John Knoepfle is Professor Emeritus of Literature at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Regarded as a distinguished poet of “place,” he is author of some 18 books of poetry, as well as many prose pieces on a variety of subjects.

Knoepfle served in World War II. He has tape recorded some 50 steamboat men of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. He has taught at Southern Illinois University in East St. Louis, Maryville College, Washington University, St. Louis University and Sangamon State University (now UIS).

Professors John Knoepfle and Marcellus Leonard with poet Kevin Stein

Formerly of Auburn, Illinois, he now lives in Springfield with his wife Peggy. They have four children and four grandchildren.

Awards include Illinois Poet of the Year (1985), the Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contributions to Midwestern Literature (1986) by the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, Michigan State University; 1986 Illinois Author of the Year by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English; the Illinois Center for the Book Literary Heritage Award (1995); Doctor of Humane Letters, Maryville University (1996); Doctor of Humane Letters, Springfield College in Illinois (1999); the WILL Award Signaling Excellence in the Arts (2002), and the President’s Award for Exemplary Achievement in the Literary Arts (2004) by the Poets and Writers Literary Forum, Springfield.

Employees wave goodbye to SSU in June 1995.