Illinois State Poetry Society
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Benefactors ($50)
Mary Jo Balistreri
Robert Coté
Joe Glaser
Chris Holaves
John Li
Cathy Lou Pearson
James Reiss
Myron Stokes

Patrons ($30)
David LaRue Alexander
William Carey
Christine Cianciosi
Neil Conlisk
Dan Fitzgerald
Georgiann Foley
Marilyn Giese
John Gordon
Lynne Handy
Larry Hays
Katherine Hutchinson
Sheila Kirscher
Jim Lambert
Bonnie Leer
Tom Moran
Ina Perlmuter
Jenene Ravesloot
Marjorie Rissman
Tom Roby
Nancy Schaefer
Irfanulla Shariff
Richard Shaw
Judith Tullis

In Memoriam
Sally Hanson Calhoun
Nancy Jean Carrigan
David Christensen
Don Cornwell
Patricia Gangas
Chris Holaves
Glenna Holloway
Usha Mahisekar
John Mahoney
Marguerite McClelland
Martha S. Moss
John Pawlik
Doyle Raymond Vines
Paul J. Wolf
New Poems

Search only ISPS site
Welcome to this Web site for the Illinois State Poetry Society, connecting ISPS members with each other and with the general public. Here you'll find information for and about this group of serious poets. Since June of 2000 we have been posting bimonthly editions of poetry written by ISPS members. All ISPS members are invited to submit a poem each two-month period. (How and when to submit) You are invited to read the ISPS member poems posted in June 2016 as well as previous postings.

To join ISPS through June, , please fill out our Membership Form and mail it with a check for $20.00. You don't have to be an Illinois resident to join ISPS, but you do need to be an ISPS member to have your poems posted in this Web site.

Upcoming ISPS Meetings

ISPS News Bulletins

A Message from the President, April, 2016

by Susan T. Moss, ISPS President

Susan T. Moss

Now that April’s Poetry Month has passed, we can review some ISPS events and accomplishments. This year members’ poetry was in fifteen libraries throughout the state along with some of our poetry on free bookmarks. There was a shared reading with artwork at the Lisle library and an interview about ISPS and poetry aired Sunday April 17 on The Arts Section of WDCB 90.9 which can be heard by clicking here. On the topic of celebrating poetry and poets, it is a good time to thank all the board members and webmasters for all their many efforts to keep our society vibrant and constantly growing. Thanks also to all the members who contribute their talents and enthusiasm.

As poets, we frequently seek the next idea for a poem, perhaps in an experimental form. We may discover a reoccurring theme or explore something that motivates us to simply put one foot in front of the other. In March I had the opportunity to hear poet Richard Blanco, who read at President Obama’s second inauguration, read some of his work at Hill-Stead Museum in Connecticut. Before the presentation, I had a conversation with him about his poetry that is often about the theme of seeking “home.” Blanco has lived in many places and claims Cuba and Spain as part of his heritage but now spends his time in Maine and New York City. The rich texture and insightful exploration of his work seek to define and confront what seems to elude his sense of peaceful belonging.

With careful scrutiny of our own poetry, we might be able to find personal motifs that start to take shape through various memories, stories, observations or conversations such as in Richard Blanco’s poetry of longing. Thus, there is often more to our poetry than first appears when randomly read. If we want to better understand ourselves, it is useful to look with an objective eye at our work, and as the artist Wolf Kahn said, we should always “start out with a capacity for enthusiasm.” Then, beyond the deeper transitions and feelings, we might see the possibility of a first or another book starting to coalesce. Whatever our endeavors, it is all good, all worth the effort to pin words on the page and contribute to a global conversation.

Happy writing,

Susan T. Moss

Archive of Presidents' Messages

"Last Sunday" Reading, June 26, 2016

The monthly poetry reading at Brewed Awakening in Westmont will feature the poetry of the late John Mahoney, affectionately known as the Poet Laureate of Brewed Awakening. This memorial event will take place on June 26, from 12:30-2:00 p.m. John’s daughter will bring copies of John’s chapbook for those who do not have copies (those who already have copies are asked to bring them). In celebration of what would have been John’s 99th birthday, there will be poetry games/exercises based in various ways on his poetry. You might even win a prize. At the open mic, participants who have written poems about John will be invited to read them.

The cover charge of $10.00 includes coffee (even cappuccino) and a snack. This event is sponsored by the Illinois State Poetry Society and Brewed Awakening.

John Mahoney of Westmont 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, which he revisited eight times after 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 for 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. He was an active member of the Illinois State Poetry Society for many years, and frequently participated in the monthly readings at Brewed Awakening, where he was feature poet twice.

Order Distilled Lives, Volume 1, ISPS Poetry Anthology

book cover
Seventy-five members of Illinois State Poetry Society have, as their 20th anniversary anthology's title promises, distilled life with its vicissitudes and revelations. Poems weave universal themes in rhyme and free verse while presenting fresh, provocative and sometimes metaphysical insights. Humor, pathos, reverie and existentialism, among other diverse tones, combine in this entertaining and insightful collection.
Sneak Peek
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Order Distilled Lives, Volume 2, ISPS Poetry Anthology

Distilled Lives vol. 2
Distilled Lives, Volume 2, is a rich and diverse collection of poetry from members of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Represented in the anthology are new word-crafters alongside poets in their nineties who have been writing throughout their lives. There are first-timers as well as Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award nominee James Reiss and the prolific Joan Colby and Jacob Erin-Cilberto, each with more than a dozen volumes to their credit. You will find formal forms, poems with stylized messages, rhymed lines, and prose-poem paragraphs.The lives distilled here offer a panoply of poetic style and individual creativity, a challenging and comforting gift of words offered by eighty-one representatives of ISPS.
To Sample and Order at

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