Poets’ Voices

Conversations with writers in, around, or passing through Peoria.


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  • Poets' Voices

    Poets' Voices is a radio show of conversations with writers in, around, and passing through the Peoria, Illinois area. Jim Sullivan, host of the show, teaches English at Illinois Central College. The show is broadcast at 2:00 on Wednesday afternoons and repeated 8:30 Saturday morning on WAZU, 90.7 FM, East Peoria, Illlinois. The station is a community radio station broadcasting from Illinois Central College. My thanks especially to Louis Linder, Jeremy Styninger, and Gary Hale for helping me put the show together.
  • Archives

Archive for March 2011


Justin Shilson, Poet

Sunday, March 13th, 2011
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Justin and I talked about his poetry, his prose, and the influence of David Foster Wallace on his work.  An impressively inventive writer whose work I always enjoy reading, Justin talked with me on 1 March 2011 in an empty classroom at Illinois Central College.

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Elaine Hopkins, Magazine Editor and Journalist

Sunday, March 13th, 2011
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Elaine Hopkins edits Downstate Story, a literary magazine the publishes short fiction by writers mostly from downstate Illinois.  On 24 February 2011, we sat at a table in Panache--an eating, drinking, and music place in Peoria--and talked about her magazine, her blog on local politics and news Peoria Story, and her career as a reporter for the Peoria Journal Star.

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Brooks McDaniel, Poet and Raconteur

Sunday, March 13th, 2011
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Brooks and I talked about his two collections of poetry, Delight Upon Beholding and High Noon Poems, over coffee at Panache, one of my favorite eating and drinking establishments in Peoria.  Besides being a poet, he's a retired professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Illinois Central College, a retired Presbyterian minister with a strong tendency toward Buddhism, a musician, and a notable racconteur.  We had this conversation on 17 Feb. 2011.

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Gordon Petry, Playwright

Friday, March 4th, 2011
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Gordon Petry and I sat at his dining room table and talked about his play writing on the afternoon of 8 February 2011.  He writes fiction too, but this conversation focused on his ten-minute plays - a quite challenging, compressed genre.  I had seen two of his plays in 2010 at Corn Stock Theatre in Peoria - "Clean Sweep" and "No(ah) Complaints" - and Gordon graciously let me read scripts of two others: "BFF" and "Back in the Woods."

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Joe Hajny, Vietnam Veteran and Poet

Friday, March 4th, 2011
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I talked to Vietnam veteran, retired postal worker, and poet Joe Hajny in the kitchen of his house in Washington, Illinois on 27 January 2011.  We talked about his poetry, his activism in veterans' affairs, and his annoiance and Sarah Palin's recent visit to Washington, Illinois.

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Arnitria Shaw, Gothic Novelist

Friday, March 4th, 2011
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This time, I spoke to a novelist, Arnitria Shaw, about her Gothic novel Drexel House.  A ghost, a curse, a creepy mansion: what more could a lover of Gothic novels ask for?  We talked about the incorporation of elements of African American culture and history into the Gothic form.  On 25 January 2011, we sat in Cafe Breve, the coffee shop on the campus of Illinois Central College, so all the voices and clatter you hear in the background is the sound of a busy coffee shop.

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James Pearce, Poet

Friday, March 4th, 2011
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Besides being a poet, James is an immensely talented teacher of philosophy.  We spoke on 7 January 2011 in his apartment in Washington, Illinois.  His poetry is generally tragic--in the finest, most uplifting sense.

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Susan Hillabold on Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Friday, March 4th, 2011
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As a change of pace, instead of talking to a poet, I talked with a literary historian, Susan Hillabold, about one of her favorite writers, Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  On 6 December, 2010, we sat in Susan's office at Illinois Central College, where she teaches English.  Susan talked about Browning's boldness, setting an entirely new precedent: imagine, a woman writing love poems to a man!

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Todd Nelson, Poet, fiction writer, memoirist

Friday, March 4th, 2011
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On 3 Dec. 2010, I talked with Todd Nelson in a lounge area at Illinois Central College, so there are a few people coming and going as we talked.  Besides poetry, Todd has writes fiction and memoir.  He also teaches English at ICC.  He publishes under the monicker TEN (Todd Ernest Nelson).

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Andrew Hall, Performance Poet

Friday, March 4th, 2011
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On 22 Nov. 2010, an unseasonably warm day, I talked about performance poetry with Andy Hall on the patio outsice Illinois Central College's Tech Center.  Andy is a doctoral candidate in English at Illinois State University and an adjunct instructor of English at ICC and at Methodist College of Nursing.

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