News & Contests

Springfield Poets and Writers is happy to announce that its annual teen poetry anthology, Navigating the Maze has been published. Teens from around the U.S., Canada and South Africa have their poems and artwork in the 106 page book. Sponsored by the Vachel Lindsay Association, and guest edited this year by Poet Lisa Higgs, books can be purchased by emailing or online at your favorite bookstore, such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble Booksellers. Cover photograph by Yana Meadows. Enter 2015 NTM.

Enter today! Springfield Poets and Writers is seeking poems and art by teens grades sixth through senior high for its annual poetry anthology, Navigating the Maze. Teens may email their own work or teachers may send us their students' work. One piece of artwork or photograph is selected for the year's cover and others are selected to grace the inside of the book. Deadline is Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Sponsored by the Vachel Lindsay Association.

In 2013 we lost member Mark MacDonald. He will be remembered for his four-letter word readings at Barnes and Noble in the late 90s, for his caring and kind disposition, and his unyielding support of Poets and Writers Literary Forum, Springfield Poets and Writers and Navigating the Maze. He had two chapbooks published, "You" and "Integral Lines." Read more about Mark in this Illinois Times article by Anita Stienstra in the Springfield, Ill. weekly newspaper's annual special edition called Remembering Those We Lost. She also blogged about Mark at her Illinois Times blog, Poetry, Etc. Several of his poems are reprinted there.

Springfield Poets and Writers is working hard on a new anthology with the working title: A Literary Look at Springfield and Beyond. This soft-cover, perfect-bound 80-100 page book will contain poems and essays. Thanks to everyone who submitted their work. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, SPW is happy to support the literary arts in central Illinois and throughout the world. Check back soon for more details. In the meantime, join us in our mission, here.


Member Lola Lucas coordinated another year of reading to children at Barnes and Noble Booksellers during the Springfield School Foundations Bookfair. Normally we dress up in Halloween costumes, both our readers and children in attendance, but the early Oct. date of the fair had everyone donning their street garb. Reading were Lola, Board Member Kat Corrigan and Anita Stienstra. It is always a great program for SPW and helps support our schools.

Lana Wildman wore moon earrings in honor of Vachel.
A small group of poets and their families gathered at the grave of Vachel Lindsay in OaRidge Cemetery on Sunday, Oct. 6 for Dead Poets Remembrance Day, nationally celebrated with other events held throughout the country at the graves of other poets who have died. We were honoring Springfield's most famous poet, Vachel Lindsay who was born and died in Springfield, Ill. Pictured is haiku master and board member Lana Wildman who wore moon earrings in honor of Vachel. Member Anita Stienstra wrote about the event.

What another great program of Poets, Painters and Performers (click to see past work) with the artists of Prairie Art Alliance and local musicians. We created new work from each others works. The reception was Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. There were artist talks, poetry readings and music performed by some of Springfield's best. Click here for more info. The exhibit is on display through Sept. 26.

SEEKING SUBMISSIONS for BOOK - Deadline extended to Aug. 16.
Poems, essays and short stories are now being accepted for publication in Springfield Poets and Writers’ new 2013 anthology with the working title A Literary Look at Springfield and Beyond. Poems, essays and short stories, along with a $10 submission fee to help cover the cost of printing, should be mailed to SPW, P.O. Box 5357, Springfield, IL 62701. Or you can email your submission to (with “submission” in the subject line) and mail the submission fee to the address above. Deadline for entries is August 3, 2013. Subject matters focused on Springfield and central Illinois, including Abraham Lincoln, the city of Springfield, Vachel Lindsay, historical buildings and sites, local history and stories, and local foliage and fauna, are particularly desired and requested.

Individuals may submit three pieces of work total from all possible genres for this soft-cover, perfect-bound 80-100 page book. Poems must be typed and no more than one page in length at 10 font size. Essays and short stories should be typed and double spaced (Times New Roman or Garamond, 10 font size requested) and no longer than 500 words in length. Entries will be judged blindly by a three to six person committee. Each submission must include a cover page with the title of your work(s), name, address, email address and phone number. All poems, essays and short stories should be titled, and if more than one page in length, contain the title and page number on all pages. No pages except the cover page should contain your name or identifying information of its author. Submissions selected to be in the book will receive a copy of the anthology.

Springfield Poets and Writers is celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2013. The nonprofit literary group has been in existence since 1993 serving central Illinois and the world. Its mission is to support the literary arts. The organization also celebrates the 15th year of publication of its youth poetry anthology titled, Navigating the Maze. NTM publishes annually the poems and art of high school students from central Illinois, the U.S., Europe and Canada. The Vachel Lindsay Association has been a proud supporter of the program for several years. For more information email


Hot off the presses, Springfield Poets and Writers, with the help of Adonis Designs Press and the Vachel Lindsay Association, is pleased to announce its 2013 edition of Navigating the Maze. Teens from around the U.S., Canada and England had their poems and art in this year's annual poetry anthology, Deadline for the 2014 edition is Friday, March 1, 2014. Cover photo by Momo Manalag of Florida.


Check out some words and photos from a collaboration between Springfield Poets and Writers
and Prairie Art Alliance. Paintings and poems will be on display at Gallery II on the square in downtown Springfield from now until June 7 when a reception will be held on First Friday from 5-8 p.m. Come out and meet the artists and poets.
Photos from President Hugh Moore
Photos at Anita Stienstra's blog Poetry, Etc.


