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Supporting Poetry in Chicagoland for 61 Years!

Winners In Memoriam History Officers Poetry


Poets & Patrons is a group of poets who encourage others to write and appreciate poetry. We meet in workshops four times a year and have started a series of meetings called Write! Chicago, where poets gather in a specific Chicago location and write afterwards.

Just a reminder to members: The fiscal year for Poets and Patrons is January 1-December 31, so it is time to pay your dues. Please send your check made out to Poets and Patrons to our treasurer, Beth Staas, at 1634 Barnsdale Rd. #105, La Grange Park, IL  60526.  More information is on our website listed above.

Looking to join us online?  Poets and Patrons is on Facebook; please "like" us if you want to stay current on our events.  We also have a blog at http://poetsandpatrons.blogspot.com/, and a website, of course, here at www.poetsandpatrons.net.  Thanks to our webmaster Linda Wallin, we are now in the 21st century!

Dear Poets,
I'm excited to tell you about the Printers Row Lit Fest, held this year the weekend of June 6 - 7 in the Loop.  Eleven poets from P&P will be featured in a reading on Saturday, June 6, from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m.  The Lit Fest is located along Dearborn Street, between Congress and Polk.  Here is a description of the event:

Dancing with Shadows:  Eleven Chicagoland Poets Share Their Words
Carl Sandburg once said, “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”  Join us as area poets from Poets and Patrons read their “dancing shadows.”  From poems about fertility, dreams, cats and bunions, to Chicago poems that highlight Lake Michigan and the city’s art, you will be sure to come away with some thought provoking echoes of your own, or perhaps just a smile.
The poets who will be featured are Bakul Banerjee, Charlotte DiGregorio, Maureen Tolman Flannery, Caroline Johnson, Itala Langmar, James Merrill, Wilda Morris, Donna Pucciani, James Reiss, Tom Roby, and Jenene Ravesloot.
In addition, P&P is sharing a table with the Illinois State Poetry Society on both days.  We will be distributing literature about both organizations and their contests.  Stop by and say hello!
We hope to see you in the month of June!
Caroline Johnson, President
Poets and Patrons of Chicago



Turquoise columns along a sidewalk in Chicago.

Each year, Poets & Patrons hosts four workshops, led by established poets, editors, and teachers from Illinois and surrounding states. The workshops are designed to increase skill in writing both traditional and non-traditional poetry. Unless otherwise noted, the workshops will be at in room 6-N on the third floor of the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State Street, Chicago, Illinois. Workshop participants are invited to join us for an optional lunch at the Panera at 501 State Street before each workshop at 1:00 PM in order to enjoy each others' company and talk about poetry generally. Members of Poets & Patrons who have published books are invited to display them for sale at any of our workshops and/or at the reading of the winning poems from the Chicagoland Poetry Contest.

Future Workshops


June 27, 2015 - POETS AND PATRONS CRITIQUING WORKSHOP: Writing From the Soul

Leader for this workshop is Judith Valente.

How can we write about what we deem sacred, what inspires us spiritually or carves doubt into our spirit without it sounding saccharin, sentimental or overly religious? We will focus on how writers from Billy Collins and Mary Oliver to Thomas Merton and Tennessee Williams have managed to write from the soul and help us uncover the sacred in the daily, and critique poems submitted in advance (see below).

Judith Valente is an on air correspondent for national PBS-TV and senior correspondent at the NPR affiliate WGLT-Radio. She is the author of Inventing An Alphabet, selected by Mary Oliver for the 2005 Aldrich Poetry Prize, and Discovering Moons. Her most recent books include Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith,” named by Religion Newswriters Association as one of the three best spirituality books of 2014, and co-author of The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed, winner of a Catholic Press Association Book Award.

The optional assignment for June meeting is to write a spiritual poem. The poem can be free or formal verse. Poems submitted in advance will be critiqued at the meeting, if the author is present.

You may mail your poem(s) to Wilda Morris, 499 Falcon Ridge Way, Bolingbrook IL 60440, by June 5, or (preferably) email them to wildamorris@ameritech.net by June 8 (put P & P in the subject line). If mailing, send a check for $5 per poem submitted ($10 for non-members), made out to Poets & Patrons. (Non-members may attend a couple of meetings before deciding to join. Or send $20 for 2014 membership and $5 with a poem for critique). If you email your poem(s) pay at the workshop. E-mail questions (or late poems) to Wilda. If you do not get a reply to an e-mailed poem, call Wilda at 630/739-2983 to be sure your poem was received. You may send a maximum of two poems for critique; the fee must be paid for each poem submitted.


