The National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Inc. (NFSPS), was organized in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, October 17, 1959, by Mary B. Wall, after three years of correspondence with poets all over the nation. The first convention was held under the aegis of the Louisiana State Poetry Society. National officers were elected, and the following statement was drawn up:
"We are gathered together today for a most high and serious purpose, namely, the formation of a federation of state poetry societies, that shall serve to unite poets in bonds of fellowship and understanding."
When the NFSPS Constitution was adopted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in June of 1960, this statement became the first statement of Article XII, Purpose. This article also included the following:
"Moreover we are aware of the national and international problems arising from inability of persons and groups to adequately communicate with each other, and of a self-imposed duty to lead the way . . . . We recognize that poets, wherever they may be, work for understanding by offering linguistic contexts that appeal to the mind and spirit of man."
The NFSPS was incorporated in Madison, Wisconsin, in July of 1966, under Chapter 181 of the Wisconsin Statutes. At that time two amendments were added to the Constitution:
"The National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Inc., will not participate in a political campaign for or against any candidate for public office, or devote a substantial part of its activities to influencing legislation."
"The purposes of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies are exclusively educational and literary. In the event of the dissolution of this organization its assets will be distributed for exclusively educational and literary purposes, after all debts have been paid."
The National Federation of State Poetry Societies began with ten charter-member states (in this order):
Louisiana State Poetry Society
Poetry Society of Mississippi
Pennsylvania Poetry Society
Poetry Society of Virginia
Utah State Poetry Society
Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets
First State Writers (Delaware)
Iowa State Poetry Society
Idaho State Poetry Society
Nevada Poetry Society
As of August 1, 2007, there were societies of members in thirty-five states.
The NFSPS is managed by a board of directors who meet twice at each national convention. The fiscal year of the organization begins on July 1 of the calendar year and closes on June 30 the following year.