History of the Mad Poets

The Mad Poets Society began in 1987, and has grown from humble roots and a handful of poets at Media Borough Hall in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Media poet Beth Phillips Brown, founded a group known as the Delaware County Poets Cooperative and ran the group for approximately 8 months.  In late 1987, following the first "Food for Thought" Poetry Festival, Eileen D’Angelo took the helm and ran the organization with the dedicated assistance of fellow poets Janet Sadler and Cathy Celley until 1994.  Eileen D'Angelo directed the organization from that time, changed the name to the Mad Poets Society, and registered the group as an IRS tax-exempt 501c3 regional arts organization, which has received grants and funding from the PA Council on the Arts, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and other state and county funders. The creative and charming Mad Poets Society logo was created by renowned artist, William Hildebrandt, in 1988.  The group continues under the sole direction of D'Angelo, and a working board of advisors; and today, with more than 100 members in six states, it is an organization of poets and writers who have joined together for camaraderie and critique with heart, to celebrate the creative soul and to promote the literary arts.

Among our goals is the desire to bring poetry and the appreciation of the spoken word to surrounding communities, and to foster a supportive, nurturing atmosphere to promote individual growth.

We offer an outlet for artistic energy and interests other than the workday world, and offer opportunities and forums for new poets to express themselves in an encouraging atmosphere. We come from all walks of life: our members are teachers, brick-layers, lawyers, construction workers, secretaries, accountants, everyone with common link: the love of words.

Mad Poets are students and senior citizens, at all levels of accomplishment, from those just finding and developing their poetic voice to published award- winning poets. It is a warm group of friends sharing a love of festivals; We have presented readings at the opening of I-476, the “Blue Route’s Tour deBlue” Celebration, at the courthouse steps for several consecutive Veteran’s Day celebrations, secured a Proclamation from former Media Mayor Frank Daly proclaiming March as poetry month in Media, to name a few past events.

For decades, our quarterly newsletters about the poetry scene offered the most comprehensive listing of poetry events available anywhere. To save the environment, Constant Contact emails now zing our poetry announcements around.

The Mad Poets Society publishes a literary journalThe Mad Poets Review, in fall. You need not be a member to submit work. The Mad Poets Review has been listed since 1995 in the Poet’s Market, a comprehensive reference book for literary journals and magazines. Volume 19 included the work of Gerald Stern, Ann Micheal, BZ Niditch, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Lamont Steptoe and others; Volume 18 included the work of former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, and other noted locally and nationally known poets; Vol. 17 features Elaine Terranova, Molly Russakoff, Naomi Shihab Nye, Louis McKee, Greg Djanikian, Nathalie Anderson, Alicia Askenase, Leonard Gontarek, Robert Zaller & others.

Over the years, we have coordinated special events and exchange readings with other groups including Poets and Prophets, Penn’s Landing Corporation, Delaware County Artists Guild, Wallingford Art Center, Forum for the Arts in New Hope, The Philadelphia Poetry Forum, George’s 5th Street Cafe, Cafe Santa Maria, Quarry St. Cafe, South Street Arts Festival, “Welcome America”, Philly’s 4th of July Celebration, Godfrey Daniels Coffeehouse, Manayunk Art Center, Main Line Art Center, Future Music Studios, Minority Business Focus, The Rusty Nail and The Poet’s Den, to name a few.

Mad Poets Society quarterly business/social meetings are held between 7 to 9 p.m. The first hour covers treasury info, project info, planning, fundraising and club business; the second hour is for reading original poetry, critique (if desired) and socializing and camaraderie. (Prospective members may attend one meeting, meetings are for members only). Please call if you are attending a meeting, if you are not a member, in case of last minute changes or cancellations.