Illinois State Poetry Society
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Benefactors ($50)
Jocelyn Ajami
Mary Jo Balistreri
Joe Glaser
Chris Holaves
Lee Johnson
Farouk Masud
Jenene Ravesloot
Myron Stokes

Patrons ($30)
David LaRue Alexander
William Carey
Debbie Crawford
Carole Croll
Dan Fitzgerald
Georgiann Foley
Marilyn Giese
John J. Gordon
Larry Hays
Sheila Kirscher
Emma A. Kowalenko
Jim Lambert
Bonnie Leer
Georgina Milsted
Tom Moran
Marilyn Peretti
Kathleen Robinson
Nancy Schaefer
Irfanulla Shariff
Rick Shaw
Ruth Siburt
Keith Skilling
Joe Solberg
Judith Tullis

In Memoriam
Sally Hanson Calhoun
Nancy Jean Carrigan
David Christensen
Don Cornwell
Phillip Egelston
Jonathan Foster, OFM
Patricia Gangas
Chris Holaves
Glenna Holloway
Usha Mahisekar
John Mahoney
Marguerite McClelland
Martha S. Moss
John Pawlik
Ina Perlmuter
James Reiss
Marge Samuel
Doyle Raymond Vines
Paul J. Wolf

Illinois State Poetry Society
New Poems
New Haiga

Search only ISPS site
Welcome to this website for the Illinois State Poetry Society, connecting ISPS members with each other and with the general public. Here you'll find information for and about this group of serious poets. Since June of 2000 we have been posting bimonthly 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 and haiga posted in February 2019 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 website.

Upcoming ISPS Meetings

ISPS News Bulletins

A Message from the ISPS President, January, 2019

by Susan T. Moss, ISPS President

Susan T. Moss

Happy New Year to all of our ISPS members! We are beginning 2019 after many positive accomplishments over the past year. Thank you to those who helped with various projects and to everyone whose membership enriches the collective whole. Let's fill these next twelve months with more poetry and even greater participation in ISPS.

Recently we welcomed Tom Chockley to the board as representative of the haiku chapter. Susan Auld is retiring from her past legacy in this role. Mike Freveletti is the new William Shakespeare email messenger who takes over for Caroline Johnson's many years of service. Also, Kathy Robinson is our next newsletter editor after several busy years in this role by Kathy Cotton. Thank you to all of these contributors.

Perhaps you, like many people, are consciously or unconsciously looking for signs of hope, good cheer and answers to those kinds of questions that can haunt us in the dark of night especially as the new year begins. On a couple of recent walks, my thoughts took a metaphoric turn. A Common Merganser swam by in the local pond and unraveled ripples of water. This moment held a serenity that quickly disappeared as the feathered swimmer continued on its way toward some unknown destination.

On a different outing, a man hop-stepped at a bent right angle along the sidewalk and periodically looked back to see where he had been. Then he continued forward with the same determination. Both these encounters have given me a chance to realign with my surroundings and life.

The exploration, interpretation and writing about individual experiences often form the context and content of our poetry. We carry the messages that influence the work, build bridges to sharing thoughts with others and foment moments of satisfaction and oneness with self and the greater whole. We poets see through a special lens, one that can light pathways to guide our lives and those who wish to share the journey. May this next year be filled with inspiration and new ways of seeing the world around us.

Happy writing,

Susan T. Moss

Archive of Presidents' Messages

"Last Sunday" Poetry Reading, March 31, 2019

Two award-winning Chicago-area poets, Cynthia Gallaher and Wilda Morris, will be featured readers at Brewed Awakening, 19 West Quincy (across from the METRA station), Westmont, on Sunday, March 31, 2019, 12:30-2:00 p.m. Cover charge of $10.00 includes beverage and snack. There will also be an open mic.

Cynthia Gallaher

Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet and playwright, is author of four poetry collections, including Epicurean Ecstasy: More Poems About Food, Drink, Herbs and Spices (The Poetry Box, Portland, 2019), and three chapbooks, including Drenched (Main Street Rag, Charlotte, N.C., 2018), poems about liquids. She made a 10-city book tour with her nonfiction guide & memoir Frugal Poets' Guide to Life: How to Live a Poetic Life, Even If You Aren't a Poet, which won a 2017 National Indie Excellence Award. The Chicago Public Library lists her among its "Top Ten Requested Chicago Poets."

Wilda Morris

Wilda Morris is Workshop Chair of Poets and Patrons and a former president of the Illinois State Poetry Society. For three years she chaired the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Her poems have found homes in numerous anthologies, webzines, and print publications. Her first book of poetry, Szechwan Shrimp and Fortune Cookies: Poems from a Chinese Restaurant was mostly written at the China Chef in Westmont. Her second book of poems, Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby-Dick, celebrating the 200th anniversary of Herman Melville, has just been published. The Unapproved Uncle is looking for a publisher. Her poetry blog at provides a monthly contest for other poets.

Order Distilled Lives, Volume 4, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives, volume 4 "What I love most about this wonderful 4th edition of Distilled Lives is its clarion call to pay thoughtful attention to the world around us and within us. For indeed, as these remarkable poets make clear in these poems, all of life is worthy of such sustained attention and creative response. In these pages, readers will be treated to unfamiliar experiences made viscerally accessible. So too, readers will be moved by fresh perspectives on familiar themes. Spanning a broad range of subject matter, style, and treatment, there are poems in this collection to appeal to every reader." —Arlyn Miller, Senior Editor of Poetic License Press
To Sample and Order at
Order Distilled Lives, Volume 3, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives, volume 3 Distilled Lives, Volume 3, showcases the talented voices of sixty-seven Illinois State Poetry Society member poets who deal in a variety of styles about personal catastrophes and triumphs, grounded by the seasons and values of America’s heartland. Quiet pleasures along with quiet griefs are given the same dose of wit and wisdom honed by the work of those with rolled-up sleeves in overalls as well as those with daily commuter passes in briefcases. This is a collection of powerful human stories lived with uniquely Midwestern ethics.
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Order Distilled Lives, Volume 2, ISPS Poetry Anthology
Distilled Lives vol. 2 Distilled Lives, Volume 2, is a rich and diverse collection of poetry from members of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Represented in the anthology are new word-crafters alongside poets in their nineties who have been writing throughout their lives. There are first-timers as well as Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award nominee James Reiss and the prolific Joan Colby and Jacob Erin-Cilberto, each with more than a dozen volumes to their credit. You will find formal forms, poems with stylized messages, rhymed lines, and prose-poem paragraphs.The lives distilled here offer a panoply of poetic style and individual creativity, a challenging and comforting gift of words offered by eighty-one representatives of ISPS.
To Sample and Order at

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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