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Featured Poet

Featured Illinois Poet

Although this website's objective is simply to promote the art of poetry, its special focus is the rich bounty of work created by our state's poets past and present. Through features on the work of Illinois poets, the site will highlight the poetic legacy of Illinois and showcase the bevy of fine poets currently writing within the state.

Biographical Note

John Knoepfle

John Knoepfle is Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is author of some 17 books of poetry, as well as many prose pieces on a variety of subjects. Knoepfle served in World War II. He has tape recorded some 50 steamboat men of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. He has taught at Southern Illinois University in East St. Louis, Maryville College, Washington University, St. Louis University and Sangamon State University (now UIS). Formerly of Auburn, Illinois, he now lives in Springfield with his wife Peggy. They have four children.

Awards include the Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literature (1986) by the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, Michigan State University; 1986 Illinois Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English; the Illinois Center for the Book Literary Heritage Award (1995); Doctor of Humane Letters, Maryville University (1996); Doctor of Humane Letters, Springfield College in Illinois (1999); the WILL Award Signaling Excellence in the Arts (2002), and the President's Award for Exemplary Achievement in the Literary Arts (2004) by the Poets and Writers Literary Forum, Springfield.


  • Rivers into Islands, University of Chicago Press, 1965.
  • dogs and cats and things like that. McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1971.
  • our street feels good. McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972.
  • Thinking of Offerings, Juniper Press, 1975.
  • A Box of Sandalwood: Love Poems, Juniper Press, 1979.
  • Selected Poems. BkMk Press, 1985.
  • Poems from the Sangamon, University of Illinois Press, 1985.
  • Begging an Amnesty, Druid Press, 1994.
  • The Chinkapin Oak, Rosehill Press, 1995.
  • The One Instant and Forever, Illinois Wesleyan University, 2001.
  • Prayer Against Famine and Other Irish Poems, BkMk Press, University of Missouri at Kansas City, 2003.


  • Twenty Poems of Cesar Vallejo, with Robert Bly and James Wright, The Sixties Press, 1961. Reprinted in Neruda and Vallejo, Beacon Press, 1971 and 1993.
  • Tang Dynasty Poems and Song Dynasty Poems, with Wang Shouyi of Heilonhjiang University, Harbin, China, Spoon River Poetry Press, both in 1985.

John Knoepfle's Poems

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