Contact Us

Sherry Thomas
Extension Program Coordinator, Ag and Natural Resources
University of Illinois Extension
1615 Commerce Parkway
Bloomington, IL 61704
Phone: 309-663-8306
FAX: 309-663-8270

Barn Quilt Heritage Trail

Barn Quilt Heritage Trail

"Words on Quilts"


A Production of the Illinois Voices Theatre
A Member Unit of the Illinois Theatre Consortium
This program is partially funded by the Town of Normal's Harmon Arts Grant.

The Poets

Judith Boudreaux holds an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State University. She is currently completing a first book of poetry, a collection of short fiction, and has a comic novel under construction. She is also a playwright who has written a three-act '50s farce. Her work has been published in JAMA, The Rambunctious Review (first place in their fiction contest), and Image.

V. Joseph Boudreaux, a retired physician, moved to the Bloomington-Normal community with his wife, Judy, in 2008. Joe has become active in many areas of the community. He is a physician member of the Advocate BroMenn Delegate Executive Committee and participates in the activities of Illinois People's Action. He serves on the Steering Committee of his church, New Covenant Community. Joe is also a volunteer patient advocate. He actively supports Judy's writing career and writes poetry and non-fiction on his own.

Kathleen Kirk is the author of four poetry chapbooks, most recently Nocturnes (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012). Her work appears in numerous print and online journals, including Poetry East, Lake Effect, and Spoon River Poetry Review, and frequently airs on Poetry Radio, WGLT. She taught writing and literature at DePaul University in Chicago and Lincoln College in Lincoln and now serves as poetry editor for Escape Into Life, an international online journal of the arts.

Peg Kirk once taught English and coached the speech team at the former NCHS on Kingsley Street in Normal. Now she volunteers at the McLean County Museum of History, enjoys the theatre, and writes poetry, usually light verse. She has slept under quilts, admired the handiwork of a variety of quilters, but only now knows the delight of seeing quilts appear on the sides of barns.

Bill Morgan has published two chapbooks of poems, Trackings: The Body’s Memory, The Heart’s Fiction (Dead Metaphor Press, 1998) and Sky With Six Geese (Pudding House Press, 2005), as well as numbers of individual poems in journals. His full-length manuscript, entitled Salvage, is circulating to publishers and contests. For many years he taught in the English Department at Illinois State University and published scholarly studies of Thomas Hardy. Now he is poetry editor for The Hardy Review and co-produces Poetry Radio for WGLT, the NPR affiliate in Normal, Illinois.

Ginny Nappi is a retired psychotherapist who has participated in a local poetry workshop. She has had poems published locally, including one in Heartland Community College’s Muse. She enjoyed visiting and learning from her farm families and recalling the times she worked in tobacco and dairy barns as a teenager in Connecticut.

Ardis Stewart teaches English and Humanities at Heartland Community College. Her poetry has been published in Seeding the Snow, RHINO, Word-River and Where We Live: Illinois Poets.

M. Irene Taylor studied acting at the University of Illinois and went on to earn her MA in theatre at Illinois State University. Recently retired, Irene is a graduate student in ISU's Department of English. Irene also enjoys her position as coordinator of New Route Theatre's Word Weavers, a creative writing group for members of the local community.

The Process

The poets have created poems for each barn by looking at images of the barn quilt squares and the original quilt patterns, visiting the barns, interviewing the barn owners, and/or studying historical information related to a particular barn or quilt pattern.

The Poems

“Words on Quilts" poems appear on the pages with the site descriptions and photos on this website and in the Official Barn Quilt Heritage Trail – McLean County Guidebook.

Most poems were featured on Poetry Radio on WGLT 89.1FM, offering the best in classic and contemporary poetry, underscored with evocative music. Poetry Radio was a co-production of Illinois State University's Department of English and WGLT. As of 2016, Poetry Radio is no longer on the air.

Hosts: Kirstin Hotelling Zona and Bill Morgan 
Producer: Bruce Bergethon