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Turquoise columns along a sidewalk in Chicago.

June Workshop


June 17, 2017

1:00-4:00 p.m.

Harold Washington Library, 400 S State Street, Room 3rd Floor-6N 

Beth McDermott will help us explore the potential of ekphrastic poetry poems written in response to other art forms. Poems submitted in advance will be critiqued at the meeting. 

Degas’s The Dance Class, 1874

It’s the ballet master’s elbow we see mirrored in the foremost

casual second position, in the bleachers

where the waiting girls are as sharp-edged as the mirror-frame, poster

frame, doorframe, or crook
of two walls’ shell-colored crown molding.

Unwittingly, these sisters share their evergreen tree shape with

the cityscape. But the student who executes an arabesque or attitude (her leg is hidden under tulle)

knows the suggestion of eĢpaulement is like an antique find or

swath of gild: take, she says, your cue from these walls brushed

a bluish eau-de-nil. This is how to
soften the bones of the thumb,

or the whole handinclined to curl like the rose’s whorl, the one near the base of the music-score stand.

~ Beth McDermott 

Self-Portrait as Bunraku

My puppeteers, they move me well. One part of me trained
for thirty years so she could
control my right arm and head

be my omozukai (read:
oh myself, I). She
is the part of me which is grace
and knows thoughtfulness
comes to my heart when she takes
my hand to my chin. Another part
spent twenty years, and so grasped my left arm. She is called
(read: she is I), and is the one who feels
an arm gesticulating means I’ll empathize.
A third part of me, she started late,
an apprentice and so
controls only my feet.
Her name is
ashizukai (read, I
seize I
) because she still has to learn
even when soles abandon the ground
the body still holds
its shape. They each
control my limbs but wear black veils
so only this puppet is seen.

The final part of me became my voice, my tayu (read: for you) who chanted by the shamisen’s quivering notes. She tells my story and is the only one

who sits exposed,
and gives words their rough ululation.

~ Ariana Nash 

Workshop Leader

Beth McDermott is the author of the chapbook How to Leave a Farmhouse (Porkbelly Press), and is an associate editor with RHINO. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Bayou, Terrain.org, DIAGRAM and Southern Humanities Review. Her reviews appear in American Book Review. She's an Assistant Professor of English at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL


Optional Assignment

You may send one poem for critique, preferably an ekphrastic poem. If possible, email it to wildamorris@ameritech.net with P & P in the subject line. Otherwise mail your poem to Wilda Morris, 499 Falcon Ridge Way, Bolingbrook IL 60440-2242. Deadline: June 5.

Fee: The workshop is free if you do not submit a poem. If you submit a poem for critique, there is a fee of $5 for members; $10 for non-members."

The fee must be paid for each poem submitted, even if you do not attend the meeting because the poems are critiqued in advance (leader feedback will be mailed to you if you are unable to attend the meeting). Please pay at the meeting, if you attend. Otherwise, mail your check made out to Poets & Patrons to the treasurer Beth Staas,1634 Barnsdale Rd. # 105, La Grange Park IL 60526. Membership dues of $20 can be paid at the same time. E- mail questions 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.

If you miss the deadline, email to see if your poem(s) can still be submitted.

Would You Like to Lunch with Other Poets?

Some of the poets gather at Panera, on the Southeast corner of State and Congress, between 11:30 and 1:00 to have lunch or a cup of coffee together before the meeting. You are invited to join us there.



Introduction to Poets & Patrons

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 1725 35th St. #2101
Oak Brook, IL 60523
. The membership form is available from the link 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. 


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 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 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

Write! Chicago Workshop

Future workshops will be posted here.




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. Winners are posted at the bottom of the page.

The Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest

2011 Contest Winners
2012 Contest Winners

2013 Contest Winners
2014 Contest Winners
2015 Contest Winners
2016 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 2016 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.


In Memoriam


In Memoriam

Nancy Carrigan was a Chicago area artist and poet. She saw a deep relationship between the two. In the last decades she wrote, Notes on an Ancient Chinese Flute, which won a grand prize in the Dancing Poetry Competition in San Francisco. The Prize resulted in her going to China as a guest of the Chinese government. In the 80s she merged her interest in art with stage sets and costumes for several ballet troops and was also involved in the Fermi Arts Program.
Glenna Rose (Preston) Holloway (7 Feb 1928-4 Sep 2015), whose husband Robert died in 1997 was a well-known Chicago-area poet, beloved by many. She was the founder of the Illinois State Poetry Society and her work was widely published, even though she had spent her first career in interior design. In addition to poetry, she was a lapidary artist, silversmith, and painter. She also served as Illinois Senior Poet Laureate three times and won the Pushcart Prize (2001), The Milton Doorman award, the Heart Crane Memorial, an Illinois Art’s Council Fellowship (2005), Grand Prize, Founders Award, National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2006), the National League of American Pen Women Biennial (2006). She has one book, Never Far from Water: And Other Love Stories (2009). Her free-lance writing appeared in Chicago newspapers and many magazines.

Margarete Cantrall (8 Apr 1921-19 Oct 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. 

Gertrude Rubin had Chicago roots. She studied at Northeastern Illinois University and received her MFA from the Writers' Program, University of Illinois at Chicago in 1978. She belonged to Women Mobilized for Change in the 1970s, was an activist, and wrote two poetry books:   The Passover Poems, and A Beating of Wings. She belonged to the Poets' Club of Chicago and was president of Poets and Patrons. She had four of her poems on "Dial-A-Poem, Chicago" and was published in a number of anthologies, including the Anthology of Magazine Verse, 1985 and in many journals. In 1986, she won the Grand Prize in the Indiana State Poetry Contest, as well as many other awards. Gert helped organize group readings at Guild, Rizzoli's Bookstore, the Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, and the Chicago Historical Bookworks in Evanston. She performed her own readings in a number of settings. For at least two years, she did a series of readings at local nursing homes and senior citizen centers. For five years, she served as program convenor for disabled adults at the Mayer Kaplan Community Center.

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.


Officers and board members are listed below:


Vice President
Contest Chair
Workshop Chair
Linda Wallin   
Caroline Johnson
Barbara Eaton
Wilda Morris
Caroline Johnson
Beth Staas

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

The 2016 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

The 2015 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

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 2007 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners
The 2006 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

The 2005 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

The 2004 Chicagoland Poetry Contest Award Winners

Last updated 5/27/17.

Comments and questions on this website: Caroline Johnson