Defining an Illinois poet as one born in Illinois or one who produced a considerable body of significant work while living in the state, this generous volume covers a range of poetic styles and aesthetics, from formalist to avant-garde, jazz-inspired to rural plain-speaking. Some poems reflect a strong regional sensibility; many others have more universal concerns. The editors collaborated closely with the living poets in selecting the pieces included.
From Gwendolyn Brooks's cutting portrait of the "Ladies from the Ladies' Betterment League" to Lisel Mueller's gently sardonic map of the small-town Midwest, Illinois Voices magnifies the fragile threads of human connection. These rich and memorable poems transmit not only the quirky, multifaceted personality of the state but also a human geography that transcends precise location.
"This is a very exciting anthology. The editors have done an impressive job of gathering splendid individual poems as well as fully representing the schools, modes, and tastes of Illinois poetry. Illinois Voices establishes a large sense of cultural history and poetic evolution, presenting not only poetry from Illinois but a microcosm of twentieth-century American poetry."
author of Heresy and the Ideal: On Contemporary Poetry