Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John Dickson  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1916 in Chicago, Illinois

Died: July 26, 2009 in Evanston, Illinois

-- John Dickson on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

John Dickson was born on Chicago's North Side. When he was six his family moved to Glencoe, Illinois. He attended New Trier High School. Dickson lived in the Chicago area most of his life.

Biographical and Professional Information

Dickson,a Chicago native, wrote most of his life. After 43 years as a grain broker for the Chicago Board of Trade, John Dickson sold his membership and started writing poetry full-time.Dickson's free-verse poetry reflects Chicago with such subjects as the Aragon Ballroom, Rosehill Cemetery, the Victoria Hotel and the Ravenswood ''L.'' He writes of the Chicago artists and heroes: Isadora Duncan, Glenn Miller, Ronald Colman. His involvement with the poetry community in the Chicago area included membership in the Poetry Club of Chicago, Poets and Patrons and serving as treasurer for Thorntree Press. Dickson was a weekly participant in the New Trier Extension Poetry Lab in Winnetka. He contended that the discipline of attending the class forces him to write a new poem or revise an old one every week. Because more than half of his life was spent in the trading pits, Dickson sought noisy settings such as restaurants to do his writing.Since his first poem appeared in ''Harper's'' magazine in 1968, Dickson was published more than 300 times in more than 40 journals, including the ''Southern Poetry Review'', ''Spoon River Quarterly'' and the prestigious ''Poetry'' magazine. His poetry even appeared on CTA buses. Dickson won several awards in national and international poetry competitions.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Waving at Trains
ISBN: 093939507X

Thorntree Pr. 1986

The Music of Solid Objects
ISBN: 0939395223

Thorntree Press. 1997

a book of poetry that deals biographically with the lives of artists and other creative persons.

Lake Michigan Scrolls
ISBN: 0972433902

The Puddin'head Press. 2002

Some poetry lifts the hairs on your arm, some settles in your soul, some awakens you to the realization that you have been where the poet lived. John Dickson's work does all of this and more. From the riverbed to the Starlight Lounge, John Dickson captures creatures with compassion, sketches humankind with humor, and delineates the pathos of poets seeking the works. John Dickson is published over five hundred poems and short stories in numerous magazines, anthologies and poetry collections. He is one of the best known and most respected poets in Illinois.