For 2015, we have planned the following workshops:

August 22, 2015; Debra Bruce and Andrea Witzke Slot will lead a workshop on use of meter,

October 24;  Reading of Winning Poems from the 59th Annual Poets and Patrons Contest and a workshop led by Pamela  Larson, "Writing Games to Awaken Your Muse."

Chicagoland Poetry Contest 

The Chicagoland Poetry Contest is one of the longest-running literary traditions in Chicago. This competition allows both members and non-members to compete in various categories. First, second, and third place contest winners will receive their awards by mail this year. A $10.00 entry fee is required of all entrants. Poetry editors and teachers from across the nation are selected each year to judge all entrants anonymously.

The Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest

The Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest is sponsored by her two dauthers.
2011 Contest Winners
2012 Contest Winners
2013 Contest Winners
2014 Contest Winners

Book Publications by Members

We are pleased to provide a partial listing of book publications by our Members. We have also tried to indicate which books are still available and where you can obtain a copy. We hope to continually expand and promote this list as Members contact us with additional information. Click on the above link to learn more.


Our members are a diverse group, comprised of writers from widely varying backgrounds and ages. What unites us is a deep appreciation for poetry. In order to facilitate an open and non-exclusive environment, we keep our membership fees at a very reasonable level.

Membership entitles poets to hone their skills through interaction with like-minded people in both formal and informal sessions, including four workshops per year, notice of the annual Chicagoland Poetry Contest.

For further information, please contact us by sending a request for Membership to Beth Staas, Beth@staas.com. If you would like to join us, please fill out the following form: Membership Form. The cost of membership for 2015 is $20.

A Brief History


Poets & Patrons evolved from common desire to promote a meeting ground for poets and poet enthusiasts in the Chicago area. The Midwest Writers Conference previously filled the need with meetings and contests, but folded in the mid 1940s. Another poetry group, Poets Club of Chicago, was founded in 1936 by a group of high school teachers. Admission to Poets Club was by invitation and submission of poets' work. Members paid modest fees, held workshops and discussion sessions and shared a mutual love of poetry. At one point, Poets Club president Isabelle Gillespie Young, proposed a new club that would be open to all.

By 1954, Poets & Patrons was established. It was set up as a non-profit outreach group for poets who wished to receive professional criticism, with four workshops a year, held on the fourth Saturday in February, April, June and August. In 1956, Poets & Patrons created a Chicagoland Poetry Contest, open to all in the area. At one point there were 22 categories with awards and cash prizes.

Finding suitable meeting places was always a challenge for the group - libraries, a bank, the Cultural Center, Carson, Pirie, Scott - were discovered. Among the early meeting rooms was an unforgettable one offered by one of the group's founders, Anne Nolan. In the early 1950s, she offered space in the inner offices of her family's business, the Nolan Boiler and Tank Service. Members dubbed the group the Poetry Forge and Anne was the registered agent for 31 years. She was a highly skilled poet, as were her husband Clifford and her three sons. Her death in October 2006 greatly saddened Poets & Patrons members.

Sincere thanks and gratitude go to all members who have helped the group survive and flourish since 1954. The Court of awards held in 2006 marked the 50th celebration of The Chicagoland Poetry Contest. This event has become so important to this area's finest poets.

Officers and board members are listed below:


Vice President
Contest Chair
Workshop Chair
Treasurer Member-at-Large
Caroline Johnson
Linda Wallin
Barbara Eaton
Wilda Morris
Linda Wallin
Beth Staas Deborah Rohde

Links to other organizations

Chicago Poetry Blog
Haiku Society of America

Illinois State Poetry Society

Jupiter Blog

Naperville Writers' Group

Wallin's Wave

Wilda Morris' Poetry Challenge

Whisper From the Heart

Windy City Writers


The 2014 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

The 2013 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

The 2012 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

 The 2011 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

 The 2010 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

The 2009 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners
The 2008 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

The 2005 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners


The 2004 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners


Last updated 4/22/15.
Comments and questions on this website: lwallin at dwna.net