Born in East Peoria, the poet William Wantling (1933-1974) was a Korean War veteran, a San Quentin ex-con, a drug addict, and at the time of his death, an instructor at Illinois State University. He is the author of Heroin Haikus (1966), The Awakening (1968), Sick Fly (1970), and 10,000 r.p.m. & digging it, yeah! (1973).
- The Great American Novel