Jane Ellen Ibur


Saint Louis, MO
Missouri US

Author's Bio




Jane Ellen Ibur, Poet Laureate of St. Louis, is an established arts educator who has received a Visionary Award for Outstanding Arts Educator; recognized as a Warrior Poet from Word in Motion; is the recipient of two awards from the Missouri Scholar’s Academy, and A World of Difference Award from the Anti-Defamation League.  She was honored with an Author Recognition Award by the Missouri Center for the Book.  Her poetry, published in literary journals and anthologies since 1972, has garnered numerous additional awards.  She received The Loretto Award for Service to Humanity and Social Justice from her alma mater, Webster University, and was awarded the 2019 Outstanding Alumna Award from that same University.  She was also chosen to speak at Webster’s 100th graduating class for their School of Arts & Sciences program.

For 40 years, Jane Ellen has taught poetry in nontraditional settings to an age range from kindergarten to 93 years old, from gifted students to Alzheimer’s patients.  For 29 years she taught a writing class on the maximum security floor of the St. Louis county jail with men.  For a decade, she taught homeless men at St. Peter and Paul’s “CollabARTive” program where she created a performance piece, Footsteps from the Margins, adapted from and inspired by the men’s writing. For 20 years, Ibur taught workshops with middle and high school students.

Jane Ellen is the founding teaching artist for the Community Arts Training (CAT) institute whose mission is to join artists and community activists to empower communities.  CAT believes art is a powerful agent for social change and CAT is the oldest institute of this kind in the country.

For 19 years, she co-produced/co-hosted Literature for the Halibut on St. Louis community radio.  Jane Ellen is the literary editor of Blindness Isn’t Black, an anthology by Missouri writers and artists with disabilities, published by VSA of Missouri. 

Jane Ellen Ibur is the author of both wings flappin’, still not flyin’  and The Little Mrs./Misses. She is currently working on two new volumes of poems, as yet untitled. One is a collaborative effort with a former student who is currently incarcerated. The other is based on her recent struggles overcoming cancer.  

Please visit Jane Ellen Ibur on Wikipedia for more information.

Partial quotes from critics on both wings flappin’ and The Little Mrs./Misses are as follows:

On both wings flappin’, still not flyin’:

“…in this evocative narrative of kinship blooming over the borders of a divided city, Ibur performs painful, beautiful, necessary work.” -  Jabari Asim, Author, A Taste of Honey

Of The Little Mrs./Misses:

“Welcome to Jane Ibur’s world of women reclaimed…with refreshing panache and aplomb this poet suggests that their lives are no small things.” – David Clewall, Poet Laureate of Missouri (2010-2012)



Publications & Prizes

Take Me Out: Song of the Mississippi (Vagabond Press, 2016)
10th Anniv. Anthology of Poetry, Fiction and Drama (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003)
Teaching the Arts Behind Bars (Northeastern University Press, 2003)
Animals in Poetry (Sarasota Poetry Theater Press, 2001)
The Book of Wisdom (Multnomah Publishers, 1997)
If I Had a Hammer: Women & Work Anthology (Papier-Mache Press, 1990)
The First Anthology of Missouri Women Writers (Sheba Review, 1987)
The Little Mrs./Misses (PenUltimate Press, 2017)
Both Wings Flappin', Still Not Flyin' (PenUltimate Press, 2014)
American Journal of Poetry
Literati Internationale
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University of Missouri at St Louis Journal
Webster Review
Prizes won: 

St. Louis Poet Laureate (2018-2020);

The Loretto Award for Service to Humanity and Social Justice from

  Webster University (2014)

Warrior Poet from Word in Motion (2012);

Visionary Award for Outstanding Arts Educator (2008);

Two awards from the Missouri Scholar's Academy (2004, 2007);

St. Louis Poetry Center "Hanks Poetry Award";

KSDK-TV "Unsung Heros" recipient (1996);

A World of Difference from the Anti-Defamation League (1993);

Author Recognition Award by the Missouri Center for the Book (1993);

Who's Who of Poets and Writers in America (1985)

Personal Favorites

Favorite authors: 
Pamela Hadas White, Sarah Henderson Hay, Phyllis McGinley, Anne Sexton, Carol Ann Duffy, Ron Koentge, Ronald Wallace, Billy Collins, and Yusef Komunyakaa

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Prefers to work with: 
Adults, At Risk Youth, Homelessness, Incarcerated individuals, LGBTQ, Mental Health, Schools, Teachers, Veterans
Born in: 
Saint Louis, MO
Raised in: 
Saint Louis, MO
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Aug 01, 2019