During the month of April, join Springfield Poets and Writers on Facebook, as we celebrate National Poetry Month. We welcome friends who have liked our page to post one original poem. At the end of the month, all poems posted will be judged by a panel and three winning entries selected. Winners will receive a $20 gift card.

The winners of our NPM Facebook Poetry Contest are:
1. Matthew Brewes, The Falling Rain is a Bob Dylan song
2. Gu Rkkaz, Apples
3. Joe Coffey, Decoration Day

Did we mention that the Springfield Poets and Writers group had an article written about us! We're excited and thankful past the stars because we just don't get much press. Thanks!

In 2012 we lost member Nancy Ganguli. She will be remembered for her gracious demeanor, unyielding support of SPW and NTM and her lovely descriptive poetry. One of Nancy's poems.


Enter today! Springfield Poets and Writers is seeking poems and art by teens grades sixth through senior high for its annual poetry anthology, Navigating the Maze. Teens may email their own work or teachers may send us their students' work. One piece of artwork or photograph is selected for the year's cover and others are selected to grace the inside of the book. Deadline is Friday, March 1, 2013. Sponsored by the Vachel Lindsay Association.

                                            The Birth of Time in Color, Debbie Megginson

We had such a wonderful time with the Sangamon Watercolor Society in November at an evening reception and reading. It was fun to hear the stories and details behind the paintings and to listen to the writer read their work. Click on the title above to see some of the night's works.

The folks at Quiddity have a call in for submissions for a contest devoted to Vachel Lindsay. Springfield area poets only may submit one entry to this contest. It must be original poetry or poetry combined with art. Deadline is October 1, 2012. Winners will be announced and featured at a gala on Nov. 7, 2012. For more information and guidelines email for a copy of the flier.


a wonderful evening we had at this collaboration with Prairie Art Alliance and local musicians.

Please visit Prairie Art Alliance. To read the first round of poems, Springfield Poets and Writers members have their poems posted here.

Thanks to
teens from around the world and from our friends in Illinois
We received some great entries this year and are excited to release the 14th edition of Navigating the Maze.
Buy a copy, or past years' issues, from your favorite online bookstore soon or right now directly from Adonis Designs Press, a small publisher that provides in-kind services to publish the annual teen poetry anthology.

Thanks to artist Guannan Liu of Illinois for our cover art. Thanks to NTM Editor Anita Stienstra who talked last winter with Duotrope about the teen poetry anthology. The Maze Interview

Thanks to our 2011 and 2012 sponsor

Poet, artist, and visionary, Vachel Lindsay was born and lived most of his life in Springfield, Illinois. In 1971 his home was declared a National Historic Landmark. It sits directly south of the Illinois Executive Mansion and is open for tours if you travel to Springfield, Illinois. Visit the Vachel Lindsay Association's website to learn about this 20th century Illinois poet and artist.

Submit your work to Navigating the Maze 2013!

Visit the Vachel Lindsay Association website for information on how to get your name on this special quilt to support the Vachel Lindsay Home State Historic Site. It is a reproduction of one of the Home’s most unique artifacts – a “Signature” or “Album” quilt made for Vachel’s sister, Olive, and her husband, Dr. Paul Wakefield, by Springfield residents in support of the couple’s medical missionary work in China.
Talent from Springfield Poets and Writers and Prairie Art Alliance merged in 2010 and 201 1 for four unique and inspiring evenings at Gallery II (old location and new pictured bottom and right respectively) and H.D. Smith Gallery. Each night included a poetry reading (SPW members selected one PAA juried artist's piece, and created a poem inspired by the painting or sculpture), art presentation, artist introduction, wine and hors d'oeuvres.


Springfield Poets and Writers

This is how it works. Poets and writers view a watercolor exhibit prior to opening day. They select a piece that inspires them to craft a poem or short story. These writings are framed and displayed under the art. The two groups meet for an opening reception. Poems and short stories are shared. Artists talk about their work, and there are refreshments. Following the evening the work is displayed for about a month.

SPW President, Anita Stienstra, reads the City Proclamation for Robert Stuart Fitzgerald Day. Fitzgerald (1910-1985) was raised in Springfield, growing up in his grandmother's home at 215 E. Jackson Street (site of present-day Illinois State Bar Association property). He attended Springfield High School where he was a star quarterback, a member of the debate and Latin clubs, and "editor-in-chief" of the 1928 SHS Capitoline yearbook. Fitzgerald also contributed to the school's literary journal, "The Venture," which attracted the attention of Springfield poet and writer Vachel Lindsay. Lindsay and his wife, Elizabeth, befriended the young scholar, who was a frequent visitor to their home. Fitzgerald graduated from Harvard University. He continued to write poetry, and became an editor and translator, and wrote several books. Fitzgerald was the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard, and in his last year was named consultant in poetry
to the Library of Congress, a position now equivalent to the National Poet Laureate.

2011 edition  of annual anthology published by Springfield Poets and Writers in association with Adonis Designs Press, made possible this year by the support of the Vachel Lindsay Association.
Cover photograph by Peter LaBerge of Connecticut.

Submit your work to Navigating the Maze 2013!