Wayne Lanter

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WAYNE JOSEPH  LANTER (September 5, 1937 - July 16, 2023) was a Midwestern writer (poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction) and writing teacher.

Wayne Lanter was born in Belleville, Illinois. For the first twelve years of his life he lived at the edge of his grandparent's farm on the bluffs above the Mississippi River. In 1949 the family moved to Freeburg, Illinois. After graduating from Freeburg Community High School in 1955, Lanter attended the University of Illinois on a baseball scholarship and played for the U of I baseball team in 1957. From 1958 to 1960 Lanter played minor league baseball with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. Mr. Lanter served in the USMCR from 1960-1966. From 1964-67 he worked with adolescent boys for the Jewish Children's Bureau in Chicago. He received a BS from St. Louis University (1967) and taught at Evanston High School, Evanston, Illinois (1967-68). Lanter received an MFA from the University of Iowa's Graduate Program in Creative Writing (1970). He taught English and Philosophy from 1972 until 2012 and was Professor Emeritus in English at Southwestern Illinois College until his death.

Wayne Lanter was the author of numerous poems, stories and articles. He has written for St. Louis Magazine on sports and music, and his piece, "Mr. Twain's Big River," a comparison of a modern day towboat trip down the Mississippi with Twain's description of the same trip in 1873, has been reprinted in a number of magazines.

Lanter's poem "The Waiting Room at Children's Hospital" was a 1992 winner in the Triton College Salute to the Arts poetry awards. His poems have been anthologized in the United States in 90 Poets of the Nineties, and in Canada in Following the Plough: Recovering the Rural, New Century North American Poets. Lanter's At Float on the Ohta-gawa was an Honorable Mention winner in the Edwin Mellen Poetry Press contest for narrative poems commemorating the destruction of the city of Hiroshima during World War II. Lanter's book The Waiting Room was nominated for The Academy of American Poet’s Lenore Marshall Prize in 1995. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize'sand Illinois Literary Awards.

Mr. Lanter has been the subject of a number of television programs on poets, including Works in Progress, Off the Shelf, and The Poets Series for HECTV.

At the University of Iowa, Lanter was a Writing Fellow in the Graduate Program of Creative Writing and served as poetry editor for The Iowa State Liquor Store, which first published many nationally recognized contemporary poets. He compiled the glossary for the British edition of Robert Coover's novel The Universal Baseball Association J. Henry Waugh, Proprietor.  Mr. Lanter served as English consultant for the translations of Brazilian poet Lindolf Bell's American poems.  Since then he has served as contributing editor for St. Louis Magazine and the St. Louis Literary Supplement

In 1995 Lanter founded, and for ten years, edited and published River King Poetry Supplement, an international journal of poetry and writings about poetry and poets. Mr. Lanter conducted numerous poetry-writing workshops with various literary organizations throughout the Midwest. He has read extensively from his poetry in numerous locales in the United States, and was featured at “A Confluence: a reading of river poets” in Somerset, England in August of 1998.

At dawn on July 16, 2023, Wayne Lanter died peacefully in his sleep at home.

He is survived by four children (so far), ten grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, two sisters, a brother-in-law, and at least one ex-wife who thinks of him fondly.


Success and happiness are written in white ink on white paper.
Human problems and suffering are scrawled in blood and black ink.


If you put your hand in water and pull it out,
it will not leave a hole.
But your hand will be wet,
and that is the source for a thousand years of wonder.


It is a short step from
believing in
what is not there
to not believing in
what is there.

in memoriam

Each narrative, be it art, science, or gossip, provides a fragment for the awakening, enhancement, and extension of the consciousness that embraces it.