books on wheels

May 22, 2019

Sometimes we like to highlight poetry or book-related projects that have no connection with the Cascadia region. Yet. Here’s one. Poetry to the People: A Book Truck Tour is combining the resources of the House of SpeakEasy (no relation to Bellingham’s SpeakEasy poetry series) and Narrative 4 to create a 10-day, 10-stop tour between New York City and New Orleans. A 27-foot-long box truck, thousands of books, hundreds of readers and stories.

Each stop will highlight engaging conversations hosted by community partners, featuring events and workshops with acclaimed writers and emerging teen talents. At every event, the truck will open up to give out free books and encourage browsing by readers of all ages.

Learn more about Poetry to the People on Kickstarter.

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the gift of poetry

May 21, 2019

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest has numerous reasons to be grateful to George F. Drake. Here are two:

  • In 1976, as a member of the Bellingham City Council, George organized a ceremony to honor those who served in elective office. A highlight of the event, held at Western Washington University, was the presence of Sue C. Boynton, then 95. George escorted her to the podium where she read a poem of her own followed by a message sent for the occasion by President Gerald Ford. In 2005, George approached Sue Boynton’s daughter, Ethel Boynton Crook, to propose naming a community poetry contest to honor Sue C. Boynton. She agreed, and the first Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest and Poetry Walk was held in 2006 with the enthusiastic support of the extended Boynton family.
  • A stalwart champion of the Contest through the intervening years, George Drake took the podium at the May 16, 2019, awards ceremony, where he presented the above photo of himself with Sue C. Boynton taken by Tore Ofteness at that 1976 event. He then presented the contest committee with an exceedingly generous surprise: a check for $10,000 to express his belief in the importance of this community poetry contest and to assure its continuation in the years to come.

Beyond the evening’s raucous and prolonged applause, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest and all the past, present, and future poets of Whatcom County, and their fans, owe George Drake a huge THANK YOU.

There’s probably a metaphor to describe Mapping Metaphor. Maybe something like labyrinth. But whatever you call it, Mapping Metaphor is ambitious, multi-layered, and fascinating.

The Metaphor Map of English shows the metaphorical links which have been identified between different areas of meaning. These links can be from the Anglo-Saxon period right up to the present day, so the map covers 1300 years of the English language. This allows us the opportunity to track metaphorical ways of thinking and expressing ourselves over more than a millennium…

The Metaphor Map was built as part of the Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus project. This was completed by a team in English Language at the University of Glasgow and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council from 2012 to early 2015. The Metaphor Map is based on the Historical Thesaurus of English, which was published in 2009 by Oxford University Press as the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary.

The “How to Use” (text and/or video) will be particularly useful.

Visit Mapping Metaphor online and on Twitter @MappingMetaphor.

Sunday on Vashon

May 18, 2019

The public is invited to participate in an open house at Mukai Farm & Garden on Vashon Island to honor The Day of Exile, May 16, 1942, the day Japanese American residents of Vashon Island were forced under armed escort to leave their homes.

The program will include the installation and unveiling of artwork created by Lawrence Matsuda and Roger Shimomura. Larry Matsuda will read his poetry and share a short documentary of the Minedoka internment camp.

Join the Friends of Mukai for the Day of Exile Commemoration and Art Installation tomorrow, Sunday, May 19, 2019. The house opens at 1:00pm and the program starts at 2:00pm. More information on the Mukai Farm & Garden site and on Facebook.

Each of the 25 winning poems in the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is illustrated with flair and care by one of four artists. The resulting placards are displayed in Whatcom Transportation Authority buses for a full year and also posted on this site (at, alas, a substantially reduced size). The Contest is very fortunate to have artists who continue to do this fine work year after year. We are pleased to introduce them again here for 2019, in their own words:

