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.

Please visit the Illinois Poet Laureate website to view past Featured Poets.

Bruce Guernsey

Guernsey Photo

Bruce Guernsey is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Eastern Illinois University where he taught Creative Writing and 19th Century American Literature for twenty-five years.  He has also taught at William and Mary, Johns Hopkins, and Virginia Wesleyan where he was Poet in Residence for four years.  He was awarded seven faculty excellence awards for teaching at Eastern Illinois, and in 1992-93, was selected as the State of Illinois Board of Governors’ “Professor of the Year,” the highest award in that state system.  He has also been the recipient of two Senior Fulbright Lectureships in American Poetry to Portugal and to Greece and has  twice sailed around the world as a faculty member with Semester at Sea. 

His poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, The American Scholar, and many of the quarterlies and among his awards are fellowships in creative writing from the NEA, four from the Illinois Arts, and the NEA Residency Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony. Five of his poems have been featured in Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry.”  He is a former editor of The Spoon River Poetry Review.

The author of thirteen collections of poetry, his most recent book is FROM RAIN: Poems, 1970-2010 (Ecco Qua Press, 2012).   He also recently edited Mapping the Line: Poets on Teaching, a collection of class-tested exercises, written and used by some of the country’s best poet/teachers.

Audio/Text Poems

  • Introduction
  • "Distance"
  • "October"
  • "Maps"
  • "The Lost Brigade"
  • "Images of War"
  • "Timetable"

Special Notes:

  • Poetic Nature - Central Illinois poet Bruce Guernsey explores the mysteries and marvels of a Midwestern harvest in October. For a video interview with the poet and his recitation of this poem, please click HERE.

Poet's Forum:

  • Bruce Guernsey's "The Blessed Mutter of the Muse," originally published in Dappled Things in Spring/Summer 20012, may be read in its entirety by clicking HERE.