poetry on the bus…

April 30, 2013

Poetry in Transit, Pennsylvania

Each year, the winning poems from the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest are turned into beautiful placards (by Egress Studio) and displayed inside Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) buses, riding around Whatcom County for an entire year.

We’re always happy to find other communities that treat bus riders to poetry, including the area around Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, which is served by the Luzerne County Transportation Authority. Founded in 2007 by Wilkes University Associate Professor of English Dr. Mischelle Anthony (who still coordinates the program), Poetry in Transit posted well-known poets the first year, but since then has put out a call to local residents as well as students and faculty at four area colleges. Each year’s poems address a theme and are limited to six lines or fewer.

The 2013 Sue Boynton Poetry Contest placards will be placed in WTA buses in about July. Meanwhile, enjoy the 2012 poems while they last.

Read about other poetry-on-the-bus programs.
. . . . .
Poetry in Transit design by Mark Golaszewski

on poetry…

April 29, 2013

Yusef Komunyakaa

I knew life / Began where I stood in the dark, / Looking out into the light, / & that sometimes I could see // Everything through nothing.
Yusef Komunyakaa
(b. April 29, 1947)

. . . . .
Magic City, “Sunday Afternoons” (excerpt)

free poetry…

April 28, 2013

Coursera ~ Modern & Contemporary American PoetryPerhaps, in recent months, you’ve been following the buzz about university courses that are offered free online. Coursera consolidates many of those courses (341 at the moment) into a single online catalog where you can explore, register and enroll in programs from 62 universities.

Yesterday we mentioned Pulitzer Remix, which, in addition to being a month-long found poetry project, has also become an online community for the 85 participating poets. Sheila Sondik (thanks again, Sheila) tells us that the University of Pennsylvania online course Modern & Contemporary American Poetry has been highly recommended among Remixers. “Apparently, it is really worthwhile even if you only read the poems and watch the videos.”

The ten-week course, which is taught by Al Filreis and is entirely free, begins September 8, 2013. No previous knowledge of poetry is required, nor do you need to buy textbooks or show up at a particular time for online sessions. Read more about Modern & Contemporary American Poetry or explore other programs available free online through Coursera.

Pulitzer Remix

National Poetry Month is winding down, but the poetic commitment continues at Pulitzer Remix. It’s intriguing how the voices of both the original author and the “finding” poet come through in the resulting found poems. Just a reminder to browse the collection, including the work of long-time (former) Boynton committee member Sheila Sondik, who spent the month finding the poetry in The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

Literacy Walk/RunThink of it as sort of a book group on the hoof. The 14th Annual Walk/Run for Literacy, Saturday, June 29, 2013, is a fundraising 5k that supports the work of the Whatcom Literacy Council. It starts at 9:00am in Fairhaven in front of Village Books/Fairhaven Runners, follows the Padden Creek trail, passes Fairhaven Park and loops back to Mill Avenue near 11th Street.

Registration is now open. Sign up. Walk. Run. Support literacy. It’s fun!

(After your morning walk/run, you’ll have plenty of time to cool down, enjoy the day and find your way back to the Firehouse Performing Arts Center for SpeakEasy 11: Poet’s Mind: concept and process. More on that to follow.)

poetry walk, illustrated

April 25, 2013

Gabriel Campanario, Seattle Sketcher, poemboxGabriel Campanario is a journalist and illustrator whose blog, Seattle Sketcher, is well known to readers of The Seattle Times. A couple of weeks ago, for National Poetry Month, his column included his lively illustrations of poetry posts, boxes and even a bench that he’s observed and painted in his meanderings through Seattle. Have a look at his April 6 Seattle Times post, “Our real-life poetry of the streets.”

To see other places where “poetry posts” are cropping up, see our earlier entries on Santa Fe, Portland and Portland again.


April 24, 2013

Times Haiku

In case it has escaped your attention, the New York Times is honoring National Poetry Month with daily infusions to a Tumblr blog known as Times Haiku. Before you get excited about submitting your own, be aware that these are accidental haiku, selected by a computer from the text of the New York Times for their strict 5-7-5 syllables and then vetted by a human being. They’re quite surprising and wonderful. Read about Times Haiku and peruse recent Times Haiku posts.

Poets on Fire!

April 23, 2013

Poets on Fire

A group poetry reading
in celebration of National Poetry Month
Poets on Fire
Sunday, April 28, 2013 ~ 7:00pm
The Firehouse ~ 1314 Harris Street ~ Bellingham
$5 suggested donation

This poetry reading includes some of the best lyrical, slam and folk poets in our region: Ryler Dustin, Susan J. Erickson, Kevin Murphy, Allison Preisinger, Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson and John Burgess. Some will sing for you, and some may even ignite your soul. Poets coming from Bellingham, Arlington and even Seattle will be introduced with a special treat from emcee James Bertolino. “A reading so hot, you may have an opportunity to witness spontaneous combustion.”

About the poets:

Ryler Dustin is winner of the 2011 Inprint Paul Verlaine $10,000 Poetry Prize and was a finalist for a 2011 Ruth Lilly Prize. He has also competed on the final stage of the Individual World Poetry Slam. He has taught poetry workshops for Inprint, Western Washington University, Writers in the Schools and Project Row Houses, and edited the literary magazines Gulf Coast and Jeopardy. His work appears or is forthcoming in New South, The Portland Review, Chrysanthemum and other journals. He is the author of The Lantern Sea (Destructible Heart Press) and Heavy Lead Birdsong (Write Bloody). He holds an MFA from the University of Houston but is a Bellingham native.

Susan J. Erickson’s poems appear in 2River View, Crab Creek Review, Museum of Americana, Raven Chronicles, Switched-on-Gutenberg and The Lyric. She is working on a manuscript of poems in women’s voices, including Lucy Audubon, Frida Kahlo, Zelda Fitzgerald and Amelia Earhart. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, where she helped establish the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest.

Kevin Murphy is the author of A Beautiful Chaos Demands Energy and has released a CD of his poetry, Between Onions and Oxygen. He performs poetry regularly on the Chuckanut Radio Hour and has toured throughout the Northwest and beyond with the New Old Time Chautauqua. Kevin has been known to accompany his poetry on guitar and drum.

Allison Preisinger is a singer-songwriter based in the Pacific Northwest. Writing and performing solo since 2004, she has played numerous venues throughout the Northwest as well as the Northeast while she attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. Preisinger recently released Be Heard, her second full-length album, and is currently writing and touring the Pacific Northwest.

Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson writes about absence, usually in terms of the apocalypse. Her work has appeared in numerous places, including The Literary Review of Canada, A cappela Zoo, The Liner, Going Down Swinging, The Moth, Labletter and the anthology Killer Verse. Her first chapbook, Victims of Ted Bundy: Washington State and Oregon, was published by Jeanne Duval Editions in 2011.

John Burgess grew up in upstate New York, worked on a survey crew in Montana, taught English in Japan and since 1985 has lived in Seattle. