKC, OK 215) which received an inaugural Margaret Randall Book Prize for poetry, and her chapbook, Walking the Arroyo (Cyberwit, 2019) is available at independent bookstores, on-line book sources and through the author for signed copies at | Read her poem

Theresa Broemmer

Theresa Broemmer lives in mid-western Illinois with her husband and two children. She has a masters degree in education, and she spent five years in the early childhood field before deciding to stay at home with her children and concentrate on a writing career. She writes poetry, children's stories, and adult drama. She hopes to break into the traditional world of publishing someday, but for now she is happy with every little writing success she achieves. Read her poems

Paul Buchheit

Paul Buchheit is an author of books, poems, progressive essays, and scientific journal articles. He recently completed his first historical novel, 1871: Rivers on Fire. His poetry has appeared in The Lyric, Lucid Rhythms, Burningword, The Ledge, The Formalist, State of Nature, Illinois State Poetry Society, Chicago Poetry Review, and Light Quarterly. His most recent non-fiction book was Disposable Americans, published in 2017 by Routledge. Read his poems

Sally Calhoun

Sally Hanson Calhoun, who passed away on November 6, 2014, was a practicing clinical psychologist and professor of psychology to graduate students. Sally was a graduate of University of Michigan where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority and captain of her Water Ballet Team. At Michigan, she studied English Language and Literature, receiving A.B. Honors and an A.M. She earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Northwestern University. She published at least 63 writings, including some placed in anthologies. She received two Editor's Choice Awards, and an award in England through Noble House Publishing which discovered her work on the Internet. Her writings include poems, short stories, and scholarly articles. She has won numerous awards for her creative writing, and for many years was active with the North Shore Creative Writers, as well as in the Illinois State Poetry Society. Read her poems

Margarete A. Cantrall

Margarete Cantrall (April 8, 1921-October 19, 2009) was born in Aurora, IL, and never lived so far from Chicago that she couldn't get there to see a play. She graduated from Northern Illinois University (B.A.) and the University of Illinois (M.A.). During the 1941-42 school year, she was state champion in extemporaneous speaking and debate. She taught English and American literature at Carroll College; University High School,Urbana, IL; and Northwestern Military and Naval Academy, Walworth, WS. For 27 years, she taught at North High School in Downers Grove, IL, where she chaired the English Department for 12 years and served two years as Assistant Principal. She designed the gifted program for the school, and sponsored a book club and student literary magazine. From 1987-2006, after her "retirement," she taught in the Older Adults Institute of the College of DuPage. Maggie, as her friends called her, held leadership positions in the Illinois State Poetry Society, Poets & Patrons of Chicago, the Jane Austen Society, American Association of University Women, Delta Kappa Gamma, and the Residents Council of Fairview Baptist Home. Read her poems

Sandi Caplan

Sandi Caplan's past history includes acting on the stage. She received her equity card at 35, at Drury Lane Theatre in Chicago. She has written five plays—No Stone Unturned, a mysterious comedy which has had two stage readings in Chicago, North Shore Senior Center, and the Citadel Theater. She is looking to have it produced this year. She moved to Highland Park nine years age. She feels fortunate to live in a creative community. She started at the Art Center, two years ago, and loves doing portraits. Poetry has become an important part of her life. With Highland Park poetry with Jennifer Dotson, her poem "Reflect" was in a store window this past summer. She is also in a group with Len Berman at the Deerfield Library. Read her poems

Joseph Kuhn Carey

Joseph Kuhn Carey's second full-length poetry collection, Black Forest Dreams (published by Kelsay Books in 2021), received a 2021 Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY award and was selected as a Finalist in the 2021 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Awards. Black Forest Dreams also received 1st place "Travel Category" awards (while in manuscript form) in the Paris, Amsterdam and Northern California Book Festival contests. (Copies are available at Black Forest Dreams and Joe's previous poetry collection, Postcards From Poland, won the Journal of Modern Poetry Book Award and was published by Chicago Poetry Press in 2014 (copies available at and and he is a recipient of an ASCAP/Deems Taylor award for music-related writing. A Grammy-voting member of The Recording Academy from 2007-2020, Joe has also published a chapbook of poetry (Bulk-Rate) and a book on jazz (Big Noise From Notre Dame: A History of The Collegiate Jazz Festival, University of Notre Dame Press) and he has released two "Loose Caboose Band" CDs of original children's songs with his brother, Bill, both of which are available on iTunes, and Learn more at
Read his poems

William Carey

William Carey, 59, has been a Glencoe, IL resident for 24 years. He is a lawyer and real estate investor by trade, musician and writer by avocation. He is married to Linn, with a son, Will, a junior at the University of Notre Dame. Read his poems

Betty Carr

Betty Carr received her M.A. Degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago on a Distinguished Service Scholarship. Since then, she has been an editor/writer for the AMA, a poetry columnist for the Beverly Review, and for eighteen years has taught creative writing and conducted workshops at Saint Xavier College (now University). Approximately 300 of her poems from five manuscripts have received prizes or have appeared in literary publications such as Midway Review and Lincoln Log (Illinois State Poetry Society) and in anthologies by Crossroads and World of Poetry. In addition, she has two published prize-winning essays (Stitt and Freedoms Foundation). Her unpublished works also include a 2700-page trilogy, three novels, a novella, three books of humor, seventeen children's stories and poems, and two books on writing fiction and poetry. Read her poems

Nancy Jean Carrigan

Nancy Jean Carrigan (nee Bohn) (February 24, 1933 - July 18, 2014), was a highly respected, award-winning poet, painter, sculptor and engraver. She sometimes embedded poems into paintings. Her poem, "Notes on an Ancient Chinese Flute," won a grand prize in the Dancing Poetry Competition in San Francisco, and led to a visit to China as a guest of the Chinese government. Nancy and her husband Dick partnered in the writing of two science fiction adventure novels. One of them, The Siren Stars, was translated into French. Carrigan created stage sets and costumes for several Chicago ballet troupes. She also played a leadership role in the arts program at Fermilab, where her husband worked. As a young adult, Nancy did stints as editor of Aggie, the alumni publication of New Mexico State, and Water Well Journal. In addition to the Illinois State Poetry Society, Nancy was also a member of the Poet's Club of Chicago, Poets & Patrons of Chicago, and the Arbor Hill Poetry Gang. She was a founding member of the Mythopian Artist Group.

Hanh Chau

Hanh Chau resides in San Jose, California. She received her undergraduate degree in business administration at San Jose State University and an MBA at the University of Phoenix. She is currently working at Kaiser Permanente Hospital as a Patient Care Service for 15 years. She enjoys writing poetry, public speaking, listening to music, and fitness. Read her poems

Susan Spaeth Cherry

Susan Spaeth Cherry began her writing career as a journalist for newspapers and magazines nationwide. A persistent need to express herself creatively led her to start writing poetry in mid-life. Her work, which has won many awards, has been published in a variety of literary magazines and poetry anthologies. She is the author of five poetry collections: I Am the Pool's Perimeter, Reflecting Pool, Breaking Into the Safe of Life, Sonata in the Key of Being, and Hole to Whole. Susan is now setting her poetry to music she writes herself. Other composers have also created songs from her poems. Read her poems

Tom Chockley

Tom Chockley writes exclusively in the haiku and related forms genre. He began seriously learning the craft of haiku in about 2010. During that time he has had the good fortune to be published in such print journals as Frogpond, Modern Haiku, and Bottle Rockets. Additionally, he has been published in online journals such as the Shamrock Haiku Journal, World Haiku Review, Cattails, and A Hundred Gourds. In addition to haiku, he writes haibun, a form of micro-fiction plus haiku. He has been fortunate to have several haibun published in Frogpond and the online journal, Haibun Today. When not chewing his fingernails waiting to see whether a journal editor has accepted a haiku or haibun for publication, he's retired. Read his poems

David Christensen

Dave Christensen (February 17, 1921 - July 28, 2014) was retired (1984) from Southern Illinois University (Geography). His concerns were the Earth's overpopulation and the multi-crises the human family faces. He wrote 3 books on those subjects, and another was about to come out, also as an e-book. Read his poems

Christine Cianciosi

Christine Cianciosi's poetry has appeared in the Prairie Light Review, fall 2011, spring and fall 2012, and spring 2013. She lives in Winfield and is an active member and employee of the Theosophical Society in America. Currently she is attending College of DuPage and pursuing studies in writing and literature. Hobbies and interests include meditation, writing poetry, photography, and reading and studying spiritual texts for personal growth. Read her poems

Nancy Clark

Nancy Clark, an Illinois native, is a former sponsor of high school literary festivals and a retired teacher of composition, literature, speech, reading, and humanities. Also a former Sylvan Learning Center owner, she now divides her time between Illinois and a second home in eastern North Carolina. Read her poems

Joan Colby

For over 25 years Joan Colby has been editor of Illinois Racing News, a monthly publication for the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation, published by Midwest Outdoors LLC. She lives with her husband and assorted animals on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has 11 book titles to her credit, including Dead Horses, The Lonely Hearts Killers and The Atrocity Book. She has been widely published in journals including Poetry, Atlanta Review, GSU Review, Portland Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and many others. Among the many awards she has received are the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature, Illinois Arts Council Literary Award, Stone County Award for Poetry, Rhino Poetry Award, and the New Renaissance Award for Poetry.

Job Conger

Freelance writer/photographer Job Conger wrote his first poem in sixth grade and is still at it at age 58, going on 25. He considers himself a journalist because he wants to be and a poet because he must be. Job's articles and visual arts column "Art Seen" appear regularly in Illinois Times, a Springfield-based news weekly. He has published three books of his poetry and a compendium of poetry, biography and more about his favorite native-son poet Vachel Lindsay. He shares Lindsay's life story and recites his favorite poetry (Lindsay's and his own) for schools and organizations in central Illinois and hopes to expand his "territory" via Illinois State Poetry Society. A past president of Poets & Writers Literary Forum of Springfield, Illinois, and first secretary of the international Tanka Society of America, Job's poetry has been published in several "small magazines." | Read his poems

James Conroy

James Conroy is originally from New York and lives in Chicago with his wife Helen. Poems and short stories have appeared in Xanadu, Visions-International, Dan River, The Iconoclast, and numerous other journals. A collection entitled The Night Is Once Before was published in 1997. His first novel, Stealing Second, was released in April 2002. A dramatic play, BoxTown, dealing with the plight of the homeless in America, is under consideration for a college production. Read his poems

Michelle Converse

Michelle Converse was born and raised in New Orleans, LA (currently living in Belleville, IL). Although she has always enjoyed poetry, she didn't begin seriously writing until after the death of her 1-year-old daughter in September 2001. Poetry was the only way she was able to express what she was feeling. Read her poems

James L. Corcoran

James L. Corcoran began writing for audiences at 7, and has been working as a poet/writer/artist/musician ever since. His first written work, a stage presentation which later turned out to be the first rock opera, was a three-act lyric poem entitled "Book Week" and it drew 1200 people to three performances. Starting on a national mobile art/poetry tour in a Volkswagen microbus at eighteen, interviewing his subjects has been this poet's most valuable resource. Working mainly through national library databases and archives, and self-taught using universities as part of the network, he has earned high praise building a reputation for himself on the north shore of Chicago. He is the 2003 first-place prizewinning poet for Rhino Magazine. Read his poems

Don Cornwell

Don Cornwell (April 15, 1931 - December 15, 2013) was born and grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He graduated from Northwestern University where he studied political science and journalism. He spent his business career in the computer field in marketing, training and writing positions. Don was a past president of Illinois State Poetry Society, Poets Club of Chicago, and Poets and Patrons. His light verse was published regularly in The Chronicle of the Horse. His storybook poems: Horace the Pony and You and Harry the Hedgehog and You are in print as is a collection of his poetry, Sense & Nonsense. Don's Petrarchan Sonnet "Requited" Love won a first prize in the 1998 Chicagoland Poetry Contest. Read his poems

Tracy Costello

Tracy Costello has been playing around with poetry since she was a teenager. She is a college administrator and instructor, primarily working with adult learners. It is her job to help them acclimate back into college, to become a successful student and ultimately graduate. She thoroughly enjoys her work. She is married, has one daughter, a senior at Columbia College. She can't forget her furry kids, Gracie (cat) and Stormie (Border Collie). Read her poems

Robert Coté

Robert Coté was born and lived over fifty years in the rural suburbs of Chicago. He is sure some will remember it used to be much more rural and less suburb. He and his family have lived in Crystal Lake, Illinois since 1979. Before that he lived in rural Barrington. Always having been "Artistically inclined", he made up poems and songs for all his boys when they were growing up. He even wrote a few songs for guitar (He's from the sixties. "What can I say?") A big fan from Silverstein to Poe, in 2005 he heard Billy Collins. Inspired, he wrote a verse for his mom and he was smitten. Now he hardly makes it through the day without reading or writing something. He makes a living in maintenance and remodeling and repair, which has kept him in close contact with a diverse group of people and environments. So, he has lots to write about. Presently he is working on a collection of poems both verse, rhyme and free verse, and is pursuing getting it published. Read his poems

Amelia Cotter

Amelia Cotter is an author, storyteller, and award-winning poet. Her books include the poetry collection apparitions, from Highland Park Poetry Press, and her haiku have appeared in journals like Frogpond, Modern Haiku, The Heron's Nest, tinywords, and many others. In 2023, apparitions was shortlisted for The Haiku Foundation 2022 Touchstone Awards for Distinguished Books as well as nominated for the 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award. Amelia is a member of the Society of Midland Authors. Visit her official website at or write to her any time at | Read her poems

Kathy Lohrum Cotton

Kathy Lohrum Cotton of Anna, Illinois, is an award-winning poet and digital collage artist whose work has been published in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies as well as nationally marketed as posters and greeting cards. Cotton is the author of three poetry collections; the illustrated volume, Deluxe Box of Crayons, was published in 2012. Since retirement, she has been editor of Anthology of Poetry and Prose, Harvest of Words, Shawnee Hills Review, The Writer's Voice, and Where We Walk. Cotton also serves on the Illinois State Poetry Society board of directors and facilitates the ISPS Southern Chapter in Carbondale. Read her poems

Debbie Neal Crawford

Debbie Neal Crawford has been putting thoughts to paper since she was a little girl. Turning fifty inspired her to pursue writing and publication as a more serious endeavor. She had devotions published in the "IBSA Good News Daily Devotion Guide", has written several guest blog posts and recently had a poem featured in "Every Day Poems", a daily E-zine of T. S. Poetry Press. It is her hope that the Lord would use her words to encourage the soul. A former missionary who lived in South Africa for three years, she and her husband Doug currently make West Frankfort, Illinois their home. Read her ISPS poems

Cassandra Crossing

Cassandra Crossing writes from personal experience about love, despair, loss, and hope. Her work includes short stories, creative non-fiction essays, flash fiction, plays, and poetry. She resides in the Chicagoland area, also working on a few novels and novellas. Poetry and writing have been her life-long dream. Her creative non-fiction essay "Why Are You Here?" won Runner Up status and was published online by Wow! Women on Writing in 2019 and an interview is forthcoming by this online literary magazine on January 5th, 2020. Another creative nonfiction essay, "Sorrow" (2019) and a flash fiction "Allure" (2017) were chosen as finalists at contests by Wow! Women on Writing. Cassandra's creative nonfiction essay "Things That Matter," fiction "Parenting Advice," and plays "The Chair" and "Three Tickets for the Show" had been selected by Oakton Community College as finalists to represent them in the annual Skyway Competitions in recent years. You can find some of Cassandra's work on her website: and on Patreon: Read her ISPS poems

Patricia de la Mora

Patricia de la Mora's freshman English teacher encouraged her to start writing over 30 years ago and she has never looked back. Poetry has always been a way for her to express how she feels and helps her get through some difficult times in her life, as well as some of the most joyful times. She finally took the leap of faith and published her works. The encouragement and guidance from two of her friends and fellow authors, Audrey N Lewis and Art Kleck, inspired her to find the courage to put her heart and soul out there for others to read and to join her on her journeys. Ink On Paper was published in June 2017 and when willow weeps was published July 2018. She has published her works through an Indie publisher, Pressing On Press. Her style is mainly Free Verse. She lets the words just flow on the paper. She doesn't limit herself with any one style. She just writes from the heart. She is currently working on her third poetry book, as well as branching out to write her first novel. Her love of photography, especially black and white, was the perfect outlet to add more within her books. B&W photography, to her, has always been poetry without words.

LeRoy Dean

LeRoy Dean's hometown is Pontiac, IL, where he presently resides. His paths in life have taken him from a teenager in the fifties to the U.S. Navy in the sixties; from a blue-collar worker to a nursing degree; from Illinois-Arkansas-Florida-Tennessee and back to his hometown in Illinois. Before retiring, he was working as an RN, focusing on the care of hospice patients and their families. A cabin, a cup of coffee and a typewriter; a picture he has carried around in the back roads of his mind for several years. Many roads has he traveled and many travelers has he met along the way, all with stories to be told. With his faith in God and "dust on his shoes," he travels the writer's path. As a retired RN, creative writing keeps him busy. He writes in various genres and is presently working on two books. It is never too late and you are never too old to do what you have always wanted to do, but never had the time. Read his poems

Gail Denham

Gail Denham (Member-at-large) has published stories, essays, poetry, news stories, and photos in magazines, books, and newspapers for 35 plus years. Now focusing on poetry, Denham belongs to a dozen state poetry associations and leads writing and photography workshops at Pacific N.W. conferences. Recently, Denham won a 1st prize in a Kentucky contest, a 2nd in the NSPS Utah contest, several H.M.s and has poems used in recent anthologies. Denham's first love is story telling and humor -- thus the poems migrate toward those themes. A big bonus for her is when someone laughs out loud after reading her poem(s) (as one editor recently said she did). Denham and husband live on two acres in Central Oregon. They enjoy their 14 grandchildren and there are some greats here and there. Read her poems

Mary Krane Derr

Mary Krane Derr's work has appeared in a variety of literary, social justice, and spiritual publications, including Pudding, Sacred Journey, Daughters of Sarah, Switched-on Gutenberg, Lilliput Review, and RealPoetik. She recently received an award from the Poetry Center of Chicago, and has work forthcoming on a CD/audiotape anthology of healing poetry to be distributed to all hospices in Washington State. She read from her poem cycle The Ravelling Back Into the Text of Her Genesis at the 1999 Parliament of the World's Religions in Cape Town, South Africa. Read her poems

Jane Desmond

Jane Desmond is a poet in Champaign, Illinois with recent publications in Persimmon Tree, The Intima, Words for the Wild, and the Shrew Literary Journal. She is grateful for the wonderful work and support of the Champaign-Urbana Poetry group!

Jody Dickey

Jody Dickey is a mother of four and a CNA at Randolph County Care Center in Illinois. The residents there are one of her greatest inspirations. Read her poems

Laurie Lee Didesch

Laurie Lee Didesch's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in: The Comstock Review, The MacGuffin, Karamu, White Pelican Review, Third Wednesday, California Quarterly, Artword Quarterly, Artisan: A Journal of Craft, The Awakenings Review, Arts Alive! Literary Review, Blood and Thunder, Poetry Cram, Voices on the Wind, A Prairie Journal, Julien’s Journal,, Shadow and Light: A Literary Anthology on Memory, Feast of Fools: Poems, Stories, and Essays on Sacred Fools and Tricksters, Child of my Child: Poems and Stories for Grandparents, and more. Read her poems

Charlotte Digregorio

Charlotte Digregorio has authored seven award-winning books. Her two latest are: Ripples of Air: Poems of Healing, an inspirational poetry/reference book, and Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All. She was honored in 2018 by the Governor of Illinois for her decades of achievements in the literary arts. Digregorio writes fifteen poetic forms, has won sixty-four poetry awards, and was nominated for four Pushcart Prizes. Her poems have been translated into eight languages; she translates poetry books from Italian into English; and her traveling haiku/art show is featured at libraries, hospitals, corporate centers, galleries, and park districts, among other venues. She writes a poetry column for Winnetka Kenilworth Living, a lifestyle magazine in Illinois. Four of her reference books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities and are featured selections of book clubs. She has organized national writer's conferences and gives workshops at them; is a writer-in-residence at universities; teaches poetry in the public schools; judges national writing contests; and speaks regularly at libraries/chain bookstores. Digregorio hosted a radio poetry program on public broadcasting, and was an executive officer of the Haiku Society of America. She blogs about various genres of writing, and posts "The Daily Haiku" and other poetic forms by global poets at Read her ISPS poems

Susan Donahue

Susan Donahue is an Illinois native who taught genre fiction classes at the College of DuPage before relocating to Lincoln, Nebraska where she was active in several writing and poetry groups and was a regular participant in the Crescent Moon Coffee House Reading Series. Her poetry and prose have been included in Voices from the Heartland and Writers on the Edge and regional publications. She is currently a resident of Wheaton, and a partner in Harris, Harris & Donahue, Ltd., a British-American literary agency. Read her poems

Carol Dooley

Carol Dooley (December 11, 1944 - April 15, 2022), a long-time, faithful member of Southern Chapter, was both a poet and an accomplished artist. Her poetry was published in each of the chapter's four books and appeared in its numerous public and online exhibits. Her family noted that she left behind thousands of poems and paintings. | Read her poems.

Janice Doppler

Janice Doppler spent her writing energy on grant proposals and curriculum development during her career as a teacher and school educator. Retiring enabled her to develop her creative self — particularly with carving realistic birds from wood and writing poetry. Her haiku and haibun have been published in several journals. In 2021, she placed second in the Porad Haiku Award and published Stardust, her debut collection of haiku and haibun. Janice, who lives in Massachusetts, visited ISPS's haiku chapter via Zoom during covid and was drawn to become a member to form relationships with other haiku poets. For more information about Janice and read samples of her haiku and haibun, visit the Poet's Hub at Drifting Sands Haibun. | Read her poems.

Jennifer Dotson

Jennifer Dotson is the founder and program coordinator for begun in (2007) which offers events, contests and publication opportunities for poets everywhere. Her work has appeared in After Hours, DuPage Valley Review, East On Central, Poetry CRAM/Journal of Modern Poetry, Pacific Poetry Review, Panoplyzine and Willow Review. Her debut collection, Clever Gretel, received the 1st Journal of Modern Poetry Book Award and was published by Chicago Poetry Press in 2013. Late Night Talk Show Fantasy & Other Poems was published by Kelsay Books in 2020. She facilitates poetry writing workshops for Highland Park's Library U! program and other groups. Learn more at | Read her ISPS poems.

E. B. Dreier

Her name is E. B. Dreier, but people just call her Libby. She is a Christian, disabled wife and step mother. They live in East Moline, IL. She was born on Christmas Day! She is a lover of all types of poetry and literature, and she has enjoyed her articles being published in Highway News & Good News, book reviews in The Radish Magazine, and poetry on Joyful! Some of her favorite authors are Robert Frost, Ray Bradbury, and Will Rogers. She works on writing every chance she can find! She reads, and writes and then does more of the same! It is her desire to be a writer that everyone would be happy to she needs all of your ideas and tips! She adores the ISPS website too. She has a Christian children's book, as well as a devotional that she is seeking an editor for. When she's not writing, she sings often for her church services, special meetings, weddings and funerals. Read his poems

Barbara Eaton

Barbara L. Eaton, born and raised in the Chicagoland area, attended the University of Illinois and University of Maryland. She holds two master's degrees in English, and a Ph.D. in Shakespeare and Medieval Literature. An experienced PT Instructor, she has taught at Joliet Junior College, College of DuPage, and Morton College. Her second grade teacher, Miss Juliana Rotsko, published Barbara's first poem, "What Christmas Means to Me," in the Chicago Daily News. BTW, it was an awful poem. A member of the Illinois State Poetry Society, the National Federation of Poetry Societies, and the Academy of American Poets, Barbara facilitates the Lisle Chapter of ISPS. She edited a collection, Sacred Rivers, for poets Carolyn Sibr and Marvin R. Young. Barbara publishes in various literary journals, and also performs her poetry at local venues such as libraries, nursing homes, and coffeehouses. A former member of the Chicago-based group, Poets & Patrons, Barbara chaired their poetry contest for many years. Read her poems

Idella Pearl Edwards

Idella Pearl Edwards, (deceased August 28, 2023) born and raised in Aurora, IL, attended Olivet Nazarene University and received a degree from College of DuPage. She spent several years coordinating Lay Witness Missions and served as a Certified Lay Speaker for the United Methodist Church for over 20 years. Idella retired from the State of Oklahoma in 2005 as a Public Procurement Officer and moved to Marion, IL with her husband Jack. She is survived by 5 children and 12 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. She wrote a monthly faith column for The Marion Star Newspaper. She wrote her first book at age 71 and, at age 80, had self-published 22 books: Devotionals, Poetry books and Children's books (a few of which can be found on She was a board member of The Little Egypt Art Association in Marion and a member of The Little Egypt Writer's Society. Read her poems

Molly Seale Edwards-Britton

Molly Seale has published essays in Hippocampus Magazine and Hotel America as well as On Your Own, an anthology of poems and essays about widowhood. She was recently a winner in New Millennium Writings first-ever Monthly Muse. Her essay, "Illness," was included in Robert Atwan's Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2014. Her work has most recently been published in Connotation Press. She lives in Makanda, IL. Read her poems

Phillip Egelston

Phillip Egelston of Jonesboro, Illinois, (June 29, 1947 - July 23, 2016) was an artist, poet and expert in Victorian art glass. He published four poetry collections, Reste Placide, Light Stalking the Dark, Simply Intact and A Liberal Education and Other Poems, and a short story collection, Stories. He was a member of ISPS Southern Chapter. Read his poems

Mary Ann Eiler

Mary Ann Eiler's poetry has appeared in national and international print and online journals. Her book Specialty Profiles received awards from the Society for Technical Communications and the International Association of Business Communications. Meaning and Choice in Writing about Literature, her doctoral thesis, was published (abbreviated) by Ablex Press. Her other publications include travel memoir, linguistics, training and document design. She is a member of the Oak Park and Naperville Writers Groups, Poets and Patrons as well as the ISPS. She is currently developing a series of vignettes for young readers and writing her first novel. Read her poems

David P. Eldridge

David Eldridge began writing poetry in 1995. But in 2000 he entered a two-decade period in which he lacked inspiration to write. While staying-at-home due to Covid-19, he rediscovered writing and has been doing so with a renewed soul. Professionally, David is an attorney. Personally, he resides in Springfield, Illinois, with his wife and their two daughters. Read his poems

Sheila Elliott

Sheila Elliott is a member of the Oak Park Writers Group, Poets and Patrons and writes with smaller, informal writing groups, as well. "Dusk Casts a Thin Shawl" is her first contribution to the Illinois State Poetry Society's Web site. Read her poems

Robert Klein Engler

Robert Klein Engler lives in Oak Park, Illinois and sometimes New Orleans. Many of Robert's poems and stories are set in the Crescent City. "Red Beans and Rice," is online at the Drunken Boat, and "The Approach to Pilottown," is at Blithe House Quarterly. His long poem, "The Accomplishment of Metaphor and the Necessity of Suffering," set partially in New Orleans, is published by Headwaters Press, Medusa, New York. He has received an Illinois Arts Council award for his "Three Poems for Kabbalah." If you google his name, you may find his work on the Internet. Some of his books are available at Visit him on the web at E-mail: | Read his poems

jacob erin-cilberto

jacob erin-cilberto, originally from Bronx, NY, now resides in Carbondale, Illinois. erin-cilberto has been writing and publishing poetry since 1970. He currently teaches at John A. Logan and Shawnee Community colleges in Southern Illinois. His work has appeared in numerous small magazines and journals including: Café Review, Skyline Magazine, Hudson View, Wind Journal, Pegasus, Parnassus and others. erin-cilberto also writes reviews of poetry books for Chiron Review, Skyline Review and others. He has reviewed books by B.Z Niditch, musician Tom Maclear and others. His 11th and newest book of poetry, An Abstract Waltz, is now available through Water Forest Press, Stormville, NY. erin-cilberto has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry in 2006-2008 and again in 2010. He also teaches poetry workshops for Heartland Writers Guild, Southern Illinois Writers Guild and Union County Writers Guild. Read his poems

Michael Escoubas

Michael Escoubas is recently retired (2013) from a 48 year career in the printing industry. A love of letters was instilled in him by his mother at an early age. She encouraged him to read widely and well. The love of words and constructing something beautiful with them fuels his interest in poetry. He chooses Wallace Stevens as his favorite modernist poet along with Robert Frost. More contemporary favorites include Mary Oliver and Billy Collins. Through membership in the Illinois State Poetry Society he hopes to network with poets and from them learn and grow in the poetic craft. He is blessed by the support of his wife of 45 years, Trudy, who herself is a poem through the life she has lived. Read his poems

John D. Evans

For nearly 10 years, John D. Evans has worked as a Special Education Teacher, program coordinator, and educational leader within the Chicago Public School system. He has engaged children, motivated parents, supported teachers, assisted administrators, and connected with community representatives. Since calendar year 2000, he has taught in both the elementary and high school environments in self-contained and inclusion settings. He has worked closely with all children, especially those with special needs. He has served as a Special Education Department Chair (elementary school), Special Education Case Manager (high school), and Service Learning Coach (high school). With Type 75 Certification and National Board Certification (candidate), he dedicates himself to continuous academic progress and success for all children. He is the author of eight books of poetry, The Evans Poetry Collection. He is also the Regional Coordinator for the International Men's Day 2010 for the State of Illinois (USA). | Read his ISPS poem

Goldie Ann Farkonas

As long as she can remember, Goldie Ann Farkonas has been composing. As a little girl, she would make up "little plays" for her brother and his friends to "act" in. Of course, they would make a joke out of it, making it "silly". In high school, she wrote for the school paper. In College, she wrote. A professor at Northwestern University compared one of her essays to the writings of ancient Greece. She was a professional school teacher for over 30 years. In the elementary schools where she taught, she would write plays which the upper grade children would perform. She wrote poetry for a Greek-speaking radio program, but her poetry was concerning Greece, and they were in English. She wrote poetry for the Long Grove, IL magazine while living there. She has submitted to many other organizations as well. Read her poems

Ron Fintak

Ron Fintak is an elementary school special education teacher in Milwaukee, WI. He has written about 2 dozen poems and is writing a book about closing the achievement gap in education. He looks forward to joining this group, talking poetry, and learning to hone our craft.

Earl V. Fischer

Earl Valentine Fischer retired at the turn of the millennium after 40 years of editing various business and professional publications. A light verse at age 37 in 1970 was his first stab at poetry. About 1986 he tried a few haiku. In 1989 he began a full-length psychoautobiography in verse, still far from finished, and got into the poetry habit--reading, writing (all sorts of poems), and doing occasional public presentations. In addition to his own work and others', his specialty is performing (in character with nine different voice parts) S.T. Coleridge's famous narrative poem, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Read his poems

Dan Fitzgerald

Dan Fitzgerald has written off and on for a number of years. When he found he could not write in complete sentences, he stuck with poetry. His poems have been published in The Writer’s Journal, PKA Advocate, Nomad’s Choir and many others. His work has also appeared in several anthologies. He has written three chapbooks - Random Tales, Musing, and Your Star & Other Poems. He lives quietly in Pontiac, Illinois, tending to home and garden. Read his poems

Lynn Fitzgerald

Lynn Fitzgerald received her M.A. in Creative Writing and Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois and is a professor of English for the City Colleges. She received the Joanne Hirschfeld Award for her poem entitled "Florence." Her poems have been published in After Hours Press, Word Salad, Kalliope, The English Journal, the Chicago Area Writing Project, Urban Nation, Outrider Press, Northwest Community Council of the Arts Anthology, and Amused. In 1997, she was poet-in-residence for the Chicago Public Library. In 2003, she was the curator of the Reading Series at the Austin Avenue Branch of the Chicago Public Library. As the recipient of a grant for original work from the Community Arts Assistance Program of the city of Chicago, she published a chapbook in 2011 entitled Closer to the Earth. She has read poems at various venues including The Printers Row Book Fair, the Bucktown Art Fair, Columbia College, Northeastern Illinois University, NCTE National Convention, Greenview Arts Center, Zola-Liebermann Gallery, the Hungry Brain, Grosse Pointe Café, and the Pontiac Café. For the past two years, she has taught literature and poetry in Kuwait and Lebanon and is currently at work on a book of poems and photographs. Read her poems

Maureen Tolman Flannery

Maureen Tolman Flannery grew up on a sheep and cattle ranch in Wyoming and lives in Chicago where she is an English teacher, wood-carver and Home Funeral Guide. Among her eight books are: Tunnel into Morning, Destiny Whispers to the Beloved, and Ancestors in the Landscape. Her poems have appeared in multiple journals including Connecticut River Review, North American Review, Xavier Review, BorderSenses, Birmingham Poetry Review, Calyx, Pedestal, Poetry East, Atlanta Review, Arroyo, Comstock Review, and Green Hills Literary Lantern. Read her poems

Phil Flott

Phil Flott is a retired Catholic priest, who has written all his life. He finds that only now does he really understand what he has written. He is looking forward to the ISPS contests. Read his poems

Georgiann Foley

Georgiann M. Foley was winner #4 for the Bloomingdale Writers Workshop Contest with a public reading on Tuesday, April 3, 2001 for "Variations on a Worm." Read her poems

Mardelle Fortier

Mardelle Fortier teaches creative writing and composition at Benedictine University and at College of DuPage. She has about 50 poems in print, and has been writing since childhood. She is a past president of ISPS. Read her poems

Jonathan Foster, OFM

Jonathan Foster, OFM (September 12, 1933 - February 11, 2019) was a member of the Illinois State Poetry Society for a time. He was a Catholic priest, Franciscan, and his ministry was spiritual direction, retreats, and general spirtual formation. His office was in Westmont, IL, and was part of Mayslake Ministries. Read his poems

Michael Freveletti

Michael Freveletti is a poet from the northwest suburbs of Illinois. His poems have appeared in places like Allegro Poetry, Snapdragon Journal and River Poets Journal, among others. He loves his wife, red wine and notebooks. Read his poems

Doris Frey

Doris Grant Frey began writing poems in grade school. She received a 3-year diploma of nursing from Missouri Baptist Hospital School of Nursing in 1966. She worked as a Registered Nurse in the private sector 25 years, then was employed at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Marion, Illinois. As a non-traditional student, she achieved a BSN in 1993, and a Master of Science in Education, Workforce Education and Staff Development in 1998. Currently retired, she worked 45 years in nursing. Other interests include hand work, crafts, sewing, quilting and always, trying to capture thoughts and feelings into poems, prose and short stories. She collects love stories. She is an avid genealogist, currently writing a book on her family tree. She has self-published a book of poems for her mother, Lola Grant Bandy, (who wrote "The Poet's Corner" in The Herrin Spokesman), and her own chapbook of poems, Seasons. She has had many life experiences and witnessed the same in the lives of her patients, family and friends. These are often reflected in her work. Read her poems

Judith Stern Friedman

In 30+ years of professional writing, Judith Stern Friedman has been widely published in national magazines and books. Exploring themes of creativity, nature, folklore, and human experience, her poetry and prose have been published in Highland Park's East on Central and Highland Park Poetry's published anthologies, including nomination for a 2021 Pushcart Prize. Her flash non-fiction piece, "A Favor for a Friend," won a prize from Rose Metal Press. | Read her poem.

Karen Fullett-Christensen

Karen Fullett-Christensen was born and raised in Chicago. She is a 1968 graduate of Mather High School, and a 1972 graduate of Northern Illinois University. She has lived in several of Chicago's south and west suburbs, and way out west in Missoula, Montana. She is a retired urban planner. She is currently active in several local organizations including the Fox Valley Music Foundation, the Fox Valley Festival Chorus, Books and Bread, and Aurora Downtown. She is the co-founder of a writers' group specifically for poets, A-Town Poetics. She has been writing poetry since her freshman year of high school. In January 2020, she was appointed as the first Poet Laureate for the City of Aurora and, along with three poetry ambassadors, she continues to serve in that capacity. Read her poems

Judy Galati

Judy Galati (nee Kilby), formerly Judy DePauw, grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Referred to by friends and family as a lifelong learner, Judy was a nontraditional student at Black Hawk Community College, Moline, between 1976 and 2004. At Black Hawk, she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and participated in Upward Bound. In 2003, she received a Commitment to Student Excellence Award from that school. Judy was awarded a Liberal Arts degree from Black Hawk in May of 2004. Between 2001 and 2006, she also attended the University of Iowa, Iowa City, as a nontraditional student. In 2006, she transferred to Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, where she was a student member of the Northern Honors Program as well as the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta. While attending Northern, she was invited to become a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. In December of 2010, Judy graduated magna cum laude from Northern, with a major in English and a minor in linguistics. Judy Galati is a published poet who has received a variety of writing awards in local, state, national, and international competition. Beyond holding membership in the Illinois State Poetry Society, and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Inc., she is an active member of Lemont Writers. Read her poems

Michael Galati

(September 4, 1931 - October 9, 2021) Having taught English in an Illinois high school for some years, Michael Galati awakened to the realization that he might teach poetry more effectively if he practiced the art of writing poetry himself. In this way he began his apprenticeship in the poetic arts. His work has been successful in gaining publication, most notably in the Christian Science Monitor and in anthologies published by area colleges and poetry organizations. He also served as editor and columnist for his local newspaper, the Lemont Metropolitan. Widowed, he lived with his second wife, Judy, in Lemont, Illinois, a village nestled in the midst of the region's old dolomite quarries and three shipping canals. His walks met with wildlife among oak forested moraines and numerous streams. Read his poems

Cynthia Gallaher

Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet, is author of four poetry collections, most recently Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems About Food, Drink, Herbs & Spices, and three chapbooks, most recently Drenched, poems about liquids. She is also author of the nonfiction guide & memoir Frugal Poets' Guide to Life: How to Live a Poetic Life, Even If You Aren't a Poet, which won a National Indie Excellence Award. The Chicago Public Library lists her among its "Top Ten Requested Chicago Poets." Follow her on Twitter at @swimmerpoet and on her Facebook page at @frugalpoets.
Website: | Read her ISPS poems

Patricia Gangas

Patricia Gangas (March 19, 1939 - January 25, 2011) was a member of the Poets Club of Chicago and was the president of Poets and Patrons also in Chicago for nine years. She had three books of poetry published: All These Years, The Final Approach, These Places of Light. Her children's book Cats Everywhere was published in 2003. She authored a manuscript of mystical poetry called Gathering God, and a memoir titled How I Scared Cancer to Death: with God's help, neither of which has yet been published. Her hobbies were reading, attending college classes and playing Texas Hold'em. She was the wife of Thomas and mother of Peter and Valerie. Read her poems

Maureen A. Geary

Although Maureen A. Geary was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, she remains a loyal Cubs fan. Along with writing poetry, her hobbies include playing the fiddle and baking. She hopes to publish a book of poetry and record several Irish tunes. Read her poems

Jeanne Gerritsen

Until 2012, Jeanne Gerritsen was a life-long resident of Michigan except when she traveled to Mexico, Canada, England, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Moscow and Uzbekistan for many weeks at a time to study, teach, observe and photograph. In 2012, she moved to Chicago to be near her youngest daughter and family when she retired – again. She received her undergrad and master’s degrees in political science (international) at the age of 60 and 62 respectively. She is a relative newcomer to writing poetry, but she wrote/produced news articles, speeches, brochures, advertising and film scripts most of her adult life. While owning a public relations/marketing consulting firm, she received several professional honors and awards and served on the boards of numerous local, state and national small business and women-owned business associations. Read her poems

Marilyn Huntman Giese

Marilyn Huntman Giese puts pen to paper to relax. Her newest book, Nursery Rhymes Your Mother Never Taught You (published: Xlibris, 2019) features parodies of familiar nursery rhymes that become conversation starters around the dinner table. Poetry writing began when her five children were young. The fun of reading children's verse and One Fish, Two Fish, to her brood sparked an interest in poetry. Joining the Illinois State Poetry Society and the Naperville Writers Group put her in contact with others who write and offer critiques. She enjoys doing open readings of her work. Giese's poems appear in ISPS Vols. I --IV of Distilled Lives; several June Cotner Anthologies; numerous issues of NWG's Rivulets; NFSPS Encore, Prize Poems 2020. Giese is also the author of The Eye of God, A Fisherman's Tale, a novel of the life and loves of St. Peter; and, When the World Changed, A Revolutionary Peace, a photo-journal of the life of Jesus with photos from Israel, Greece and Turkey taken by the author. All are available as Print on Demand at Barnes and Noble, and Amazon as well as most book stores. Read her poems

Joseph "Joe" Glaser

Originally educated in Engineering Physics and Mathematics at Cornell, CCNY (BS) and NYU (MS), most of Joe Glaser's career was spent in technical business management. In retirement, he studied Liberal Arts at The University of Chicago (MLA), and began writing poetry in 2008. His poems have appeared in The Journal, printed by Northwestern University's ILR/OLLI program, the online "Front Porch Review", "Decades Review", “Muses’ Gallery of Highland Park Poetry"; the printed Journal of Modern Poetry (winning best modern poem prize and Pushcart nomination), Distilled Lives 2 and 3 anthologies printed by the Illinois State Poetry Society, East on Central print Journal of Arts and Letters. Joe also pursues candid travel photography, and his photos have been published in some of the same media as his poems. Read his poems

Theresa Glover

Theresa Glover is a stay-at-home mom. She has a degree in English, and long ago won a poetry contest. Now that her son is in high school, she is writing again. She hopes to be able to send along some good poems! Read her poems

Gail Goepfert

Gail Goepfert is a Midwest teacher, poet, and nature photographer. While teaching English in junior high in Wood Dale, Illinois, she developed a poetry writing program, Dreamcatchers, for eighth graders who elected to skip study hall to write. Nine years of students wrote, published their work in an anthology, and traveled to elementary schools to spark a poetic interest in younger children. She still enjoys sharing her passion for poetry and words with students and adults. Her poetry sprouts from growing up in the Midwest—she was born in southern Illinois, sandwiched in some school years in Ohio and the Chicago suburbs, loved college along the Mississippi and in Iowa City, and returned to the 'burbs to teach. The best part about being semi-retired is having more time to write, read, and workshop poetry. She has been published in a Highland Park Poetry Chapbook, the TallGrass Guild’s Seasons of Change Anthology for 2010, and has had poetry accepted for publication in Avocet, Off Channel, and Quill and Parchment. Read her ISPS poems

Sandy Goldsmith

Sandy Goldsmith has been writing poetry since college. In her poetry are experiences of handing down family traditions as granddaughter, daughter, mother and grandmother. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals including Skylark, Rockford Review, Rambunctious Review and Rhino. Sandy has performed her work at the major poetry venues in the Chicago area. She has won prizes from Poets & Patrons, Triton College and the Pennsylvania Poetry Society. She is a long time member of Poets' Club of Chicago and a former editor of Oyez Review. Sandy is retired from her teaching position at Purdue University Calumet, where she taught a variety of English courses including creative writing. Her first book of poems, Imaging Center, has recently been released by Puddin'Head Press.

John J. Gordon

John J. Gordon is married, lives in La Grange, and has three children and eight grandchildren. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering. He is the founder and president of a small automation company that designs and builds custom machinery. He has always been interested in words and writing, with the goal of communicating ideas using a minimum of words. He began writing poems for family and friends, mostly for special occasions. Currently he belongs to the ISPS, Arbor Hill Gang, and Poets and Patrons. He reads at various open mic events, has had several pieces published and hopes to have more. With increasing free time, poetry plays an important role in his life. Read his poems

Crystal L. Goss

Crystal L. Goss resides in the Montgomery, Illinois area, and is a self-taught writer/poet with a clear focus on Love Poetry. Page Publishing recently published her collection, Lovin' Me Always in November, 2023. Crystal's previous employment with a public library led directly to her love of reading and writing. She aims to have the reader feel like they are part of the poem and can relate to the thoughts behind the words. Presently she works as a House Manager for Disabled Adults. Crystal has three children (Adrienne, Tracy, Jr., and Bryan) plus four grandchildren (Elijah, Elise, Cameren, and Evan). Crystal enjoys living the best life possible being at peace and being happy. Blessed with a big heart, she's compassionate about others. Writing is her solace and puts her mind at ease. | Read her poem.

David Green

David Green lives in Chicago and has been teaching 3rd grade just north of the city for thirty years. He does a yearlong poetry study with his students: reading, writing, enjoying and talking about poems daily. At long last, David has started writing his own poems, having become completely captivated by haiku.

Jim Green

Jim Green has worked as a naval officer, deputy sheriff, high school English teacher, professor of education, and administrator in both public schools and universities. His poetry has appeared in literary magazines in England, Ireland, and the USA, and his sonnet series, Stations of the Cross, was nominated by the publisher for the Modern Language Association's Conference on Christianity 2009 Book of the Year. He holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in English and Education from Missouri State University, a Ph.D. in Education from Saint Louis University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. His academic publications include three books, as well as numerous monographs and articles in professional journals. Recipient of two Fulbright grants, he has served as a visiting scholar at the University of Limerick in Ireland and the National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan. He and his wife, Sheryl, divide their time between homes in Tinley Park, Illinois, and County Clare, Ireland.

Marina Grose

Marina Grose, born and raised in Edwardsville, IL, is currently working as a barista at a local coffee shop. In school, writing essays was something that always came naturally to her, but she never enjoyed them. Until recently, she hadn't thought about writing content that she was passionate about or using it as a creative outlet. Journaling and poetry has given her a tool to turn her sadness into something purposeful—so her feelings weren't wasteful. Since taking up writing as a hobby, the bond she has with the world around her has only grown deeper and stronger. In hopes of the future, she would like to do more with her writing and eventually get published, whether it's in journals or possibly her own books. Romanticizing her own life (especially in the hard times) wasn't something she did before she started writing. It's given her a new perspective on life, and thanks to poetry, she notices a lot more beautiful things in life.

David Gross

David Gross is the author of four chapbooks of poetry: Cup of Moon (Bull Thistle Press, 2000), What We Never Had (tel-let, 2004), Because It Is (tel-let, 2005) and Pilgrimage (Finishing Line Press, 2009). He has published in Big Muddy, Hummingbird, Northeast, Snowy Egret, The Cape Rock, Verse Wisconsin and been included in five anthologies. He lives on a small rural acreage near the foothills of the Shawnee National Forest. Read his poems

Anara Guard

Anara Guard is a Sacramento poet who grew up in Chicago. Her most recent book, Kansas, Reimagined, is a collection of persona poems that give new voice to familiar characters from the prairie and the most famous denizens of Kansas. She and her sister, Gay Guard-Chamberlin, perform and offer writing workshops as "Sibling Revelry".

Gay Guard-Chamberlin

Gay Guard-Chamberlin is a Chicago poet and artist living, she is glad to say, in the eclectically diverse Devon neighborhood. Gay has a Masters in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College, Chicago. Her poems have been honored in Poets & Patrons as well as the annual Joann Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Awards, and featured in the original play Somewhere Under the Table as part of the 2014 Rhino Fringe Art Festival. Read her poems

Lee Gurga

Lee Gurga is a past-president of the Haiku Society of America, former editor of the journal Modern Haiku. He is currently editor of Modern Haiku Press and the author of the award-winning Haiku: A Poet’s Guide. His honors include First Prizes in international haiku contests, an Illinois Arts council Poetry Fellowship, and the Japan-American Society of Chicago’s Cultural Achievement Award.

Lauren Finaldi Gurus

Lauren Finaldi Gurus was born in Oak Park, grew up in LaGrange Park, and currently resides in Boynton Beach, Florida. Her work has been recently published in The Centrifugal Eye, SaucyVox, Flashquake, Poems Niederngasse and in the 2005 Poets of the Palm Beaches Anthology. Her story, A is for Ability, will be featured in the forthcoming edition of Cup of Comfort, a book series. Read her poems

Marcia Gutiérrez

Marcia Gutiérrez loves photography most; it is a way to capture a story, capture a moment. From there she works in textile arts, watercolor, oral storytelling, and poetry. She used to fear poetry and now she doesn't for it has shown her a rather interesting view of the world around us. | Read her poems.

Johanna Haas

Johanna Haas lives in Illinois, in a cottage with four lions. Her poetry has appeared in Young Raven's Literary Review, #82 Review, and Do Geese See God. She also writes fiction and non-fiction. When not writing, she's playing with plants/animals or tying long string into many knots. | Read her poem.

Lucia Haase

Lucia Haase has been writing formal and free verse poetry for 20 years as the direct result of a spiritual experience. Most of her poetry deals with nature, human nature and spirituality. She recently had poetry accepted by Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Nostalgia Press, The Raven's Perch, Time of Singing, The Bible Advocate, Poetry Bay Magazine and Screamin' Mamas. She was also recently included in a poetry anthology titled Symphonies of the Wild Hearted available on Read her poems

Mark Hammerschick

Mark writes poetry and fiction. He holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a BS and MBA. He began writing in grade school and has contributed a number of poems to literary journals over the years and has been published sporadically. His professional life has been focused on digital strategy and online consulting as a solution architect and digital transformation strategist. He is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area and currently lives in a northern suburb near the shore of Lake Michigan. His poem "Rise on Up" won first place in the Poet's Choice category of the Oregon Poetry Association. One of his poems won third prize in the Highland Park Poetry Challenge. His current work has been featured in: Naugatuck River Review, Grey Sparrow Press, Button Eye Review, The Fictional Cafe, East on Central, Blue Lake Review, Calliope, Disquiet Arts, North Dakota Quarterly and The Raw Art Review. Read his poems

Lynne Handy

Lynne Handy is an author and poet who lives in a northern Illinois river town. A former librarian, she has an intense interest in the written word. She’s also interested in the fusion of spiritual and earthly experience, which she addressed in her 2013 novel, In the Time of Peacocks, and explores again in her recent novella, The Untold Story of Edwina. She published a chapbook, Spy Car and Other Poems, in 2016. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in several online and literary journals.

Jim Hanson

Jim Hanson is a sociologist and retired Senior Researcher at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale who has taught sociology and community development, also has worked in community and economic development and as a civil rights and anti-war community organizer. He is a lay-ordained Zen Buddhist who lives in the St. Louis area with his wife, Carol. His poetry collections on Amazon include Endless Journey, Perspectives: Educational Poems, and Ruminations. Single poems have appeared in some thirty websites and printings. | Read his poems.

Shai Y. Har-El

Dr. Har-El, a resident of Highland Park, Illinois, is a businessman, educator, writer, poet and historian. He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He is married to Rosalie for 40 years, has 3 children and 8 grandchildren. Dr. Har-El is a founder/owner of Har-El Financial, Inc., a full service financial consulting firm that is based in Northbrook, Illinois. He is the author of Struggle for Domination in the Middle East (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995). In addition to his forthcoming book, The Gate of Mercy: Where Islam and Judaism Join Together, a Perspective on Reconciliation, he publishes papers and gives lectures on current Middle East affairs. Dr. Har-El says he writes poetry to nurture his soul. His poems are written in English and Hebrew and are spiritual in nature and texture. They are now assembled in a bilingual edition entitled Riding the Waves of Bliss: Selected Mid-Life Poems, which he hopes to publish in the very near future. The following short poem tells about the motives behind his poetry:
I want to write
I want to write the poems of my life
I want to cast simple ideas into illuminating structures
I want to find lost souls and clothe them with literary garments
I want to visit dark places and, with gems of expression, bring them light
I want to invite words and verses to live in a brilliant world
rhythm and music.

Patricia A. Hare

Patricia A. Hare has written poetry since high school. She has recently self-published Uphill & Down, A Collection of Original Poetry by Patricia A. Hare, which is carried at three bookstores in Woodstock, St. Charles, and Palatine, Illinois. She had a reading and signing last April 2006 in Woodstock. In December 2006 she published a memoir about her parents called Bill and Mary. She would like to meet more poets in McHenry County in northwest Illinois, including ISPS members. Patricia is 2007 Illinois Senior Poet Laureate. Read her poems

Alan Harris

Alan Harris, born to a farming family in Earlville, Illinois, is retired from a 22-year career with Commonwealth Edison, Chicago, where he had served as a computer programmer, systems analyst, computer trainer, and Web developer. Between 1982 and 1995 he privately print-published ten books of poems and aphorisms for friends and family. These books and all subsequent poetry collections are now on the Web at Noon Out of Nowhere - Collected Poems. His entire literary collection (poems, essays, aphorisms, short stories, recordings of poem readings, and photographic essays) entitled An Everywhere Oasis was launched in 1995. His books in PDF format are downloadable at PDF Books. He is a past president of the Illinois State Poetry Society and currently maintains its website. Read his ISPS poems

Janea D. Harris

Janea D. Harris is an author, poet and community advocate who finds writing poetry cathartic and aims to connect with people in various seasons of life through her work. She is the owner of Supherbooks, LLC and her published children's books include, Through the Window of Winter the Rabbit (2020) and All Girls Have Sup-HER Powers, The Power of Voice (2019). Janea is the Co-founder/Co-President of Insight Advocacy, serves on the Boards of Reach Out and Read, IL, The Art Center of Highland Park, and the City of Highland Park's Human Relations Advisory Group.

Teresa Harris

Teresa Harris lives in beautiful southern Illinois and teaches high school. She earned her MFA at the University of New Orleans. Read her poems

William R. Harshbarger

William R Harshbarger was born in a Central Illinois farm community where children still attended one-room country schools, a few farmers still turned soil with horse-drawn plows, and at a time when American warriors won a victory during the Battle of Midway. Too young to be a member of the "Greatest Generation" and too old to be a "Baby Boomer", he was forced to understand a world explained by Beatles, the Grateful Dead, the psychedelic haze of creative artists, the political trauma of Watergate, dramatic racial and social change, and a divisive, expensive, ill-conceived, nip-many-innocent-young-lives-in-the-bud war. He earned a debt-free education from the University of Illinois and Eastern Illinois University, obtaining degrees in political science, education and history with unrequited graduate-class-love for law and economics. Since then he has acquired a limited understanding of high school teenagers and remains mystified by political leadership. He has secretly written poetry during most of his adult life. Today he is acquiring writing and drawing skills that he shares with small groups and is working on a sense of humor. Read his poems

Ann Hart

Ann Hart is a Poet and Graduate Student in Creative Writing at Eastern Illinois University. She lives in Mahomet and loves to travel to poetry events and be involved in poetry workshops. She is a member of the Champaign-Urbana Poetry group and an editor for the Champaign News Gazette's CU Haiku. She was a featured reader at the 2017 Nancy Hennings Memorial Poetry Reading. Her work can be found at Rattle-Poets Respond,, C-U Haiku and Silver Birch Press. Her poem "Tomato Heirloom" appeared in the anthology Tomato Slices. She was the 2016 winner of CUMTD Poets on the Bus with her poem "These Eight Short Lines."

Kathryn P. Haydon

Kathryn P. Haydon, MSc, has written six books, including her latest poetry collection Unsalted Blue Sunrise: Poems of Lake Michigan. Her poems have been published in New Croton Review, Written River, The Bedford Record-Review, Clinch, and East on Central (upcoming) as well as in books, academic journals, and in her first poetry collection. The founder of Sparkitivity, Kathryn writes and speaks widely on creative thinking and the secret strengths of outlier learners. | Read her poems.

Colleen McManus Hein

Colleen McManus Hein is a poet and writer living in Riverwoods. She has published in East on Central and with Highland Park Poetry, as well as self-published novels on Amazon. | Read her poem.

Barbara Lauderdale Hearn

Barbara Lauderdale Hearn is a new resident of the Land of Lincoln. She moved to Bloomington, Illinois in the summer of 2001 from having lived in Nashville, Tennessee, her hometown, for over twenty years. She received her B.A. degree in Communications from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1983. Recently some of her poems were published in The Poetic Licenxe Magazine in Kewanee, Illinois. She has had numerous other poems published in other journals across the country. She received an Editor's Choice Award in June 2002 from Sky Blue Waters Poetry Contests in Faribault, Minnesota. Before moving to Illinois with her family, she was a member of the Tennessee Writers Alliance. Read her poems

Edward J. Herdrich

Edward J. Herdrich's poetic voice is informed by over twenty years of working as a Licensed Private Detective, three years with the United States Army Military Police, a BA in English from UIC, years of camping and gardening, and is inspired by nature, the time he has spent with Native American people, and his six intelligent, compassionate, strong and beautiful children. | Read his poems.

Jeanette Helmbrecht

Jeanette Helmbrecht was born, raised and educated as a registered nurse in New York State; served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corpse during the Korean War and married a navy dentist. They raised six children in Mayville, Wisconsin. After the war, she studied creative writing and wrote news, humorous essays, and feature stories for several Wisconsin newspapers. Her secret attempts at writing poetry began in the 1970's. Most was pretty bad, she says, until 1997 when she began taking Internet courses. Subsequently, she joined two intense poetry workshops online and was fortunate to acquire a poet/mentor who was ruthless in his critiques of her work. The marriage ended after 24 years. She lives alone now, in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois where she works very part time in a nursery (Babies, not plants) and writes poetry. She is a former member of Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and current with ISPS. Read her poem

Jean Henning

Jean Henning has always written poetry and has had poetry published through the years in Bitterroot, Child Life, the Naperville Sun, the Marco Eagle and various other publications. She is also the author of three books titled Six Days to Swim, a biography of a swimmer, Sports Odyssey, a journal of an Olympic Wife, and Naper Scenes. She is a former teacher and swam with a Synchronized team. She was also a Water Safety Instructor and at present teaches Water Exercises on Marco Island, Florida during the winter. Read her poems

Pamela D. Hirte

Pamela D. Hirte grew up in Florida where she lived in Jacksonville and St. Augustine. She later moved to the midwest to earn a Master's degree in Business Administration. She is a poet and Master Gardener and likes to spend her time outdoors writing poetry or weeding. Today, Hirte lives in Ohio with her husband, two sons and one attack cat. Read her poems

Chris Holaves

Chris Holaves (January 29, 1945 - June 13, 2012) was an educator-writer whose poetry and stories came from his life experiences. He and his family emigrated from Greece to Danville, IL when he was nine. He graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a B.S. in Education. He earned an M.A. in English from the University of Illinois. His prize-winning poetry has been published in Rockford Review, The Greek Star, Small Brushes and various Illinois and Wisconsin newspapers. He started his own publishing company, Astakos Publishing, and has published two illustrated, children's bilingual books in humorous verse, Even the Dead Get Up for Milk / Hasta los muertos se levantan por leche (May 2008) and Running with the Bats / Corriendo con los murciélagos. (March 2010) He strongly believed that reading opens a child's imagination and fosters good communication skills. He hoped this series of books would be shared and enjoyed by many. Read his poems

Sister Meg Holden, FSP

Sister Meg Holden is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Peace. She is a native New Yorker who is currently living and working in Chicago. Writing poetry since 1987, Sister Meg is a published poet who enjoys writing poetry that speaks of the events of ordinary life, nature, and spirituality. Read her poems

Glenna Holloway

Glenna Holloway (February 7, 1928-September 4, 2015) published her work in more than 300 places, including North American Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, The Formalist, Georgia Review, Saturday Evening Post, America, The Georgia Review, Gray's Sporting Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Christian Century, and The Lyric. Her book, Never Far From Water and Other Love Stories, was published in 2009. She was commissioned to write lyrics for the theme song for Naperville's 175th Anniversary, 2006. Glenna’s awards included a Pushcart Prize in 2001; a Fellowship from Illinois Arts Council in 2005; the Grand Prize, Founders Award, National Federation of State Poetry Societies, 2006; top winner in National League of American Pen Women Biennial, 2006. In 2009, 2010 and 2012, Glenna was chosen by the Amy Kitchener Foundation as the Senior Poet Laureate of Illinois. In 1991, Glenna attended the convention of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. She persuaded members of a poetry group to which she belonged to affiliate with the National Federation, and agreed to become the first president of the group, then renamed the Illinois State Poetry Society. In addition to writing poetry, Glenna was a free-lance contributor to the Chicago Tribune and several other Chicago-area newspapers. She also received accolades for such artistic endeavors as photography and painting, and for the silver and enamel jewelry she created. Read her poems

Karen H. Honnold

Karen H. Honnold, an artist and poet, lives in Charleston, Illinois. She has self-published a chapbook entitled Faustine, and has been published in Lucidity. Pursuing a creative life along with raising three children, her poetry started to flow after attending a therapeutic writing class in 2005. Read her poems

M. E. Hope

M.E. Hope has been a recipient of a Fishtrap Fellowship, Playa Residency and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission. She currently lives in a town on the Illinois side of the Mississippi, near Saint Louis. Publications include Sky Island Journal, Rattle, Hubbub, High Desert Journal, the Iowa Review (as a runner up for the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans), a chapbook, The Past is clean, and numerous anthologies. | Read her poems.

Shelley Hu

Shelley Hu is an international trade consultant in the home decor industry. Reading and writing poems are serious hobbies of hers. She has published numerous poems written in Chinese language in prestigious poetry magazines and newspapers in China. She lives in Northbrook, IL. In addition to poetry, she also enjoys playing golf and dancing. Read her poems

Jeff Hubbard

For Jeff Hubbard, a lifetime Illinois resident, writing and history are joined. His poems always have one or more historic themes within them. He says that he has not studied the great poets as much as he should. His writing can be very skeletal and unvarnished, he notes, but he is always working to improve them. Read his poems

Frank Hubeny

Frank Hubeny is a software engineer who occasionally writes poetry. His poetry blog is at He lives in Northbrook. Read his ISPS poems

Mark Hudson

Mark Hudson is a poet, writer, artist, and ceramicist. He appears on Evanston Cable TV, and he had a hidden track on the first local 101 CD. He has designed art for a front cover on a one-time run of a magazine called Puffy Fruit. He has an ancestry of artists going back in history to Europe including Charles Lucy, who has paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago. Mark hopes you enjoy his poem "The Writer's Life" and many more to come. Read his poems

Melissa Huff

Melissa Huff, poet and artist, began focusing on writing poetry in 2012, after fifteen satisfying years creating one-of-a-kind jewelry. Invitations to be a featured poet at several readings in the Chicago area whetted her appetite for performing her poetry in public. In 2019 Melissa won Third Place in the BlackBerry Peach Prizes for Poetry: Spoken and Heard, sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and had the opportunity to perform those award-winning poems at the NFSPS convention in Santa Fe.

Her written poetry has also garnered awards from the NFSPS, as well as from the Illinois State Poetry Society and Poets & Patrons of Chicago. Her work has been published in online and print journals as well as anthologies, appearing recently in Origami Poems, The Road Not Taken, Brush Talks: a Journal of China, and Postcard Poems and Prose. She has served as secretary of the Illinois State Poetry Society and is currently a member of the Plumb Line Poets of Evanston, IL.

Melissa explores both metered poetry and free verse, enjoying the structure as well as the patterns of sound and rhythm inherent in both. She feeds her poetry from many sources—by appreciating the power and mystery of the natural world, through travel that demonstrates how humans everywhere connect, and through a recognition of the importance of spirit. Read her poems

Kate Hutchinson

Kate Hutchinson taught high school English in Chicago's suburbs for 33 years, retiring in 2019. Her most recent book, A Matter of Dark Matter, will be published by Kelsay Books in the spring of 2022. A chapbook of her poetry, The Gray Limbo of Perhaps, was published in 2012, and a full-length collection called Map-Making: Poems of Land and Identity came out in 2015. Kate's poems and personal essays have appeared in many literary magazines, and she has had three poems nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She blogs about writing and life at: | Read her ISPS poems

Julie Isaacson

Julie Isaacson feels fortunate to live in a community which is so supportive of poets and writers. She has enjoyed being represented several times on and in East on Central Journal of Arts and Letters. She loves teaching writing and poetry to students of all ages in her private tutoring practice, and she is glad to be joining ISPS. | Read her poem.

Angela Jackson

Angela Jackson is a poet, novelist and playwright. She is a recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, a Pushcart Prize and an American Book Award for Solo in the Boxcar Third Floor E (OBAhouse, Chicago, Il) 1985. Chapbooks are VooDoo/Love Magic (Third World Press, Chicago) 1974, and The Greenville Club in Four Black Poets (BookMark Press, Kansas City, Mo) 1978, and The Man with the White Liver (Contact II, New York, New York) 1987. And All These Roads Be Luminous: Poems Selected and New (Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Il) 1998, was nominated for the National Book Award; Dark Legs and Silk Kisses (Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Il) 1993, was awarded the Carl Sandburg Award and the Chicago Sun Times/Friends of Literature Book of the Year for Poetry 1994. It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time (Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Il) 2015, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the Pen/Open Book Award, a finalist for the Milt Kessler Poetry Prize and a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Award. Her debut novel Where I Must Go (Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Il.) 2009, received an American Book Award. Its sequel Roads, Where There Are No Roads (Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Il) 2017 was awarded the John Gardner Fiction Prize. Her play Comfort Stew (Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Il) 2019 followed several productions of it and her other plays. Her biography of Gwendolyn Brooks, A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun: The Life and Legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks (Beacon Press, Boston, Mass) 2017 is widely recognized. More Than Meat and Raiment: Poems is forthcoming in January, 2022. In November, 2020 she was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois for a term lasting until December 31, 2024.

Caroline Johnson

Caroline Johnson has two poetry chapbooks, one full-length collection, and more than 400 poems in print. A nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, she has won numerous state and national poetry awards, including the 2012 Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Poetry Contest. A former English teacher, she is past president of Poets & Patrons of Chicago and current treasurer ( She also moderates the west suburban chapter of ISPS. Her full-length collection of poems, The Caregiver (Holy Cow! Press, 2018), was inspired by years of family caregiving. Visit her website at | Read her ISPS poems

Michael Lee Johnson

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 275 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, has several published poetry books, has been nominated for 6 Pushcart Prize awards, and 6 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 453 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Read his ISPS poems

Cielo Jones

Cielo Jones is currently one of three curators of the weekly CU-Haiku on The News Gazette. Her poems have appeared in The Plum Tree Tavern, One Sentence Poems, and in the anthologies Crows on the Line and Distilled Lives V. | Read her poems.

Steven Kappes

Steven Kappes was born in Central Illinois and has lived the majority of his life there. He first began writing poetry while he was in the Army stationed in Germany where he had his first poem published in Stars and Stripes. He has had poems published in many publications including California Quarterly, Dream International Quarterly, and Pegasus among others. He has published four chapbooks. Since 1996 he has been the director of the Red Herring Poetry Workshop in Urbana. In 2003 he was one of the Illinois poets nominated for Poet Laureate. Read his poems

Thomas R. Keith

Thomas R. Keith is originally from Austin, TX but now resides in Chicago. He is a classics teacher by profession, specializing in ancient Greek language and literature. He has work forthcoming in the literary journals Westview and Modern Haiku, and he recently completed a verse translation of Euripides' play Andromache.

Steven Michael Kellogg

Steven Michael Kellogg is a married slob, father of three, who toils by day as a Faceless Petty Federal Bureaucrat and makes his home in Geneseo, Illinois. Read his poems

Maggie Kennedy

Maggie Kennedy's poems have appeared in Epiphany, Meat for Tea, Cloudbank, Zone 3, and other publications. In between writing poems, Maggie works as a freelance writer specializing in healthcare issues and lives with her family in Brookfield. Read her poems

Gary Ketchum

Gary Ketchum is a retired manager from a major airline who holds a university degree in liberal arts, majoring in Communication and minoring in English. He has written verse since he was a teen and enjoys creating everything from form poetry to free verse and prose poetry. He was an award-winning performer of Oral Interpretation of Poetry in festivals and competitions during college and he still enjoys performing readings of his own work and others'. His favorite poets include e. e. Cummings, T. S. Eliot, John Donne, Robert Frost and William Shakespeare. Read his poems

Elizabeth Stanley King

Elizabeth Stanley King is an Elgin, Illinois resident. She is an emergency management planning and auditing professional working for a Fortune 25 company. A mother of 2 adult children, her spare time is devoted to a special needs parent support group she co-founded, gardening, writing poetry and children's books. | Read her poems.

Lonna D. Kingsbury

Lonna D. Kingsbury is a Cincinnati poet transplanted from her hometown Chicago and the originator of Cincinnati's Poets Anonymous along with being the producer/originator of Countering the Silence, a concept holding the dubious distinction of being the longest running continuous cable presentation in her area. Lonna remembers University of Cincinnati fondly in the days of James Bertolino and finals at Arnolds. Her first Cincinnati publication as Lonna DuChaine occurred in Clifton Magazine as the lone female poet between Bertolino and Dallas Wiebe. She also enjoys her yearly sojourns "home" to read with C. J. Laity's Chicago Poetry Fest and Cathleen Schandelmeier's Beach Poets and at times Around the Coyote. Among her greatest honors? Running with the torch as torch guardian for our first Olympics after 9-11; being named Poet Laureate of Miami Township Ohio; reading "Her Mountain Bears Fruit Ever After" as the featured poet for Morehead University's 10th Annual Women's Symposium; and serving as the poetic interpreter for the Mason Veterans' Memorial--along with presenting the Congressional Breakfast Poem at Our Nation's Capital the year of Jean Schmidt's induction. Contact Lonna at Visit her Web site at

Iryna Klishch

Iryna Klishch was born in Nadvirna, Ukraine, but grew up outside Chicago, Illinois. She took first place for The Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize in 2016, and her work has appeared in various literary magazines. Klishch won the NFSPS Edna Meudt Award as a senior at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, completing a BA in English (Creative Writing). Her winning chapbook is A Monster the Size of the Sun.

Joseph J. Kozma, M.D.

Joseph J. Kozma is a practicing physician, Internal Medicine. While he has written poetry all his life, he just recently went "public". He is a member of the Academy of American Poets and the International Poetry Society. He has been published in two anthologies. A third will come out in the fall of 2008. He is active in the poetry section of the Imagine Foundation in Jacksonville, IL. Samples of his poerty are at

S. Michael Kozubek

S. M. Kozubek has written and published over 150 haiku, senryu, tanka, haibun and longer verse in many anthologies, including Sonic Boom, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, bottle rockets, Prune Juice, is/let, and Red Moon Anthology. He was awarded a second prize in the International Section of the 2017 Mainichi Haiku Contest and third prize in the 2019 ISPS Modern Haiku Contest Category. Read his poems

Karen Hurley Kuchar

Karen Hurley Kuchar's professional career has been focused on social services. With a master's degree in Counseling Psychology, she provided counseling, developed programs, and served in administrative roles. She was the Executive Director of Family Shelter Service, the domestic violence agency that serves DuPage County for 16 years. For the past 5 years, she has been a leadership coach and consultant. She has always loved writing and is an avid reader. She is fascinated by both the power and beauty of words. In her role at Family Shelter, her clients were encouraged to write about their experiences, and she put together two books of survivor stories that are moving and heart-breaking. She has written poetry for several years, and self-published a collection of poems on transition, Consider the Lobster. She is the board chair of Anawim Arts, an organization focused on the intersection of art and spirituality. One of their programs is Wisdom Writing Circles. She facilitates circles for writers who wish to explore writing as a means of self-discovery. Creating Space is her newest project, monthly conversations with artists about their creative process and its expression of spirituality. | Read her poem.

Christopher Kuhl

Christopher Kuhl lives in a small river town, and has published in literary journals across the country, and Canada. (Technically, he supposes that makes him an international poet.) He also writes the occasional piece of short fiction. He has written nine books, seven of which are poetry collections (the other two being a collection of 1-2 pp vignettes based on his hometown, loosely disguised, and a collection of mixed essays). When he's not writing, he's painting (acrylics), about which he knows nothing; studying Biblical Hebrew; and playing with numbers (he was terrible at mathematics in high school but has blossomed in such things as abstract algebra in his newly acquired status as a senior citizen). He also likes to play his kalimba, lyre, and fourteen-pitch tongue drum. He holds a variety of college degrees in a variety of subjects, including philosophy, music composition, musicology, and a Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary arts, as well as one in music history. Suffice it to say he's never bored. | Read his poems.

Ruth La Sure

Ruth La Sure, an Illinois resident since 1978, is formerly from Wisconsin and California. Her interest in writing poetry escalated in the early eighties while taking some related classes at College of DuPage. Her earlier training at Pierce Junior College in California, the American Academy of Art in Chicago and the American School of Paris are primarily in the visual arts. The Prairie Light Review of College of DuPage has published La Sure's poetry, and awarded her a reading of "Lela Amy" at a ceremony of writers. Read her poems

Nancy LaChance

Nancy LaChance is a retired teacher, prize-winning poet published in a variety of journals and a caregiver for her 92-year-old mother.

Jim Lambert

Jim Lambert is retired and lives in Southern Illinois with his wife of forty-nine years (who refers to him as her current husband) and two 30 year old desert tortoises. His self-published book of poetry The Winds of Life disappointed critics in 2007. He has been published in several small poetry journals. He is a past president of the Southern Illinois Writers Guild and is currently serving as Vice President of the Illinois State Poetry Society. | Read his ISPS poems

Eileen Landau

Eileen Landau just started writing haiku. Now she needs to learn more about the ideas and constructs and she hopes that can happen from the haiku meetings. Read her poems

Beth Langdon

Beth Langdon is a single, disabled, thus, retired healthcare professional. She mainly writes rhythming poetry that reflects her Christian values. She finds writing therapeutic and inspiring at the same time.

Jill Angel Langlois

Jill Angel Langlois began writing short stories at the age of eight and poetry at the age of twelve. Her poems and short stories have appeared in literary magazines, anthologies and newspapers in the Chicagoland area as well as nationally. She holds a B.A. in English & American Literature from Governors State University, University Park, IL. Scattered Petals, her first collection of poetry, explores the healing power of nature. Whiskey Nights, her second poetry collection, is inspired by both whiskey and music. Excerpts from these collections can be found at Her poetry and short stories also appear on her blog: The Writing Life. Jill is currently writing a memoir entitled “Tell Me The Story,” which is about growing up adopted and reuniting with her birth mother. She lives in Yorkville, IL with her husband, Aaron, her birth mother, Sue, and their cats. Read her poems

Jill Lapin-Zell

Jill Lapin-Zell is a former English teacher who resides in New Jersey. She has a BA in English from Temple University, an EdM in secondary education from Rutgers University and a Masters in Educational Administration from Rider University. Jill is the author of Vanishing Into Life, her first collection of poetry published in 2015. Some of her poetry has previously appeared in A Hudson View Poetry Digest, published by Skyline Publications. She has also edited and written numerous reviews of poetry collections.

Pamela Larson

Pamela Larson has been published in issues of the CRAM Poetry Series published by Press and the Daily Herald. She has won several awards from Highland Park Poetry including The Poetry That Moves Contest for June 2012. She also enjoyed coordinating a 32 poet Exquisite Corpse with Highland Park Poetry, the reading of which can be found on YouTube. Her most recent award was Second Honorable Mention in the 2012 Illinois State Poetry Society’s Contest for haiku. You can find her artwork on the cover of A Midnight Snack published by Poetic License Press. Read her poems

Bonnie Pignatiello Leer

Bonnie Pignatiello Leer has been writing poetry since grade school and was first published in an annual magazine containing poetry and prose from the students at the school. Her poems have been included in several publications since then. She was born in and grew up in the Chicago, IL area and currently resides south of Chicago in Manteno, IL with her husband and two children. The kids are both still pretty young, so life is pretty chaotic in her house. She also has a couple of dogs that alternately provide companionship and add to the chaos. She has two degrees from Northern Illinois University and has been working as an analyst (meaning she continually asks questions until people tell her to either shut up or go away) in the federal government for about the past 20 years. Her primary passion is music and she has slowly been letting her growing music collection chew up the memory on her computer. She loves to sew, knit, and needlepoint whenever she has spare time, which is not very often. She also tends to drag her camera around with her frequently and plans to add "photographer" to her resume at some point because she can't be a federal employee forever. Read her poems

K. M. LeMohr

K. M. LeMohr returned to writing after a long hiatus. Poetry is one of his favorite forms of expression, though he also writes short stories and plays. He began writing as a teenager though passion did not take root until college. K. M. LeMohr is diligently creating a body of work worthy of publication.

Mary F. Lenox

Born in Chicago, Dr. Mary F. Lenox enjoys the daily privilege of writing poems inspired by nature and events. Her book of poetry, Threads of Grace: Selected Poems, was completed in 2015. She has traveled widely in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa and Brazil. She retired from her academic career in 2009.

Shirley Anne Leonard

Shirley Anne Leonard, a native of upstate New York, has been a resident of Illinois since 1979, and studied at Carl Sandburg College. She is the mother of five and grandmother of eight, and lives with her husband, Dr. Richard Leonard, in Hamilton, Illinois.She is the editor (since 2003) of WestWard Quarterly, a poetry journal with a positive, upbeat philosophy formerly edited by Marsha Ward. Shirley has written more than 800 poems. Her work has appeared in Time of Singing, Ancient Paths, and The FORESEE (newsletter of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference). Several poems have also been published online by Reconciliation Press, Cross Way Publications, and Quill and Parchment. Two poems have been used in books that appeared in 2007: Secure the Fort (Xlibris) by Lucy Cain, and A Glimpse of Heaven (Howard Books). She has published five chapbooks: Creation's Song, Remembering Eden, The Journey, The Promise, and The Compass (Laudemont Press). Selections from her poetry also appear on the Laudemont Ministries Web site (, and the WestWard Quarterly Web site(, where poetry submissions may be made to the magazine. WestWard Quarterly has published poets from the USA, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, France, India, Ireland, Lebanon, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Scotland, South Africa, and Slovenia. Read her poems

John Li

John Li, a Chinese American, was from China, has been a professional gymnastics coach in China, Canada and United States. Currently, he is an owner and program director of the Summit Gymnastics Academy in Moline, IL. He has published a collection of poetry in Hong Kong, China. He is a vice president of the council of the Chinese World Poets Association, and also a vice president of the council of the Chinese Poetry Association. Read his poems

Gari Light

Gari Light is a Chicago-based poet, born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1967 living in the United States since 1980. He Graduated from Northwestern University with Departmental Honors B.A. in Slavic Literature Studies. He became a lawyer a short time after and worked in the area of international jurisprudence, both in the U.S. and abroad. Since 1993, Gari's poetry is published regularly in the literary journals and poetry anthologies of the United States, Canada, Israel, Europe and Ukraine. He is a member of the American PEN Center and the Writer's Union of Ukraine. Light's several books of poetry were published in Russian starting in 1992. The most recent collection in English, entitled Confluences (Bagriy, 2020) has been published in January. Gari regularly takes part in poetry readings and other literary events on both sides of the Atlantic. Read his poems

Lucy M. Logsdon

Lucy M. Logsdon’s recent (or upcoming) publications include Heron Tree, Drafthorse Lit Journal, Poet Lore, Nimrod, The Southern Poetry Review, Iodine Poetry Review, Literary Orphans, Sixfold, Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, Rose Red Review, Indian Summer Quarterly, Conclave: A Journal of Character, The Miscreant Magazine, Cross Poetry Review, The Poetry Storehouse, VerseWrights, California Quarterly and Seventeen Magazine. She has received a MacDowell Writing Colony fellowship and taught at The Frost Place. She received her MFA from Columbia University and served as the Program Director at the National Book Awards. Currently, she teaches at Southeastern Illinois College (located in southern Illinois, near the Shawnee National Forest). In her spare time, she raises chickens and ducks with her husband and cares for various other aging critters. Read her poems

Paul Lubenkov

After a lengthy career as an executive with Eastman Kodak and Fuji Photo Film, Paul Lubenkov returned full circle to his first post graduate job: College Instructor. Although it is certainly intimidating for him to return to the classroom after a long absence, it is incredibly rewarding to be able to give back. Poems recently published and accepted for publication in The Sierra Nevada Review, The Stillwater Review, The Outrider Review, River Poets Journal, The Tule Review, Burningword Literary Journal, The Coe Review, Smeuse, Contemporary American Voices, Where the Mind Dwells: Contemplation, Soundings East, Best Poets of 2016, Panoplyzine, Falling Star Magazine, Snapdragon, and Fresh Ink. His manuscript TAP DANCING ON THE RAZOR'S EDGE, a collection of poems, has been accepted for publication and has been released in 2018. Read his poem

Shontay Luna

Shontay Luna has been writing all her life. She only discovered poetry writing after taking intermediate and advanced writing poetry workshops at Columbia College. Half of her poetry is "made up" and the other half is based on things that have happened in her life. She is listed on under Celinda Luna and Youtube under DoorsChick1967. She has been published in Capper's Anthology and six other publications. She only recently got back into submitting after a hiatus of several years of raising kids. They're older now and it's time for her. She would like to "get her poetry out there" so her words don't "die" with her. She's not ill, just an expression.

Lennart Lundh

Lennart Lundh is a poet, short-fictionist, historian and photographer. His work has appeared internationally since the late 1960s. Len reads at Chicago-area open mics on a regular basis, as well as appearing in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio several times a year. Read his poems

Rowena Raheal Amatullah Maalikulmulk

Rowena R.R.A. Maalikulmulk was born African American in the winter month of October 22, 1960. She is the last female child out of five children between the marriage of her father, Othello A. Rollins, and mother, Birdie Mae Rollins. She has two daughters, Safiyyah R. Mirtia and Bahiyyafi M. A. Maalikulmulk. She lived primarily on 41st and Ellis Ave. in Chicago, IL. However, her major impact was in the projects on the South Side of Chicago at the CHA Robert Taylor Homes. She attended many schools, but managed to graduate from M.L. King High School and successfully completed her LPN certificate at Dawson Skill Center. She worked as a lifeguard during the summer for ten years for the Chicago Park District. She volunteered as a security guard for Dorothy Tillman, 3rd Ward Alderman, during the late Mayor Harold Washington years. Her last major career was as a Geriatric Psychiatric Nurse for four years. Presently, she is writing books and poems in her spare time. Read her poems

G. Jordan Maclay

G. Jordan Maclay sees art and poetry as an expression of the joyous mysteries of life. Jordan is a quantum physicist, PhD from Yale, emeritus professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a metal sculptor who loves David Smith, and a poet, with admiration for T.S. Eliot, Rumi, the Bhagavad Gita. He has a recently published book: Transformations, Poetry and Art. For more information visit his web site or Read his ISPS poems

Usha Mahisekar

Usha Mahisekar (d. June 10, 2016) completed her primary schooling in Sholupar, India. She received a MD degree Medical College in Pune, India and completed a residency in Anesthesiology at the University of Illinois. She retired in January 2012. In 2014, she received an M.A. in Sanskrit from Karnatka University, and taught Sanskrit to others. She was a member of the Illinois State Poetry Society for several years, and was a regular participant in poetry readings at Brewed Awakening in Westmont, IL. | Read his poems.

John Mahoney

John Mahoney (passed away on May 23, 2016) was born in Joliet, Illinois during the First World War and grew up there as a voracious reader and a nature-lover. He worked as a blueprinter and leisure-time writer until drafted into the Second World War. Assigned to fire direction in the Field Artillery, John spent thirty-six months in the Southwest Pacific, chiefly in New Guinea and the Philippines. He was wounded while landing on Mindanao. His remaining time overseas was spent in Australia, mainly near Rockhampton, Queensland, where he has revisited eight times since the war. After his discharge from the Army, John enrolled at the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, where he met graduate nursing student Attracta O'Connor. John received a BA in English and married Attracta in June of 1949. He spent the next year earning an MA in English at the University of Louisville. Returning to Illinois, John worked in a locomotive plant and later in various copy-editing jobs at book and magazine publishers. Settling in Westmont, Illinois, he and Attracta became parents of Deirdre, Eileen, and Georgina; and in time, grandparents of Claire Milsted, and Andrew and Monica Lim. In 1984, John joined Downers Grove Writers Workshop, which became his friendship circle as well as school for poetry writing. | Read his poems.

Bonnie Manion

Bonnie J. Manion is a much-published poet and community volunteer who has been listed in Marquis' Who's Who in America and Who's Who Among American Women for several years. She received the Peoria, IL Catholic Diocese' highest lay service award, The Pere Marquette Medal, in 2001. Bonnie has published about 500 poems in over fifty venues over the past seven years. These include St. Anthony's Messenger, Pegasus Review, Nomad's Choir, Lutheran Digest, Limestone Journal, Offerings, Karamu (coming in 2008), PK's Advocate, Northern Stars, Penned From The Heart (several volumes), Devotional, Time of Singing, and Writer's Magazine. Her poetry has won several awards from both Saint David's Christian Writers Assn. and Poets of The Vineyard. Bonnie is married (since 1961) to retired attorney Paul T. Manion of Hoopeston, IL, and they have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. She received a B.S.E.Ed. degree from De Paul University of Chicago, IL in 1965. Bonnie's Web site is located at Read her ISPS poems

Carol Marcus

Carol Marcus has written many poems and has been published in two poetry anthologies. She is a local historian, researcher, artist, writer, photographer, preservationist, and President of the Villa Park Historical Society. She is Co-President of the DuPage County Historical Society, writing and publishing the DCHS's bi-yearly newsletter. She has been involved in the development of an annual student art show featuring the work of over 600 students. This event was expanded to include Literature, Poetry and Music. As a member of other artists' leagues, Carol exhibits her art at local shows. Carol holds a BS Degree from Elmhurst College and an MBA from Dominican University. Read her poems

William Marr

William Marr has published 23 volumes of poetry (two in English and the rest in his native Chinese language), 3 books of essays, several books of translations, and 10 eBooks. His most recent published work, Chicago Serenade, is a trilingual (Chinese/English/French) anthology of poems published in Paris in 2015. His poetry has been translated into more than ten languages and included in over one hundred anthologies. Some of his poems are used in high school and college textbooks in Taiwan, China, England, and Germany. In addition to writing poetry, he has also engaged in translating Western modern poetry into Chinese and has edited several anthologies of Chinese and Taiwanese modern poetry. He is a former president of the Illinois State Poetry Society and has received numerous honors, including several awards from Taiwan and China for his poetry and translations. A PhD recipient and a scientific researcher by profession, he has been in recent years pursuing other artistic interests including painting and sculpting and has held several solo as well as group exhibits in the U.S. and China. Read his ISPS poems

Carol Schott Martino

Carol Schott Martino lives in Peoria, IL. As a teenager, she began writing sappy love poems, and in later years she embraced the creative outlet as a form of therapy by finding humor in the storms in life. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Kansas Quarterly, Cedar Rock, Pudding, and The Sandhills and other anthologies. In the 1980s, she and Patricia Lieb founded Pteranodon, a literary magazine which featured poetry, essays, interviews and photography. They also co-authored Catholics and Publics, a poetry chapbook. She was an was an associate editor and poetry therapy columnist for Pudding House Publications. One of her greatest joys has been presenting The Poetry of Rocks workshops for troubled teens, encouraging them to listen to their own stories through the shapes and patterns of rocks that have skipped or been thrown into their lives. For several years, she worked as a journalist and columnist; many of her columns are featured in Schott at Sunrise, a book published by Pudding House. Also, her essays and non-fiction pieces have appeared in magazines and newspapers in the United States, such as Woman's World, Primo, Hallmark Magazine, Farm Journal, and the Miami Herald as well as publications in Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Her writing is also highlighted on a website she and her husband Dan launched a few years ago - Don Welch, Ted Kooser, Peter Meinke, Marge Piercy, Linda Paston and Dave Etter are among her favorite poets. | Read her poem.

Farouk Masud

Farouk Masud was born in Chicago on Earth Day. He was raised in the west suburbs of Chicago and graduated from the College of DuPage in 1995 with an Associates Degree in Arts and Science. He wrote his first poem at age 14 and has been writing on and off since. His poems mostly deal with the dark aspects of life. Cynic and melancholy storytelling tends to be his specialty; which is why Edgar Allan Poe, Sara Teasdale and John Davidson are his favorite poets. Poetry is his main hobby, but he also loves: boxing, movies, music, martial arts, politics, current events and conspiracy theories. Comments and criticisms are welcome. Send to: He currently lives in Bridgeview, IL. Read his poems

Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy has an Associate of Arts degree from College of DuPage and an honorable discharge from the United States Navy. He took up reading and writing poetry in September of 1998. He has five or six poems in print. Read his poems

Marguerite McClelland

Marguerite McClelland (August 8, 1943 - May 29, 2015) was born in France in 1943 in the region of Alsace, growing up with French and German as native languages. She married a member of the US Air Force in 1963 and has lived in the United States off and on since 1965. She has two children and four grandchildren. Retired from teaching French and German to elementary students at Armitage Academy in Kenosha, Wisconsin, she now spends her time on environmental issues, travelling, gardening, and writing. Read her poems

Cassandra McGovern

Cassandra McGovern writes poetry and memoir. The latter have appeared in several journals, including The Massachusetts Review and OxMag. Two anthologies include thirteen poems: Five Poets Write about Aging, Illness, and Mortality, 2011, and Fresh Pipes, 2013. Additional poems have appeared in Atomic Press, Not Very Quiet, and Olentangy Review. She was a finalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards in both 2015 (final four) and 2017 (final 20). Cassandra has taught classes about illuminated manuscripts and the Middle Ages and is currently writing a chapbook of fictional families living in medieval England. Read her poems

David McKenna

David McKenna, most recently born in the middle of the 20th Century, has been a poet since childhood. He has published two books: Roadside Diner (2007) and Blood Gems of Orochi (2008). Read his poems

Rafael Lantigua Medina

Rafael Lantigua Medina is from the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean. He moved to Illinois from California 4 years ago to work at Hannibal Regional Hospital as Clinical Coordinator for the IT department. He writes poetry and short stories since 30 years ago in both Spanish and English. Some poetry has been published back home and, at Stanford Medical Center, he participated in a contest as finalist. He looks forward to being an active member in the Illinois State Poetry Society. Read his poems

I. F. Miller

Irving F. Miller was born in 1934 in New York City and educated at New York University, Purdue University, and the University of Michigan. He taught and administered programs in chemical engineering and biomedical engineering for almost 40 years at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Akron. He is the author of over 80 refereed articles and book chapters in engineering, over 200 abstracts and presentations, has edited and translated several monographs, and has received numerous engineering grants and awards. Although he has written poems most of his life, he began writing poems seriously in 1995. Since his retirement from engineering education in 2000, he has concentrated on writing poems, which have appeared in journals and chapbooks, as well as on two websites. His poems are currently under review by several journals. He has published poems in InPrint, Big Table Poetry Group Chapbook, The Aurorean, Zeek, Poetica Magazine, and Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry; and in Web site and | Read his ISPS poems

Winifred Morgan

Winifred Morgan has written primarily academic prose (An American Icon: Brother Jonathan and American Identity; The Trickster Figure in American Literature). But she has been reading and occasionally publishing haiku since Robert Spies was editing Modern Haiku.

Wilda Morris

Wilda Morris (otherwise known as Wendy) is a former president of the Illinois State Poetry Society and of Poets and Patrons of Chicago. She currently serves as workshop chairperson for Poets and Patrons. Wilda has won prizes in free verse, formal poetry, and haiku, including a 2009 Prairie Poetry Award from College of DuPage, and two Pushcart Nominations and a Touchstone nomination for haiku. In 2008, Rockford Writers' Guild Press published Wilda's first book of poetry, Szechwan Shrimp and Fortune Cookies: Poems from a Chinese Restaurant. Her second book and third books of poems, Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby-Dick and At Goat Hollow and Other Poems, were published by Aldrich Press, a division of Kelsay Books. Her poems have found homes in many publications including Christian Science Monitor, Journal of Modern Poetry, Chaffin Journal, Alive Now, About Place, After Hours, Frogpond, and Ocotillo Review. Since 2006, Wilda has been MC of a monthly poetry reading at Brewed Awakening in Westmont. For almost fifteen years, she published other poets on her blog, Wilda Morris's Poetry Challenge at (until she got locked out by a technical glitch. She also authored a nonfiction book, Stop the Violence! Educating Ourselves to Protect our Youth (published by Judson Press). Wilda grew up in Iowa City, Iowa. She is a graduate of American University (DC) and has a doctorate in political science from the University of Illinois and an M.Div. She taught religious education at the seminary level, and served as Coordinator of Shalom Education, an ecumenical, not-for-profit, peace and justice organization. For several years, she served as managing editor of The Children's Corner (also called The Pebble), a children's ministry newsletter. Wilda is married and has five children, fifteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Read her ISPS poems

Martha S. Moss

Martha S. Moss (December 31, 1920 - December 25, 2011) was a nonagenarian, grandmother of three, great grandmother of five and mother of poet Susan T. Moss. Martha loved to watch the birds, squirrels and rabbits nibble bird seed through the windows of the house she and her husband moved to in 1949. Inspiration for her writing, often rhyming poetry, came from observing life's passing dramas and the everyday joys surrounding her. Occasionally, her journalistic pieces were printed in the local and city editorial pages. Read her poems

Susan T. Moss

Susan T. Moss is the author of a full-length book, Mapping A Life (Antrim House) and two chapbooks, In From The Dark (Antrim House) and Keep Moving 'til The Music Stops (Lily Pool/Swamp Press). She is serving a sixth term as President of Illinois State Poetry Society and is the treasurer of Poets Club of Chicago, member of Poets and Patrons and the P2Collective. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Vermont Literary Review, After Hours, the Kerf, Steam Ticket, Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, Caduceus, among others. She has been featured on WLUW-FM Wordslingers and Highland Park cable television-Poetry Today. Susan was granted a residency at Vermont Studio Center and is the recipient of two Illinois Humanities Fellowships. Susan is a former English teacher and holds an M.A. from Middlebury College, the Bread Loaf School of English. | Read her poems.

Robert Burns Mounts

Robert Burns Mounts has a BA in Speech and English from Bradley University, and an MA in Drama from the University of Illinois. He worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, dealer training head for a multinational (out of Geneva, Switzerland), senior vice president at a national ad agency, and president of his own corporate training company. Recently retired, he teaches drama for seniors in Green Valley, AZ. He is married and has two grown children with children of their own. He lives in the Sonora desert south of Tucson. His lifelong hobbies are: little theater (acting, directing, playwriting), essays and poetry. Read his poem

Hugh Muldoon

Hugh Muldoon (July 17, 1939 - October 12, 2021) was an extraordinary member of Southern Chapter—an inspiring poet, a community pillar, and champion for peace, justice, and the environment. He wrote that he was an older learner living in Carbondale, Illinois. He spent much of his time looking for the back doors of windmills instead of tilting at them straight on. He also raised vegetables, chickens, and his wife's ire, but only on a relatively small scale. He worked on poetry a little to offset his proclivity for reading philosophy and theology. If he wasn't at home or poking around windmills, he could easily be found drinking coffee or beer with other older learners and ne'er-do-wells. Read his poem

Kathleen Murphy

Kathleen Murphy grew up in Ohio, where she received B.A. in English. She's married and has raised four boys and several deceased goldfish. She's currently a writing tutor at a community college and writes for She's written newspaper feature stories and a humor column, and had poetry and articles on poetry published in several magazines. Her website is at Her other goal is to make a lot of money writing poetry. Just kidding! Read her ISPS poems

Michael Nickels-Wisdom

Michael Nickels-Wisdom has been writing haiku since 1990 when he discovered Harold G. Henderson's Introduction to Haiku in the stacks of the public library in which he worked for 38 years. Since then, his poems have appeared in the Willow Review, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Bones: Journal for the Short Verse, Under the Basho, and several other publications, most recently anthologized in New Resonance 12: Emerging Voices in English-Language Haiku and Haiku 2021: 100 Notable Ku from 2020. He has lived in Illinois most of his life, and is now retired, living in Delavan, Wisconsin. | Read his poems.

Jim O'Brien

Jim O'Brien publishes under the name James Escher. His poems have most recently appeared in Pegasus, Bear River Review, Pilcrow & Dagger, and The Tishman Review. He lives and writes in East- Central Illinois, where he is co-founder of the Champaign- Urbana Poetry Group, a weekly poetry workshop.

Richard Oberbruner

By day, Richard Oberbruner is in his fifth year of working with at-risk youth for DuPage County. By night, he's in his twentieth year of writing poetry like a fiend. No surface is safe from his pen. He also facilitates stress management workshops for small groups using improvisational acting techniques he learned at The Second City Theater, Chicago. He is a member of the Naperville Chamber of Commerce Speakers Bureau. Read his poems

Elizabeth Felts Olmsted

Beth has been interested in poetry since her grandmother introduced her to the Romantic/Lake poets, who remain her favorites. She is retired from higher education where she was a fundraiser, first at UIUC and then she specialized in capitol campaigns for community colleges in southern Illinois and Michigan. | Read her poems.

Donna O'Shaughnessy

Donna O'Shaughnessy resides in Saunemin, IL with her husband and a mad collection of farm critters on a small, sustainable homestead. A retired hospice nurse, she is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois where she was awarded the school's Senior Quinn Award for Fiction. Winner of The Dermot Healy International Poetry Award in 2016 and highly commended in the Yeats Poetry Competition 2015, her work has also appeared in The Galway Review, Ropes, and After Hours. She is currently working on her first poetry collection. Read her poem

Sue Parker

Sue Parker wrote her first story when she was eight years old. Since then she has won many prizes for her poetry and fiction. She has won four awards from the Kansas Author’s Club, published in Woman's Day magazine, Star Magazine, The Kansas City Star, Shorelines, Grit, Potpourri and numerous literary journals. It is a pleasure to be associated with the ISPS.

