"The written word is an important expression of originality, and
this contest is an exciting way for Illinois' young people to
showcase that originality and share their work," Patti Blagojevich
said. "I hope that the poet laureate's own powerful poetry will
provide an example. I'm looking forward to meeting and honoring some
of these writers in a few months."
"As poet laureate, I hope to inspire the next generation of this
state to be creative and to make poetry an accessible art form,"
said Stein. "This contest is a great way to make headway on both of
those goals, and I'm looking forward to our continued partnership
Stein, the fourth poet laureate since the creation of the post in
1936, gives frequent poetry readings around the state and maintains
a website, http://poetlaureate.il.gov, to feature other Illinois
poets, including young people. Coordinating a statewide writing
contest for the youth of the state was one of his initial goals
after being appointed in December 2003. He also serves as the
Caterpillar Professor of English at Bradley University in Peoria.
The first lady chaired the committee that chose Stein as poet
laureate. She will host an awards luncheon for the winners at the
executive mansion. The first-place entries are published in the fall
issue of the Illinois English Bulletin, and Stein plans to post a
selection of the pieces on his website as well. On average, 30
poetry and 30 prose entries win first place each year.
The Illinois Association of Teachers of English, the oldest
English organization in the U.S., is based at the Department of
English of Illinois State University in Normal. The Illinois English
Bulletin is also published there. Membership in the association is
open to any individual interested in English instruction, English
language and literature. Currently, the association has 1,035
[to top of second column in this article]
Only teachers who are members of the association can submit
entries, which should be clear and legible on standard-sized paper
and postmarked by Jan. 31, 2005. Poems are to be no longer than 40
lines, and prose is to have no more than 1,000 words, with no
illustrations. A panel of judges, including the poet laureate, will
read submitted work and choose the winners. Other
be found at http://www.english.ilstu.edu/iate.
First-place honorees will be notified in the spring.
Poetry should be submitted to:
IATE Poetry Contest
Robin L. Murray
Department of English
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Prose should be submitted to:
IATE Prose Contest
Kimberly M. Radek
Division of English, Mathematics, and
Illinois Valley Community College
2578 East 350th Road
Oglesby, IL 61348-1099
[News release from the
Paradise," poems by Kevin Stein]