Angela Boyle
As a cartoonist and natural science illustrator, I like to blend my passions together into both nonfiction and science fiction comics. My focus is the natural world: the plants and animals we can see and interact with, or at least potentially interact with. It is not surprising that I focus on nature. I have always been surrounded by animals. Two weeks before I was born, my parents’ borzoi, Domino, birthed a litter. They were so busy raising me, they never really got around to selling the puppies as intended. Then with my brother coming along, we all moved out to the country. They bought a house (it came with a cow!) and quickly filled the land with horses, a pony, chickens, turkeys, and other animals. Even without the added domestic animals, I was playing with frogs and raising the tadpoles from our pond. And I was drawing and writing and reading. And I am still drawing, writing, and reading. I draw comics, which you can get on Storeenvy, and paint nature, which you can get on mugs and pillows from Society 6. And I am reading/researching Maria Sibylla Merian and the late 1600s in preparation for a graphic novel biography. You can follow my research on Patreon. I have a sci-fi comic on tumblr and an autobio comic on tumblr. My general social media (Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram) is angelabcomics, and my personal website is angelaboyle.flyingdodostudio.com, which has links to everything, including many more comics. I am also a freelance editor, illustrator, and designer: publication.flyingdodostudio.com. Photo Copyright Abe Olson.

Megan Carroll
I once told my husband that making art was not an option, it was a need. I have to make art, I have to use my hands. I believe in craftsmanship. I research every single one of my ideas, draw several sketches, collect images, words and doodles. I throw out several ideas and save what I think are the very best ones. As an artist I collaborate with those around me, seeking feedback and critique. My illustrations have a minimalist style that leans heavily on mark making. I love strong lines that create a visual impact using simple repetitive shapes. I would describe myself as a mixed media artist as my current works are digital, surface and pattern design, illustration, fabric, and clay. I received my BFA from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC, and I have made my home in Bellingham for the last 6 years. You can buy my prints, including the ones inspired by the poems in this contest, on Society6, or my handmade goods at Scrappy Carp Living on Etsy.

Christian Anne Smith
I like to tell stories with art. I love garish and fantastical characters. I enjoy human beings and my art explores stories of human emotion as well as my passion for costumes, colors, textures, and intriguing environments. Growing up on the coast of Maine, I was surrounded by stories and images of the region’s folklore. Seilkies, Mermaids, Ghosts, and Pirates were all believably real entities to me. My childhood fascination with monsters and supernatural beings continues and influences the way I choose to portray people. I also have a need to express with my art. I become inspired, and have worked hard to train myself to go into a sort of a trance that allows what’s inside to come out. It’s only later that I can look with any objectivity on something that I’ve created and perhaps get a glimpse of what I was feeling or thinking. It is akin to the way one might analyze a dream. I may start a painting or puppet with a certain image in mind, but I allow the original image to change or even get completely painted over whenever I start to see new things. I am often quite confused about how I am feeling until after I paint, draw, or build things and the truth comes to the surface. This is the way I best communicate with myself. In this way I suppose nearly all my paintings are also portraits of my life. Thank you for your interest in my work. I hope that the world I have created sparks your own imagination and provokes many hours of daydream in the years to come.

Kimberly Wulfestieg
is a paper cutting, rainbow loving, poetry flowing mother and teacher. Originally from Northern California, she made her way to Bellingham seven years ago and never passes a mountain, lake, flower, or tree, without a deep breath and an appreciation for its beauty. A self-taught artist, she has always been enamored with the color and texture of paper and collage. She employs a wide array of colored papers, scissors, scalpels, knives, and glue, and uses them in conjunction with details and patience. She runs the Natural Learning Center in Bellingham and loves to share her joy of art and words with the children she works with. Also known as K. Wulfe, more of her work can be seen on Facebook at K. Wulfe and followed on Instagram @kimwulfy.

Mighty Tieton awaits

May 16, 2019

If you’ve been putting it off, it’s time to start planning for LiTFUSE. The annual weekend-long poets’ workshop held September 27-29, 2019, in Tieton, Washington (near Yakima), combines writing, exploration, improvisation, meditation, camaraderie, natural beauty and readings to ignite your muse.

The complete schedule is now online, registration is open, and this year, for those who book a room at the Oxford Suites in Yakima, there will be daily shuttle service to and from the Mighty Tieton Warehouse.

It will be a memorable weekend packed with poetry.

almost time…

May 15, 2019

The Poetry Marathon (24 poems in 24 hours) and half-marathon will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2019. If you’re thinking about participating (it’s completely free), sign up beforehand. Registration will be open June 3 – 12. Mark your calendar and watch for updates on The Poetry Marathon site or on Facebook.

Just think… a whole chapbook drafted in just 24 hours!

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