René Parks

René Parks is a La Salle county poet and teacher. She has presented her academic work at esteemed venues such as the Midwest Modern Language Association conference and Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society conference. Her scholarship and creative writing focus on themes central to ecofeminism, healing with nature, and folk stories. She received her BA and MA in English from Governors State University in University Park, Illinois and her MFA in poetry from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. Currently, she teaches high school English and runs Kankakee Tea Company with her canine soul twin, Althea, as her constant and best companion. When they are not writing or sipping tea, they practice down-dogs and savasana. René's chapbooks are Holistic Rewilding: Pruning and Folk Magic: Bonemeal. | Read her poems.

Margery Parsons

Margery Parsons lives in Chicago, loves the lake, and along with poetry loves music and film. Much of her poetry lives in the contrast of the beauty of the planet with the terrible conditions most humans on it are forced into, and the hope, the potential to change that. Some of her poems have been published in: Strukturris (Poetry of Ireland), Madness Muse Press, Haiku Universe, Rise Up Review, OccuPoetry, New Verse News, Calliope, Poetry Pacific and Rag Blog, and she is working on a collection of poems. | Read her poems.

Carmen Patterson

Carmen Patterson is a retired native of Southern Illinois. Writing poetry, short stories, crafts, cooking and walking are her passion. Caring for people has been her life commitment both professionally and personally, and she believes what you see is what you get.

John Pawlik

John Pawlik passed away in September, 2013. Read his poems

Cathy Lou Pearson

Cathy Lou Pearson is a native of Downers Grove, Illinois. She is retired from a 28 year career in management with a Fortune 500 company. During her tenure in the corporate arena, business-related writing was the daily norm. Now retired, she enjoys the luxury of more time. This affords her the opportunity to exercise creative expression through poetry. Often times the subject matter for Cathy Lou's poetry stems from memories of a marvelous childhood and her upbringing. Additionally, she draws content from numerous life experiences, observations and a curious imagination. She enjoys domestic and international travel, her yoga practice, the fine arts, interior design, cooking and spending quality time with her many friends. Cathy Lou is a member of the American Daughters of Sweden, the Illinois State Poetry Society, the Rockford Writers' Guild, Free Speech (a speakers bureau) and is a lifetime member of Friends of the Downers Grove Public Library. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree. Read her poems

Marilyn Peretti

Marilyn Peretti was editor of the ISPS newsletter for a couple years when she was a member in early '90s. In the meantime she was active in other poetry circles: Arlington Poetry Project, Arbor Hill Group and Upper Crust writing group. She has attended sessions at the Iowa Writers Festival, a poetry festival in Galway, Ireland, workshops in Wisconsin and a week long workshop at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Her poetry has been published many places including New Verse News, Kyoto Journal, Snowy Egret and Christian Science Monitor. Prizes have come her way with two firsts in an Ann Arbor, Michigan contest. Her books published by Splendid Press, To Love Cranes and Let Wings Take You have been stocked at the Int'l Crane Foundation's (Wis) gift shop. Some poems accompany her paintings and appear in her books with her mushroom paintings. Marilyn is a graduate of Purdue University. She lives in Glen Ellyn, IL, and cherishes the years writing with area poets. More at: and | Read her ISPS poems

Ina Perlmuter

Ina Perlmuter (April 2, 1938 - October 23, 2018) was a member of the ISPS writer's group of Northbrook Library. She wrote poetry which she felt transcended age and origin. She stated, "Though I never went to college and am an atrocious speller, I believe I have a message to get out." Read her poems

Jetara Perry

Jetara Perry is the author of Imperfect Angel: Her Journey to Womanhood and the president of the Imperfect Angels Organization. Jetara’s debut book Imperfect Angel was inspired by true events that Jetara used to create a connection to her readers in this poetically written story. Jetara has been writing, reading and/or performing poetry for over 13 years. Jetara loves writing, reading, traveling and motivating young women. Jetara started her non-profit organization Imperfect Angels in January 2016 to help young women in the Chicagoland areas with college-prep, self-confidence, self-respect, community involvement and much more! You can find Jetara on Twitter & Instagram (@JetaraPerry). Read her poems

Pat Petros

Pat Petros taught second, third, and fourth grades for thirty years, and now has time to write and enjoy sharing her poetry. She has two children and five grandchildren, all of whom have great fun reading "Mo's" (their name for her) poems. Read her poems

Ivan Petryshyn

Ivan Petryshyn started to write poetry at the age of 14, in Ukrainian and Russian. Later – also in Polish, English, Latin and German. He published his poems in the Ivan Franko Drohobych Teachers University/Institute’s newspaper. As a teacher of a secondary school, he wrote poetry and published it in a local district newspaper. When he was a student in Italy, he started to write serious poetry, and the love for the Italian poetry-writing is persisting today, as before. When a Senior Teacher of the Kiev State (National) University of Foreign Languages, he contributed to an article on the Ritual Catholic poetry's metaphoric images to the UNESCO Conference. He started to write Italian poetry at that time. When in the States, he contributed his poetry in English, Italian, Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, Latin, German to different poetic web sites having taken part in poetry Slams (ChicagoPoetry.Com), in the Poetry Café readings with Vittorio Carli and other poets. He is an active member of the ISPS and is writing in the languages mentioned above. Read his poems

Patty Dickson Pieczka

Patty Dickson Pieczka's third book of poetry, Beyond the Moon's White Claw won the 2018 David Martinson — Meadowhawk Prize from Red Dragonfly Press. Her second poetry collection, Painting the Egret's Echso, won the Library of Poetry Book Award for 2012 from the Bitter Oleander Press, and she was the featured poet in their Spring 2014 issue. Other awards include the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest in the Best Sonnet category, various ISPS and NFSPS contests, and the Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Award for 2010. She was nominated for both a Pushcart Prize and an Illinois Arts Council Award. Other books are Lacing Through Time (Bellowing Ark Press, 2011), and a chapbook, Word Paintings, (Snark Publishing, 2002). She has written a novel entitled Find the Raven. Patty graduated from the Creative Writing Program at Southern Illinois University. Writing contributions have appeared in many journals, including Bluestem, Blue Unicorn, The Cape Rock, Crab Orchard Review, Eureka Literary Magazine, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Red Rock Review, Sierra Nevada Review,, and Willow Review. Visit her website at | Read her ISPS poems

Todd Possehl

Todd Possehl is a member of the St. Charles (IL) Writers Group and has been writing since 2000. He started writing short, very short, stories--almost little parables. He gradually moved to poetic forms and started sending them out to the small presses. He's been fortunate to see his work appear in many journals and magazines. When not writing he works as a Senior Account Representative for an educational resource company in St. Charles. His hobbies include listening to music, reading, comparative religion, and learning more about the mysterious craft of poetry. Read his poems

Marcia Pradzinski

Marcia Pradzinski is a Chicago native who writes poetry and memoir. She won first place in the 2010 Evanston Library poetry contest, third place in Highland Park's Poetry Challenge 2010, and an honorable mention in Highland Park's 2010 Funny Poetry Contest. Her poems have also appeared in Nit & Wit, Amanda Blue, Rhino 2008, and Cram 9. Forthcoming issues of Avocet and Quill and Parchment's anthology on motherhood will also feature her work. She teaches ESL to graduate students at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and lives with her husband Patrick Quigley in Skokie, Illinois. Read her poems

Jan Presley

Jan Presley enjoyed twenty-two years of teaching American and British Literature, Film & Lit, and process writing to high school juniors and seniors. She can barely remember a time when she didn't write poetry. Thanks to her mother's clandestine submission of Jan's work, she won first-place poetry prizes from Writer's Digest (1999), from New Orleans' Faulkner House Word and Music Festival (2003), and later from the SIU School of Medicine’s Journal SCOPE. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University. Now in retirement, she has returned to the pull of her own writing-and-submitting process, and she enjoys workshopping with the Southern Chapter of ISPS. Home is with her husband in the beautiful hill country of Southern Illinois where she's working on a chapbook. Read her poems

Donna Pucciani

Donna Pucciani has a Ph.D. in Humanities from NYU and taught English, music and humanities on the high school and college levels for several decades. Her poems have been published on four continents, translated into Italian, Chinese and Japanese, and nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. She has won awards from the Illinois Arts Council, Poets and Patrons of Chicago, Poetry on the Lake, and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. A resident of Chicago, she served for many years as Vice President of the Poets' Club of Chicago and co-edited its anthology, Skylines. Her books of poetry include A Light Dusting of Breath, Hanging Like Hope on the Equinox, To Sip Darjeeling at Dawn, Chasing the Saints, Jumping Off the Train, The Other Side of Thunder, Ghost Garden, and Edges. Her poetry and professional activities are featured on the following sites: and | Read her ISPS poems

John Quinn

John Quinn (passed away in August, 2020) was a resident of Brookfield, Illinois for over thirty years. He had been married to the same patient, long-suffering woman for two score and a couple of years, and they have two grown daughters that lighted his life. He grew up in Chicago and received a B.A. in literature from the University of Notre Dame in 1957. He spent the next 40+ years selling, programming computer software, consulting, managing and training. The thing to understand here is that he had a very short attention span and needed to change jobs a lot. Fortunately, he was with a company that fostered learning, growth and change, so he managed to survive. He retired from corporate America in 2001. He didn't like to garden; carpentry tools frightened him; and his wife didn't like to travel so he spent most of his time writing, reading and writing some more—that is where the patience and long suffering of his wife was put to the test. He dabbled in doggerel, short fiction and self-serving essays for most of his adult life. He never felt the need to publish though he did enter some local poetry contests and had some small successes. He was a past president of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Read his poems

Andrew Rafalski

Writing since college days, Andrew Rafalski has been an editor for a financial newsletter, a published freelance writer, accounting manager, engineer and IT consultant. Currently he is on the staff at the University of Chicago Design and Construction Division. His poetry sometimes reflects the tension and incompatibility between weaving a professional career for material benefit and a literary and philosophical life for the love of it. He has lived in several countries, but spent the majority of his recent years in the US. His poetry has been published in "The Blind Man's Rainbow" and in a chapbook published by Poetry Palace Productions in Concord, New Hampshire. Other credits include humor, inspirational and career articles in several print publications. Read his poems

S.V. Rama Rao

Dr. S.V. Rama Rao was born in India in 1936. He holds a BA (Economics), a Bachelor of Commerce, and a Master's in Art. Commonwealth Fellowship, University of London, England. He lived in London from 1962 to 1969. He taught art in the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. He was Professor of Art at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green. He has exhibited in many countries, including the USA, Europe, and Canada. He exhibited with Picasso, Salvador Dali, Braque, and others. Collection: Museum of Modern Art; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Harvard University, Boston; and many others. The Government of India honored him with "Padma Shri" title (like "Sir" in England). Read his poems

Jenene Ravesloot

Jenene Ravesloot is a poet and an artist. She received her B.A. from Columbia College, has studied drawing, painting, and textile design at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago and interior design at the Harrington College of Design. She has shown her work in many venues in Chicago. Jenene is a member of the Poets' Club of Chicago, the Haiku Society of America, Poets and patrons, and Illinois State Poetry Society. Her poetry has been published in Seeding the Snow, Northeastern Illinois University's Apocalypse 9, the Chicago Quarterly Review, After Hours Issue No. 19, 20-21-22,23, the Haiku Society of America anthology, Rumbunctious Review, the Illinois State Poetry Society Anthology, and other poetry journals. Recently she was one of the winners in the Poetry That Moves contest and has appeared on Wordslingers and Richard Frammeree's UniVerse of Poetry. In 2008 she published her first book of poetry, Loot: Stolen Memories & Tales Out of School" and a jazz CD. She has been a featured poet at The Café, The Loose Leaf Tea Emporium, St. Paul's Cultural Center, Regina's Place, C.J. Laity's Café Ballou, Chicago, Waiting 4 the Bus Collective at Café, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Coffee Chicago, and other Chicago venues. Read her poems

Barbara Cagle Ray

Barbara Cagle Ray resides in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a writer of essays, short stories and poetry. Her writing credits include publication in numerous anthologies and magazines, including Christian Woman, Ideals, Simply Words and Woman's World, to name a few. She also writes for book companies. She has appeared in twenty-seven books published by New Hope Books. She also had her poetry featured on their 2001 and 2002 calendars. Barbara currently writes for many church papers and periodicals, including The World Evangelist and The Voice of Truth International. Her works have been published in more than 120 countries and in several languages. Read her poems

Mark M. Redfearn

Mark M. Redfearn writes Haiku daily. Currently a resident of Southern California, he is anticipating a move to somewhere in Chicagoland in Spring, 2024.

James Reiss

(Passed away on December 2, 2016) In 2016 Spuyten Duyvil published James Reiss’s debut novel, When Yellow Leaves, and his second novel, Façade for a Penny Arcade is to be published in 2017. His work has appeared in such places as The American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Esquire, The Hudson Review, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, Slate, and Virginia Quarterly Review, plus anthologies, textbooks, and websites. His first book, The Breathers (Ecco Press), was nominated for a National Book Award. His fourth book, Ten Thousand Good Mornings (Carnegie Mellon University Press), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as awards from the Academy of American Poets, the College English Association of Ohio, the Ohioana Library Association, the Poetry Society of America, the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York, and the Pushcart Press. More than 300 of his reviews and essays have appeared in leading journals. As Professor Emeritus of English at Miami University, he was Founding Editor of Miami University Press in Oxford, Ohio. His surname rhymes with "peace." | Read his ISPS poems

Khristan Renfro-Stella

Khristan Renfro-Stella, born and raised in the State Capital, Springfield Illinois, knew as a child that she was an "old soul," and perhaps one day she could express the gift through becoming a writer. Throughout her high school years, she found such poets as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Maya Angelou, and the complexities of William Shakespear's to intrigue her as a writer of creative poetry. In 1990 she published several pieces through the International Library of Congress such as "A Change of Color," "The Friendship Room," "Physically she was never raped," and "Sunday's Pain..." She also went on to begin writing feature artices for a bodybuilding publication located in Baraboo, Wisconsin, Mid-West Muscle Magazine. In 1996 she dropped the pen, and continued pursuing her bodybuilding career while doing coursework in nutrition. She graduated in 2001 from Clayton College of Natural Health with a Bachelor of Science. Still longing to pursue her writing dreams, Khristian enrolled at the Children's Institute of Literature, and received a Diploma for Children's Magazine Writing in June of 2009. In April of 2010 she published her first book, Her Blossoming Soul A Spiritual Introspection A Collection of Poetry and Prose. Her book is available at, and Khristian is currently working on several writing projects, one being a book for children and the other her second collection of poetry.

Mary Reynolds

Mary Reynolds is a retiree who taught Latin, English Literature and Composition and English as a Second Language in a north suburban high school for 33 years. After years of teaching primarily college-prep essay writing, Mary is eager to explore the creative power of writing through poetry.

Marjorie Rissman

Marjorie Rissman was born and bred on eastern Long Island, New York. She began writing poetry in college but put it aside when life interrupted her creative endeavors. Recently, with the death of her sister, she has returned to writing and is an active member of Highland Park Poetry. Several of her poems have won awards in their many competitions. She has also been published in East on Central and in A Midnight Snack. Read her poems

Barbara Robinette

Barbara Robinette retired from the University of Illinois at Springfield then moved to northern Arkansas. She loves to read poetry from Wordsworth to Whitman to Williams to the poets of today. She believes a good poem must not only be well written but also have a secret room...another level of meaning beyond the concrete images used to show feeling. She is a co-founder of the Free Verse Poetry Group of Mountain Home, Arkansas and shares her new poems, not only with fellow poets, but also with her husband, two sons and their families, and her dog and three cats. Read her poems

Kathleen Robinson

Kathleen Robinson's professional career included technical writing for many groups in Champaign-Urbana in addition to Brookhaven National Lab in Long Island, N.Y. Her interests included books; decorative arts; classes at Olli, including the poetry writers group; and the Illinois State Poetry Society. She was a proficient gardener at her Green Street home and a member of the Illinois Prairie Hosta Society. She passed away on July 2, 2022. | Read her poems.

Tom Roby

Tom Roby (deceased December 31, 2022) published and performed his poetry in a variety of venues in Chicago, while leading workshops, writing criticism, and winning various competitions. He created The Poetry Wheel, a non-competitive alternative to poetry slams, in which each poet must read in relation to the previous one and state the connection, so that the poets would improvise their selections as the performance wended its way through unplanned creative waters. He was President and critique leader of the Poets' Club of Chicago, and chairperson of their annual sonnet contest. Smoke and Mirror Productions selected his poems about the adventures of George and Judy with Grin Reaper for performances at the Loop Theater in April 2004. Tom was's Poet of the Month for National Poetry Month, April 2006. A member of the National Association for Poetry Therapy, he made presentations based on his chapbook, Griever's Circuit (Fractal Edge Press, 2004), poems on the death of his wife, Mary. He and his multi-instrumentalist son, Lem, comprised Omniphonic, a duo that performed "The Sounds of Poems, the Poetry of Sound." Read his ISPS poems

G. C. Rosenquist

G. C. Rosenquist was born in Chicago in 1966 and moved out to Lake County, Illinois in 1972. He now lives in Lindenhurst, Illinois. He has studied poetry and writing under Paulette Roeske at the College of Lake County in Grayslake and has three novels recently published: The Opening and Closing of the Moon (2001), The Funnel Flyer (2004) and Evermore (2005). He has a book of poetry coming out in the fall of 2006 published by Purple Sky Publishers named G.C. Rosenquist's Super Elastic Traveling Sound Circus. Read his poems

Christine Ross

Christine Ross has lived in Illinois for her entire life--and just about every nook and cranny of Illinois. Currently, she resides in Peoria with her wonderful 8-year-old daughter. She is a licensed attorney and also has a master's in library science. Having worked as an attorney in private practice, an editor for a legal publishing company, and a professional law librarian, she is now enjoying a respite from the rigors of her occupation while trying to decide what she wants to do next. She has been writing since she was 8 years old, having participated in many creative writing workshops over the years as well as writing short stories and poetry for the enjoyment of herself and friends. She has recently submitted several poems to a variety of print and online journals for publication (fingers crossed!), and she is working on her first novel as well.

Mike Ruhland

Mike Ruhland is 71 [as of July, 2019]. He hated poetry in high school. He doesn't remember any poetry terms. But sometimes he feels the need to write outside of the structure of prose. He likes Rumi. Read his poems

David Rush

David Rush's primary writing is plays and musical for theater and therefore much of his poetry is lyrics for songs, which is a poesy of its own sort. Most of his dedicated poetry, however, stems from his experiences as a Civil War Reenactor and part-time Civil War buff. He recently retired from his post as Head of Playwriting at Southern Illinois University. He lives in Murphysboro, IL.

