"The purpose of this Guild shall be to promote the art of writing and to encourage those who wish to pursue this art." -Rockford Writers' Guild Constitution

 

Get Paid, Get Promoted, Get Published.

 

All members of Rockford Writers' Guild are entitled to be published at least once a year in The Rockford Review. Members are eligible to enter all of our cash writing contests, as will be published in our e-newsletter columns Guildy Pleasures, Why Do I Live Here, and Manuscript Corner. All members may share their literary good news in the e-newsletter, on our Facebook page, and in our monthly Email Blasts. Members may have their books reviewed in The Rockford Review and distributed at our monthly meetings. Rockford Writers' Guild is passionate about promoting, publishing, and paying its members. Join us! We have 170 members from the United States, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Africa. How about you?

Membership or Renewal Options:

Individual Membership
 
Student Membership
 
Family Membership
 
Gift Membership
Who is the membership for?
 

Library Membership

$25.00

 

 

Rockford Writers' Guild's History

In 1947, two years after the end of World War II, the country was shifting gears from the concerns of war. The veterans were beginning to feel more like civilians again, and attention was turning to more pacific pursuits. In Rockford, Illinois, Ann Marshall Wiley founded the Rockford Writers' Guild in the fall of that year. According to the earliest bylaws, the purpose of the Guild was to stimulate good writing in this community through fellowship and workshop activities. Dues were set at $1 per year.

">Prospective members, if they had not yet been published, submitted samples of their writing to the Steward of Admissions, and that officer would make recommendations regarding membership.

Charter members included Evelyn Johanson Boettcher and Vera Nordquist-Rabe who are still members, Howard White who was a long-time good friend of the Guild, and Justina Yankaitis whose daughter-in-law, Mary Lou, is currently a member of the Guild.

The Sampler, an anthology of poetry by the Guild members, was published from the first year, 1947, through 1958. The cover of each issue resembled a traditional needlework sampler. In addition to writing for The Sampler, several members published their own books of writings. Many contributed to columns in the Rockford Register-Republic and to columns in Chicago papers. Members of the Guild read their work monthly on WROK radio station.

The Guild held an annual poetry contest, and the winning pieces were selected to create a hanging exhibit of poetry to be shown at the Burpee Art Gallery or at the Rockford Public Library. Poems were typed in very large print and the pieces were matted. The best poems were selected for The Sampler.

Poetry round-table workshop sessions were held by the Guild weekly at the Rockford Public Library. Prose round table workshops were held monthly and were not for the faint-hearted. One began at 2:30 p.m. and continued after dinner from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Members also served as judges for high school student writing contests.

Howard White published monthly newsletters, except during the summer. They included writings from members, contests announcements, announcements of members' accomplishments, news about members, the market, etc.

The Guild was reorganized in the 1960s. Many of the same people who were originally active  held again critique groups, workshops, and social events. The Sampler was reborn as The Rockford Review. The format was changed from 4" x 6" to 8" x 11" and included prose, photographs, and drawings as well as poetry. The covers featured photographs or art work. Volumes appeared in 1971, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1986, and 1988. Volume VII attracted national attention and was featured in that year's Poets Market. With Volume VIII in 1989, the Guild committed itself to publishing the Review annually. The format was changed to 5" x 8" and it was perfectly bound.

In 1991, The Tributary, usually 24 pages, appeared three times a year for three years in addition to the larger Review, allowing the Guild to publish more writers. Then in 1994, the commitment was made to fold the The Tributary into The Rockford Review to become a tri-quarterly literary magazine with stitched binding. The spring issue of the Review was reserved for the works of members only who submit their best unpublished piece, and publication was guaranteed.

Selections were made from hundreds of submissions from the United States and other countries. One of the issues of The Rockford Review contained poetry and prose from 34 writers from 17 states and from Scotland! 

PART TWO: ROCKFORD WRITERS' GUILD HISTORY

In recent years, the Guild has updated its mission. The Rockford Review is now published twice a year in perfect-bound format of 100-plus pages. The summer edition is reserved for 160 global members who are entitled to guaranteed publication. The winter volume is open to international submissions from non-members and members alike from which an editorial board selects prose and poetry for publication.

The Guild has also added a book publishing benefit called RWG Press. Members may publish their collections at discounted prices with a $250 annual prize as an incentive. Several other seasonal contests - with cash awards - have been incorporated into the Guild's mission to encourage members to start or to keep writing on a regular basis.

On the third Sunday of each month, the Guild meets to share a potluck lunch and to celebrate the literary arts. Each session features a guest speaker who has expertise on a particular theme. Based on that educational presentation, members then participate in an interactive writing experience and read their prose or poetry for fun and prizes.

Monthly meetings have evolved to include participation by the Junior Guild. They are the children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren who attend meetings to hone their writing skills as part of the Guild's youth outreach initiative. Other objectives include offering community-wide opportunities for school age youngsters near and far.

Meanwhile, the Guild's lively newsletter Write Away, updated web site and timely email network offer members the latest available information. In short, times have changed since 1947. And so has the Guild. 

 
 
Executive Board

 

President and Editor
Vice President of Events
Treasurer
Recording Secretary
Youth Director
Email Director
Webmaster

Connie Kuntz
James Marshall, Ph. D
David Ross
Jennifer Rea, Ph. D
Lori Marshall
Wilda Morris
Jesse Kuntz