The Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets – Our History

1950: The Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets meets for the first time at the Memorial Union in Madison on April 23; its newsletter is named “Muse Letter.”

1953: WFOP begins promoting student poetry contests.

1956: Northern Spring, the first WFOP anthology, is published.

1960: WFOP becomes a charter member of the National Fellowship of State Poetry Societies, and has contributed several national officers to NFSPS.

1961: Our second anthology, Poems out of Wisconsin II, is published.

1967: WFOP is awarded a grant by the Wisconsin Arts Foundation and Council to publish a five-year anthology, Poems out of Wisconsin III.

1969: August Derleth edits the anthology New Poetry out of Wisconsin.

1972: WFOP receives a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board and the NEA to publish its magazine “Hawk and Whippoorwill Recalled.”

1975: Silver Anniversary conference in Wausau; pilot poetry programs in the schools and prisons are in place.

1977: WFOP becomes tax-exempt.

1980: A grant is awarded by the Wisconsin Arts Board for Poems out of Wisconsin V.

1985: WFOP receives from the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters the Citation, its highest award.

1986: WFOP assumes publication of the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar.

1997: Grant from the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Commission for the Sesquicentennial poetry contest; Poetry Page added to “Muse Letter.”

1999: Wisconsin Poet Laureate project initiated.

2000: 50th Anniversary conference in Green Lake; Muse Prize is the first poetry award made by the WFOP Literary Fund; Ellen Kort named Wisconsin’s first Poet Laureate.

2004: Denise Sweet named Wisconsin’s second Poet Laureate.