Rick Sadler

Rick Sadler was born in Lafayette, Indiana on July 5, 1955, and grew up in Omaha, Illinois. He graduated from Norris City-Omaha, Enfield High School on May 25, 1974, whereupon he joined the United States Army on June 20, 1974. He served twenty years and retired from active service in 1994, and has traveled to Hawaii, Guam, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. He is divorced with four children. He writes religious poetry, mostly about the Virgin Mary. He became a Catholic in 1996. He currently resides in Harker Heights, Texas. He is a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church. He also teaches religion classes to fourth-graders. His poetry takes on a surreal subject with a message. The Virgin Mary has been the only subject that has really inspired him through the years. Read his poems

Chuck Salmons

Native Columbus resident Chuck Salmons is currently President of the Ohio Poetry Association. His poems have appeared in several journals and anthologies, including Pudding Magazine, Evening Street Review, Olentangy Review, Common Threads, The Fib Review, Red Thread Gold Thread, Everything Stops and Listens, and Appleseeds. He won the 2011 William Redding Memorial Poetry Contest, sponsored by The Poetry Forum of Columbus, and regularly gives readings throughout Ohio. His first chapbook, Stargazer Suite, was released in December 2016 and is available from 11thour Press. Another chapbook, entitled Patch Job, was released by NightBallet Press in July 2017. Chuck loves science, which often influences his poems, and is thrilled about the discoveries of water on Mars and gravitational waves. He works as Editor for the Ohio Geological Survey. Read his poems

Marge Samuel

Marge (Margaret A.) Samuel (Nov. 5, 1925-June 11, 2017), born in Chicago, was a child of the depression. She married at 21 and had 4 girls. She worked as a sales person and sewing operator. She started writing poetry after she was widowed. Marge took a poetry class at College of DuPage. After that she wrote poetry, especially poetry for special occasions. Marge was an avid crafter, and frequently made fleece blankets for people who were ill. She knitted hundreds of scarves, most of which were donated to Christmas Sharing, a project which provided Christmas gifts for needy families. She was also an avid reader. She was a member of the Lisle Chapter of ISPS for a number of years. Read her poems

Marie Samuel

As a retired art teacher with an MFA in painting and exhibiting fiber and mixed media watercolor artist, Marie Samuel enjoys using text in her work. A current eco arts fiber series project is "Inspired by Words" with short quotes by notable writers, activists and statesmen. Also, recent poems and art deal with the Pandemic theme. Read her poems

Ryan K. Sauers

Ryan K. Sauers lives in Wood Dale. He was born and raised in Chicago, so he's lived in the area all his life. He's written poetry as a teen, but never took it seriously. He hadn't written a poem since he was eighteen. He started writing again years ago when he found a writer's group in Bensenville, where he's been going ever since. He hasn't been published, but he does frequent the Oak Park open mic at Unity Temple. He does try to keep active in the writing community, either by attending seminars, open mics, poetry readings or even taking a class when he can at the local community college. Read his poems

Nancy Ann Schaefer

Nancy Ann Schaefer (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen, UK) lived in Europe for nearly twenty years before returning to her Midwestern roots. A retired academic, she now lives in rural Maine with her husband, dog and three cats. Her poems have appeared in a number of anthologies and journals, including Off Channel, Numinous, Avocet, Tipton Poetry Journal, In other Words: Merida, Lake City Lights, Out Loud, Sruggle and The Rockford Review, among others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her first chapbook, In Search of Lode, was published by 918Studio. Thanks for taking a look. Read her poems

Thom Schmidt

Thom Schmidt is currently a resident of Naperville, IL. Originally born in Germany, he and his family have lived in Cincinnati, Atlanta and Naperville. Thom holds degrees from Miami (BA/BA) and Ohio University (MA). He has been writing poetry on and off since high school and has been published by the National Library of Poetry. He is currently working on a non-fiction book chronicling his recent dysfunctional business experiences. In the future he hopes to begin work on a mystery along the lines of Robert B. Parker's writings. Thom is active in the community coaching his daughter's soccer team and is an avid runner and indoor rower. In the past Thom has completed many short- and long-distance races including the Chicago and Atlanta marathons. Read his poems

Steven Schroeder

Steven Schroeder is a poet and philosopher who teaches and writes in Chicago and Shenzhen, China. He grew up in the Texas Panhandle, and his poetry continues to be rooted in the experience of the Plains, which teaches attention to "nothing that is not there" but more especially to "the nothing that is." His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Cresset, Georgetown Review, Halcyon, Karamu, Mid-America Poetry Review, Petroglyph, Poetry East, Rhino, Texas Review, and other literary journals. His collection entitled Revolutionary Patience was published by Virtual Artists Collective in 2004. His most recent collection is Fallen Prose, published by Virtual Artists Collective in 2006. Read his poems

Cara Schuster

Cara Schuster has been a reading and drama middle school teacher for 30 years. She has a great love for all things literary and hopes to one day publish a few of her poems.

Michael Scott

Michael Scott retired in 2021 following a 31-year career as an emergency physician. He loves words and their effect on him. He promised himself to try it when he got the chance. He is seizing that chance now. He is a new writer, not counting the scrap-paper scribbling over the years, and he will see where this leads. | Read his poem.

Irene Sedeora

Irene Sedeora's writing has appeared in The Mid-America Poetry Review, Dust & Fire, The Writer, Parting Gifts, Ampersand, Love Poems for the Media Age, Ripple Effect anthology; Working Hard for the Money, Bottom Dog Press anthology; other publications and online. In addition to writing poetry and short fiction, Sedeora enjoys traveling. She lives in Morton, Illinois. Read her poem

Elizabeth Shack

Elizabeth Shack lives in central Illinois with her spouse, cat, and an expanding collection of gardening tools. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in The MacGuffin, Writers Resist, Daily Science Fiction, cattails, and others. | Read her poem.

Irfanulla Shariff

Irfanulla Shariff has been writing poetry for years. He has great passion for writing inspirational poetry. His work has been published in various poetry magazines and anthologies. His poems were selected to appear in "The Sound of Poetry", a special audio CD and tape collection. He was presented an International Poet of Merit Award by the International Society of Poets in 2002. Irfanulla's poetic influences are Rumi, Robert Frost and Maya Angelou. By profession, he is a Computer Scientist and Telecommunication Engineer. He is married, lives in South Elgin and has three children. Read his poems

Dorothy Bury Shaw

A crushing review of poetry Dorothy Bury Shaw submitted to her high school literary magazine left her cloistered with her writing in secret for many years while she pursued fine art, ultimately graduating from the Chicago Academy of Fine Art. She spent several years as a free-lance editorial illustrator enjoying the special privilege of getting a look at raw manuscripts prior to publication. The author’s hand written corrections were scattered throughout and thrilled her to the bone, while the editor comments often disturbed her. She learned a great deal about the visual and written arts while immersed in an artistic community that was both innovative and necessarily commercial. The awareness that Dorothy was never meant to be an illustrator in this environment came slowly but with an undeniable certainty. And many years would pass, with marriage and family her priority, until 2013 when her life turned at last to creating sacred art and poetry. And what emerged was truly the culmination of a lifetime’s journey, exploring different cultures and religions, from a place of open heart and compassion. At last, her creative roundabout journey had brought her to a place where both visual and written part beautifully intersected.

Richard Shaw

The first time that Richard Ellis Shaw wrote a story and shared it was when he was eight years old. He read his story to the kids in his neighborhood. He started writing poetry in high school and has never stopped. He has published over thirty poems and two short stories in a few online journals. He has been published in the Illinois State Poetry Society Anthology 2014 edition. He is currently working on a book of ten short stories with the completion of a first draft. He has read his poetry in small pubs and a bookstore in Knoxville Tennessee. He has also done some public readings in Illinois at various venues. He is a writer, enjoys photography and dabbles in art. He grew up in Connecticut and Massachusetts and has lived in Illinois for many years. Read his poems

Colette Shelby

Colette Shelby is a resident of Aurora, Illinois, where she lives with her husband Rob, a musician, two teenagers, and a very barky little dog. Colette is currently readying her first collection Departures for publication. Her other interests include acting, gardening, and books, books, and more books. Read her poems

Ruth Siburt

Champaign Urbana Poets member Ruth Siburt is a freelance writer/editor. She regularly contributes book reviews to the Champaign News Gazette and articles for Decatur Magazine. Her poems have appeared in print in Unity, Cicada, Images, The Alchemist Review and National Inquirer. Ruth looks forward to exploring the online literary poetry world.

Keith Skilling

Keith Skilling emigrated to America from England at the age of four as the result of parental kidnapping. He studied Creative Writing and Religion at Pepperdine University where he earned his BA before earning his M.Ed. at DePaul University. Keith is passionate about learning, writing, photography, his family (and two dogs), and being silly. He is a published poet and he worked as an educator for fifteen years. Currently, he volunteers in his community and continues to write. Read his poems

Robert Skrocki

Robert Skrocki is a retired licensed clinical social worker who has found meaning in mindfulness practice and journaling poems. ISPS member Tom Chockley introduced him to haiku recently. Small group sharing is a particular source of inspiration, and Robert helps co-lead groups at Cook County Jail and spiritual companionship circles at his local church.

Terry Slaney

Terry Slaney was born in Chicago and raised in Aurora. While she has been writing both prose and poetry for many years, it has only been relatively recently that she has that she has begun to share her poetry with others. She credits A-Town Poetics, a poetry group based in Aurora, as an excellent source of support. When asked about where she finds inspiration, Terry responds: "Life, the seasons, three years in New York City, twelve years living in Greece (Terry's son, grandson, and daughter-in-law live in Athens), a year in Erfurt, Germany a few years after the wall (with her husband on his Fulbright). I am lucky to have traveled well." Terry has a diverse background as a dancer who taught dance (modern) for many years; her dance credits include Julliard and Connecticut College. She was also a high school social worker, now retired. Her academic accomplishments include a BS from Miami University of Ohio as well as an MSW from Aurora University. | Read her poems.

John E. Slota

John E. Slota is a World War II baby boomer from a working-class family. He was born in Chicago at about the summer solstice (which he thinks is somewhere in the vicinity of Archer and California Ave.). His mother and older sister provided him with much early exposure to the arts which, over the past few years, has begun to express itself. His scientific background (MS Chemistry) and the objectivity it demands is in interesting juxtaposition with some but not all of the elements of his poetic style. Read his poems

Jared Smith

Jared Smith received his BA cum laude and MA in English and American Literature from New York University, studying under poet/critic M.L. Rosenthal, former Library of Congress Adviser Robert Hazel, and New York Quarterly founder William Packard. He is the author of seven collections of poetry, including The Graves Grow Bigger Between Generations (Higganum Hill Books, Higganum, CT, 2008); Where Images Become Imbued With Time (Puddin'head Press, Chicago, 2007); Lake Michigan And Other Poems (Puddin'head Press, Chicago, 2005); Walking The Perimeters Of The Plate Glass Window Factory (Birch Brook Press, New York, 2001); Keeping The Outlaw Alive, (Erie Street Press, Chicago, 1988); Dark Wing (Charred Norton Publications, Camillus, NY, 1984); and Song Of The Blood (The Smith Press, New York, 1983). His poems, essays, and literary criticism have appeared hundreds of times in journals over the past 30 years. His poems have been adapted to modern dance at New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and to stage in Chicago. He is a member of The Advisory Board of The New York Quarterly, Poetry Editor of Trail & Timberline, past president of Poets & Patrons, and a member of The Academy of American Poets. He was the 2006 judge for the Jo-Anne Hirschfield Memorial Poetry Competition in Evanston. He currently is a frequent lecturer and reader at universities, colleges, libraries, and other venues across the country.

Jared served as Associate Director of Institute of Gas Technology and Special Appointee to Argonne National Lab, as well as advising several White House Commissions under the Clinton Administration, and has edited three volumes of applied sciences as well. | Read his ISPS poems

Marthalyn Dale Smith

Marthalyn Dale Smith of Morris, Illinois, was born on February 6, 1951. She was adopted on June 26, 1951 and married on April 8, 1967. She has two children and two grandchildren. She started writing poetry in 1998 when her mother was dying. She published her own book of poetry entitled Feelings as a way to cope with her loss. She has been published many times by the International Society of Poetry and recently won the silver cup award, which was written up in her local daily newspaper. She is very proud to now be a member of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Read her poems

Sherri Smith

Sherri Smith is a full-time employee, wife, pool player and grandmother of nine. She is a member in good standing of Illinois State Poetry Society. She has been published in the Herald and Review, has won an international short story contest, and has been published on several on-line sites, including, and Her chapbooks are available by contacting her at . | Read her poems

Joris Soeding

Joris Soeding's most recent collections of poetry are Forty (Rinky Dink Press, 2019), Home in Nine Moons (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, 2018), and Yellow Shift and Unruly (Black Poppy Review, 2018). He is a 5th grade Language Arts teacher in Chicago, where he resides with his wife, son and daughter.

Joseph J. Solberg

Joseph J. Solberg grew up in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago. He moved to the Bloomington/Normal area in 1982 to take a job with the State's Attorney's office. In 1987, he began his career as a teacher at Illinois State University. He worked there until 2016, and now teaches at Illinois Wesleyan University. He and wife, Patty, have five children and seven grandchildren. He enjoys reading and writing poetry and looks forward to membership in the Society. Read his poems

Sarada Purna Sonty

Born in a hilly town Tirupathy and brought up in a coastal city Visakhapatnam in Southern India, Dr. Sarada Purna Sonty migrated to the United States of America in 1975. She received an undergraduate degree with a science major, a masters degree in literature, and a Doctoral degree in literature. Sonty has contributed significantly to the Language, Literature, and Performing Arts. She is a poet, scholar, published author, and Advocate for the preservation of Arts and cultures of India. Read her poems

Beth Staas

Beth Staas (February 6, 1930 - April 26, 2024) was a coal miner's daughter, the first of her family born in the United States, who lived in a trailer across the tracks (all this is true). After following her husband in a corporate gypsy existence and raising five children, she went back to school, and later taught for some 25 years. Being told she was a "good writer" all her life, she began putting ideas together, finally seeing two books published: The Two Percent Miracle and An Audience of One (both available at Not until some few years back did she begin writing poetry, for she thought it was presumptuous to do so. Since then, she's had several pieces published. She was completing her third book and writing poems whenever the spirit moved her. Follow Beth's website at | Read her ISPS poems

Nancy Staszak

Nancy Staszak is a retired Art teacher, inveterate gardener, hiker, reader, painter, and poet. Peripheral vision delights her—noticing things that might not obviously be considered important, but offer great beauty, meaning, and sometimes incongruity!

Myron L. Stokes

When Myron L. Stokes writes, he announces his existence. When Myron isn’t writing, he’s reading the work of other writers. He studies diligently to polish his craft. Myron listens with his eyes and sees with his ears when he designs a poem. Read his poems

Abby Strasser

Following is Abby Strasser's bio written in first person:
Writing saved my life--really, my suicide note was that good, and the one to the landlord really came off polished and oh, those letters to the editor right on target, got “As” on all my English assignments in high school, pretty good at coming up with t-shirt slogans, and my grocery lists could cause you to swoon. I have also tried poetry, but I would not bet my life on it. Oh, yeah, pertinent facts--from Mankato, MN, 5'2", 100 plus pounds, 35 years old, home-schooling mom, lives with a partner who tells jokes endlessly and a daughter who complains about them. Turn-ons--really good coffee and social justice; turn-offs--really bad coffee, imperialism, and genocide, not necessarily in that order. Read her poems

Jason Sturner

Jason Sturner (Jay Sturner) is a writer, poet, and naturalist from the Chicago suburbs. He is the author of several books of poetry and a collection of short stories. His writing has appeared in such publications as Space and Time Magazine, A Prairie Journal, Spectral Realms, Tales of the Talisman, Star*Line, and Westward Quarterly, among others. He has been nominated twice for the Rhysling Award, and in 2019 one of his poems was featured on a segment of NPR's All Things Considered. In addition to writing, Jay has also worked as a botanist and a professional bird walk leader. Read his poems

Christine Swanberg

Christine Swanberg has published several books of poetry: Tonight on This Late Road (Erie St., 1984), Invisible String (Erie St., 1990), Bread upon the Waters (UW:Whitewater, 1990), Slow Miracle (Lake Shore, 1992), The Tenderness of Memory (Plainview Press, 1995), The Red Lacquer Room (Chiron Press, 2001), Who Walks among the Trees with Charity (Wind Publications), The Alleluia Tree, and Wild Fruition: Sonnets, Spells, and Other Incantations. Her work appears in anthologies such as Knowing Stones: Poems of Exotic Travel, I Am Becoming the Woman I've Wanted, Jane's Stories, Key West: An Anthology, Pride and Joy, and the forthcoming Still Going Strong.

Christine has been an active poet for nearly three decades and has published about 600 poems in about 100 journals such as The Beloit Poetry Journal, Spoon River Quarterly, Amelia, Chiron, Kansas Quarterly, Creative Woman, Earth's Daughters, Mid-America Review, Powatan Review, Midnight Mind, Sow's Ear, Wind, and others.

Awards include a featured reading at Seattle's Frye Museum through PoetsWest, first and second place in Peninsula Pulse, first place in Midwest Poetry Review, second place in Nit and Wit, the Connor Award for Fiction from Northern Illinois University, the YWCA Leader Luncheon Award for the Arts, and the Womanspirit Award from Womanspace. She received a merit scholarship to attend the post-graduate seminar at Vermont College, where she worked with the late Lynda Hull. In addition, several of her poems were selected by the Poetry Center of Chicago for juried readings.

She has edited Korone; Confluence: a Legacy of Rock River Valley; Land Connections: Writers of North Central Illinois, and is currently guest editor for Moon Journal. She founded the Rock River Poetry Contest and has judged many contests including Pen Women and Illinois Emerging Writers. She has been a teacher for over thirty years and has mentored young and adult writers. Recently she taught in the Masters of Interdisciplinary Studies at National-Louis University, and was poet in residence for Midway Village.

Along with poetry, her passions include singing with Womansong Chorale and Mendelssohn Chorale; gardening; swimming; and traveling with Jeffrey, her co-adventurer and husband of 33 years, with whom she has seen much of the world. She strives to lead a somewhat simple life, true to the values of peace and justice. The Swanbergs open their home and guest room to guests of Rockford Urban Ministries and various writers who are visiting the area. She is the first inaugurated Poet Laureate of Rockford, IL.

Now retired from teaching, Christine is completely available for readings, workshops, and talks. She has given workshops at the Flathead Writers' Conference in Montana, A River Runs Through Us in Northern Illinois, Illinois Wesleyan Conference in Bloomington, Illinois, the McHenry Writers' Conference, and numerous word festivals and conferences in Seattle, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Illinois. She has given readings at colleges, in bookstores, coffee houses, and libraries throughout the United States and can be reached by e-mail at | Read her ISPS poems

John Tanner

In late November, 1965 John Tanner was born in southern Illinois, USA. He began writing online in the fall of 2006, an amateur poet, who writes simply when and if the spirit muses. Read his ISPS poem

Jennifer Thiermann

Jennifer Thiermann can’t remember a time when poetry was not part of her life. Her parents had poems or parts of poems memorized that they would often recite as situations triggered them. For her tenth birthday, her mother gave her a thick book she treasures to this day; Favorite Poems Old and New, selected for boys and girls by Helen Ferris. She began memorizing a poem a week. She was fortunate at that same age to have Lucille Nixon come into her Palo Alto school and introduce haiku. She took to it and thereafter always had a few haiku books on her bookshelf. In college she took courses in Chinese Literature and Modern Poetry. She has dabbled in writing poems ever since. Three years ago, she began a serious study of haiku literature and poetry and took writing haiku as a committed practice. She is grateful to be a member of a group of haiku artists that meets at Arlington Heights library once a month to critique members' haiku. Read her poems

James Tosh

James Tosh is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan with a major in History. He taught History/Social Studies in Jr. High for 9 years. He published an autobiography 12 years ago. His book A Baby Boomer's Book of Poems was published by Book Baby in November of 2018 and is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Read his poems

Michelle True

Michelle Ailene True is the author of three poetry books: True Reflections (2004), True Emotions (2005) and True Identities (2005). She edited and contributed to two poetry anthologies: Reflections: An Anthology of Poetry by Members of Poetic License Writers Group (2005) and In Katrina's Wake: An Anthology of Inspirational Poetry (2005). Her first non-fiction book, to be released in fall 2006, is a powerful outline to success for aspiring poets called The Poet's Manual: How to Go From Aspiring Writer to Published Author and Beyond. She hosts an Internet radio talk show called Practical Poetry in which she interviews published poets and others in the poetry community and provides powerful poetry writing, publishing, promotional and other tips for poets. She is the Founder & Director of Poetic License, a monthly poetry writing workshop. She is Founder & Managing Editor of True Poet Magazine. She presents poetry publishing workshops at libraries and literary centers around Chicago. She mentors high school students interested in a writing career. She hosts WriterFest, an annual "meet the author" event including Q&A sessions and booksignings. Read her ISPS poems

John M. Trusty

John Trusty is a life long resident of Illinois, residing in Joliet with his wife of 40 years, and they have three sons and two grandsons. Retired from a 40+ year career in healthcare as a Medical Technologist, he is now focusing on family, writing and restoring furniture. Prior to completing a B.S. in Bio Science from the University of St. Francis, he spend four years in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman in Key West. Writing experience prior to retiring was limited to job related technical manuals, policy and procedures. With the advent of more personal time, writing came to the fore. His first-hand account of all-night partying with the Beatles in Key West in 1965 was recently published in Beatlology magazine. Most writing interests continued mainly in fiction and lyrics (blues). This recent but late-in-life interest in poetry came about at the 2009 AWP meeting in Chicago. He was moved by hearing the poetry of Djelloul Marbrook of NY; a new creative voice was opened by his offerings. The way has been shown; intentions are to pursue the muse. Read his poems

Judith Tullis

Judith Tullis lives in Indian Head Park with her husband, Lee. She has raised three sons and is now enjoying the time she spends learning about life from her six grandchildren. Retired from the secretarial business she owned for years, she found a creative outlet in writing poetry, a combination of the economy of words demanded in business writing (her job) and the rhythm of music (her hobby). She has had several poems published on the internet and is a member of the Brookfield Writers Group, the LaGrange Writers Group, Illinois State Poetry Society and Poets & Patrons of Chicago. Read her poems

Larry Turner

Larry Turner (deceased October 15, 2023), after 26 years as a resident of Naperville and a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory, was living in retirement in Fredericksburg, Virginia. His poems have appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, Kansas Quarterly, and a number of other magazines. His first book of poetry, Stops on the Way to Eden and Beyond, was published by Arbor Hill Press, as were his chapbooks The Girl with Blue-Eyed Parents and Brave New World, as Goofy as the Old One. His most recent chapbook Quantum Waves and Nineveh's Cat was seeking a publisher. He produced a series of televised poetry readings by area poets for cable access television. He was a past president of the Illinois State Poetry Society, and was a member of the Riverside Writers of Fredericksburg and vice-president for Northern Virginia of the Poetry Society of Virginia. Read his poems

Michelle L. W. Utendahl

Morning Star Mikala, a.k.a. Michelle L. W. Utendahl, is a published poet and motivational speaker who began her poetic journey as a young child. While most children were setting up lemonade stands on the corner, Morning Star was selling her poems on laminated plaques as gifts to friends and family in the community. She began her higher academic journey at QCC receiving an A.S. and went on to receive her B.B.A. from Bernard M. Baruch College in 1982. During her college years she joined the campus newspaper and loved to share her writing talent with fellow students and friends and give poetic presentations at different venues in NYC. After graduating she eventually launched "Creative Learning Literacy Programs" for children (a community based program to expose children to poetry writing, rhythm instruments, jamborees, and dance and group play). She also joined forces with a publisher with an initiative to get more literary books into the public school system. In 1998 she received the Ella Streator Award for Distinguished Alumni, an award given each year to alumnus who makes outstanding contributions to the community. She also worked for a short time as Community Liaison for the Mayor's Office in NYC before relocating to Chicago. Morning Star Mikala has been greatly influenced by successful women CEO's like Oprah Winfrey (attended several show as an audience member in Chicago and was able to shake Oprah's hand) and Tyra Banks (currently dating her brother-in-law, John Utendahl). "The only difference between Oprah, Tyra and I is that they got their jump start early and I chose to put my career on hold, raise my children and take advantage of my jump start later in life. It doesn't matter when you jump, just as long as one day you make a move - NOW IS MY TIME!", says Morning Star. Morning Star Mikala is currently returning back out into the community with a new poetic presentation theme called "Poeticity" (a term used by her to help motivate others on ways to find and develop poetic peace). She will focus her poetry workshops at different venues in the community and on college campuses across the United States to promote poeticity as a tool for students to utilize as a coping mechanism to help eliminate the high pressure and intense stress students experience while attending college. For more information on scheduling a poetic presentation, please e-mail Morning Star Mikala at

Beth Copeland Vargo

Beth Copeland Vargo received the 1999 Bright Hill Press National Poetry Book Award for her book, Traveling Through Glass. As a child she lived in Japan, India and the United States, and her poems reflect themes and traditions of both the East and the West. Her poems have been published in Atlanta Review, Carolina Quarterly, The Mid-America Poetry Review, Phoebe, Rhino, and other literary magazines, and have received awards from Arts & Letters, Atlanta Review, New Millenium Writings, Peregrine and Writers Digest. She is a recipient of a 2002 Finalist Award in Poetry from the Illinois Arts Council and 2001 Ethel Fortner Writer and Community Award from St. Andrews Presbyterian College, Laurinburg, North Carolina. Vargo holds an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University. She is employed as a museum curator and freelance writer. Read her poems

Curt Vevang

Curt Vevang is a Chicago native and a semi-retired Industrial Engineer/Systems guy. He has been married to Susan for nearly 50 years. They have 2 daughters, 2 sons-in-law and 6 grandchildren. His hobbies include poetry, woodworking, hiking, computers, crossword puzzles, travel and work. He writes poetry to amuse himself. Hopefully those that read his poems will be thoughtfully amused as well. His poetry is often rhyming, often humorous and sometimes with a message. He loves it when he reads that other would-be poets say they are encouraged to write poetry by their friends. His friends encourage him not to. Read his poems

Doyle Raymond Vines

Doyle Raymond Vines, who died on June 24, 2015 at the age of 67, lived in a small grower's/artist's town in southern Illinois with his lovely wife, Susan, after spending most of his working life in Arizona. Jerome AZ was his chosen hometown. A child of poverty, he grew up working in his father's salvage yard. He received degrees from SIU and ASU in Government/ Public Administration, after which he spent much of his public service life opening medical clinics for the indigent, as Manager for three Arizona Towns, and CAO of the 2000 Central Phoenix Census. A lifelong advocate of whole and natural foods, he owned a popular restaurant near ASU for a decade. He traveled, wrote and performed both spoken word and music, and played poker tournaments. He enjoyed the company of fellow writers, poets and musicians, and was involved in Transpoetic Playground, ISPS, 326 Productions Open Mic and "Howlin at the Moon". His poems have been included in a half dozen anthologies. He was the founder of Facebook's Poet's Post and editor of four poetry anthologies through SouthPass Publications. Previous works, Written Pictures and the acclaimed Winter Soup are available online and on Kindle. Two novels, two books of poetry, a thirty-song CD, and an anthology were written and in the production phase. Read his poems

Barbara Voegeli

Most of Barbara Voegeli's poetry has been written in rhyme for her grandchildren. She took care of them three days a week for eight years and composed snapshots of the things they said and did at various stages of development. They are now eighteen (twin boy and girl) and a sixteen-year-old grandson. Whenever she reads the things she has written about them as they were growing up, it's like hitting the replay button as the experiences and words burst forth in living color. She is a graduate of the Children's Institute of Literature, and several of her pieces, both fiction and nonfiction, have been published. The only poem she has had published was the winner of the haiku challenge in the Project Linus Chicago/Northern Illinois Chapter contest two years ago. She has written a number of haiku and tanka poems and draws inspiration from walks by the Lake Michigan shore and through the outdoor rooms of the Chicago Botanic Garden. Read her poems

Arthur Voellinger

Art Voellinger is a retired journalist with nearly 60 years of experience as a sportswriter, editor and columnist. In addition, he was a high school English teacher and coach for 32 years. A native of Belleville, IL, he graduated from Belleville Cathedral High School in 1959 and later earned a bachelor’s degree in English-Journalism from St. Joseph’s (IN) College in 1963. After teaching and coaching at Whitefish bay, WI, Dominican High School, he taught 30 years at O’Fallon, IL Township High School where he coached wrestling, tennis, soccer and baseball. When not teaching and coaching, Art was the sports editor of the Belleville News-Democrat, an associate editor at The Sporting News, a sports copy editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and a sports writer/columnist for the St. Louis area Suburban Journals. He has written two sports fictions, One Home Run, and Double Play, both published by iUniverse of Bloomington, IN. In 2015, he wrote Verses by Art, published locally for family and friends. Art and his wife, Karen, reside in Belleville and have 2 sons, Robb and Brad, and three daughters, Beth, Sara and Suzanne. Read his poems

Constance Vogel

A graduate of Marquette University and Northeastern Illinois University, Constance Vogel taught high school English and Creative Writing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois. She has published over one hundred fifty poems in journals such as Spoon River Poetry Review, River Oak Review, Rhino, The English Journal, Whetstone, The MacGuffin, Thema, Blue Mesa Review, Blue Unicorn, Willow Rreview, After Hours, ELF, Karamu, Ariel, Jean's Journal, Oyez Review, Margin, Art With Words, Dream Quarterly International, The New York Times, WomenMade Gallery calendar, and on, also in the anthologies Prairie Hearts and Jane's Stories, and a short story in Christmas On the Great Plains (University of Iowa Press). Her poems won first prizes in Rambunctious Review's annual poetry competitions and in Poets & Patrons and National League of American Pen Women contests. She was a finalist in the Poetry Center of Chicago Juried Reading in 2001, and a finalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Award. She won second place in the Joann Hirshfield awards 2004 and was nominated by Skylark for a Pushcart Prize. She is a past president of Poets' Club of Chicago and The Writers. She is the author of a poetry collection, Caged Birds, and a chapbook, The Mulberry. In a review by CJ Laity on she is called "one of Chicago's most daring, honest and talented artists." Her chapbook When the Sun Burns Out will be released in April, 2006. Read her poems

Joan Volkmann

Joan Volkmann is a recently retired university administrator who has long enjoyed an appreciation of all things Japanese. She is a nature lover, an accomplished ikebana artist, a childhood creator of origami, and an aspirational haiku poet. She lives in rural Urbana with her husband and looks forward to immersing herself more fully into the world of haiku through her fellowship with other members.

William Vollrath

William Vollrath was born and raised in central Ohio where he earned his Bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University and his Masters in Journalism from The Ohio State University. After two college degrees, brief stints as a freshman English instructor, gravedigger, real estate appraiser, substitute teacher and bartender, plus some thirty years in advertising and financial services, he began to seriously focus on his poetic expressions. More recently, William retired to beautiful and historic Charlottesville, Virginia. In addition to writing (when the muse chooses to speak to him) William stays busy playing baritone horn in a Charlottesville concert band, taking courses at the University of Virginia, searching for good fishing holes and staying connected with local and state politicians whom seem in need of a little direction. William’s poetry tends to be condensed, but multi-layered, and often contains elements of philosophy, spirituality or humor. He has been published in a variety of journals, anthologies, e-zines and web sites including: The Prairie Light Review, Rockford Review, Highland Park Poetry Muses’ Gallery, Your Daily Poem, Voices on the Wind, Echo, Eye on Life, Live Poets Society, Om Times and an Illinois State Poetry Society anthology. Awards include: Chicago’s Poets and Patrons contest free verse and humorous categories, Highland Park Poetry’s Bus Lines contest and Ohio Poetry Day’s literary figure category. William has helped conduct the state poetry association annual contests in both Illinois and Virginia, and has published two chapbooks of poetry Neon Windows and Make Mine Rare. Read his poems

Undra' Ware Sr.

Undra' Ware Sr. was born in Union City, Tennessee and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He is an Alumnus of DePaul University and Harold Washington College. During his studies, he had the honor and privilege of joining the Golden Key Honor Society and Phi Theta Kappa. He shares his first book of poems, titled The Purpose of Being. It was written to uplift the human spirit whether emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. Read his poems

Cheryl Weber

Cheryl Weber, retired, is an active member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through the University of Illinois, Urbana. In 2018, she rediscovered writing poetry through a class on Writing and Performing poetry. Since then she won third place in the Southern Chapter division of the 2021 ISPS Annual Poetry Contest and in 2022 won third place in the Free Verse division and Honorable Mention in the Southern Chapter division. In 2023 she came in fourth place over all in the Blackberry Peach Spoken Word Competition. Cheryl is also a regular at open mic performances throughout the Champaign/Urbana area. She is a member of the Twin Cities Garden Club where she champions community education and outreach through gardening. She resides in Mahomet, Illinois.

Daniel S. Weinberg

Daniel has been reading poetry at open mics for the last forty years. He has been a librarian/cataloger for the last 19 years in a public library. He uses humor and journalistic methods to make poetry alive. He also makes poetic art. Read his poems

Neil Whitman

Neil Whitman is retired now, and is a casual reader and novice writer of haiku.

Donald Wier

Donald Wier is retired from employment at the State of Illinois and is trying to get one or more of his poems printed in a publication. He wrote three poems between the ages of 10 and 46 which is one poem every 12 years. He feels it may be time to speed things up a bit. He did self-publish a chapbook of 70 poems about 5 years ago. His major thought about writing poetry is that it is done from the subconscious mind. He doesn't sit down to write a poem. Something meaningful either occurs to him out of nowhere or it doesn't. It may sound odd, but he believes it to be true, at least for him.

Gus Wilhelmy

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1935, Gus Wilhelmy grew up on a chicken farm. He later entered a Catholic monastery, became a monk, was ordained, taught in a seminary, and later lectured in two universities.

In the early 70's, Gus co-founded in Chicago one of the nation's largest criminal justice nonprofits, the Safer Foundation, a road back for thousands of offenders in many cities.

Some twenty years later, Gus started a for-profit fundraising corporation to especially assist smaller, struggling nonprofits.

Recently, he spent three years in Russia creating an NGO incubator in Nizhny Novgorod, involving government, business and citizen leaders dealing with Russia's societal needs. While there, Gus spearheaded a nation-wide research project on Russian NGOs under the Eurasia Foundation.

After his return to the States, Gus spent the last thirteen years promoting a widely-accepted outcome measurement tool called "The Logic Model," focused on bringing discernible change into lives.

Simultaneously, he founded the Philanthropy Club of Chicago for 1000's of development officers committed to dealing with the latest trends and changes in the world of philanthropy.

Gus's hobbies include watching his many grandchildren grow up, writing and publishing poetry, and being an avid fisherman. Read his poems

Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams is a 23-year-old resident of Alhambra, IL, about 45 minutes east of St. Louis. Prior to living there, she lived all over the world and the United States as the daughter of an Army officer. She graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2012 with a BA in English Literature and a BA in Theatre Arts. Her Senior Research Honors project in Poetry, titled Rural Queen, was a collected manuscript of poems with a critical preface exploring the experience of living in rural Southern Illinois, and the characters, idiosyncrasies, and traditions of which that living is comprised. Since graduating, Amanda now works as a Library Assistant at Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library in Highland, IL. She is actively writing, reading, and revising with a small group of peers and friends from her writing workshops at Illinois Wesleyan. She recently attended the Kentucky Women Writer's Workshop in Lexington, and she is in the process of preparing and revising for her upcoming MFA Graduate applications. Amanda has a special place in her heart for Early Modern poets, who were her earliest encounters with poetry (barring Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, of course). Her work, particularly her pastoral poems, have a heavy Early Modern influence in both their content and form. Her favorite Renaissance poet is John Donne, and her favorite contemporary American poet is a close tie between Billy Collins and Denise Duhamel. She is very excited to be a new member of the Illinois State Poetry Society!

Court Williams

The Reverend Court Williams received his Bachelor's Degree from Northwestern University in English, with a minor in writing, and his Master of Divinity Degree from Seabury Western Theological Seminary. He is an ordained Priest in the Episcopal Church and has served parishes in Oregon and Illinois, and is currently Rector, or priest in charge, of St. Giles in Northbrook, IL. He enjoys writing poetry, short stories, and one-act plays. | Read his poems.

Syreeta L. Williams

Syreeta L. Williams is an author of three published books: Woman of Words, Black Poet, and her newly released book, Mamie's Sweet Potato Pie. She is an accomplished spoken-word artist, columnist, playwright, dancer, vocalist and actor. She's received numerous awards for her commitment to the arts. As an Illinois resident, she's reached audiences such as Seed Time Harvest Conference, Gospel Rack Showcase, Joyful Ministries, Tacora Rogers Show, The Sound Stage, The Worship Center, Gospel Radio 1390, Chicago State University, Christian Poet Society, Westside Gospel, Liberty Temple Gospel Church, Superior Umbrella Association, and many more. She's been published in Gospel Synergy Magazine, Chicago Defender, The Motif Journal, Windy City Word, Austin Weekly, The Spectator, Chicago Communicator, and Austin Voice. Her literary work can also be found in libraries in Illinois. Read her poems

John Wolf

John Wolf's poetry has appeared in Theology Today, Sufi, Merton Seasonal, Sacred Journey and other spiritual and interfaith publications. He is a freelance technical writer working in the Chicago area technology industry. He is also keenly interested in photography and how images and poems can work together. Read his ISPS poems

Paul J. Wolf

Paul Wolf (deceased in January, 2012) was a retired Clinical Psychologist. He was born and raised in a small city on the Mississippi River. He came to the Chicago Area in 1963. He led a varied life from being a monk, then a soldier, to teaching in the Chicago Public Schools to support himself while studying to become a psychologist. His high school and college education was classical with majors in philosophy and mathematics. Dr. Wolf started writing in his middle years. At the age of 60 he decided to take courses in writing and wrote a number of short stories, none published. He started writing poetry when he was in his mid sixties. He considered his poems musings more than anything else. | Read his ISPS poems

Ruan Wright

British native Ruan Wright has published in a variety of journals, print and online. The title poem of her chapbook, 'thought-fish', published by Moon Journal Press, took first place in the Chicago Poetry Summer competition. She is Chair of the Naperville Writers' Group, Assistant Editor of the Fifth Wednesday Journal, and emcee of a monthly open mic at the Bolingbrook Barnes & Noble. She lives in the south-western suburbs of Chicago, and performs regularly at open mics in the region. Ruan has just completed a 65,000 word fairy tale/fantasy novel for middle-graders and up for which she actively seeks a publisher. Its working title is Toe-rag. Read her poems

David Wu

David Wu joined the Chestnut Community in August 2020. Previously he taught at Trinity Theological College in Singapore. He earned Doctor of Divinity from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. He worked for the Mission Agency of the United Methodist Church in New York for 10 years.

Rita Yager

Rita Yager is a nurse/teacher/photographer who writes about marginalized, at risk, and special needs populations. Poetry is her vehicle for delivering words about things that most people are afraid to admit that they feel, hopes her words give a voice that offers comfort and inclusion. | Read her poems.

Regina Young

Regina Young is married, a mother of five children and five grandchildren. She is the tenth of sixteen children, born to a preacher and a praying mother. She was a very early developer, walking and talking at age six months. Her favorite books to read were the dictionary and the encyclopedias. Her favorite poet is Edgar Allan Poe. She wrote her first poem at age five and has been writing poetry ever since then. At that time, she could not write, but her mother would write the words for her as she made them up. She also plays piano. Her poetry is inspired by her life experiences, her feelings and moods and inspiration that she gets from other people. Lately, she has been writing for other people, who wish to say something to someone in a greeting card format. She has written many poems. Her goal is to someday have a book published. She is almost ready now, but she is a little timid about doing so. Read her poem

Loren Zee

Loren Zee (pen name for April Luo) originally came from China and has lived in central Illinois for over 20 years. Currently, she is a resident of Bloomington, Illinois, married and a devoted mother of two beautiful children. She earned a Masters degree in Economics from Illinois State University and is working in the insurance industry as a software engineer. She writes poems in both Chinese and English languages, and has published numerous poems in prestigious Chinese poetry magazines, newspapers, and online poetry publications. She writes to reflect the nature of life and feelings. In addition to poetry, career, and parenting, she enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. Read her poem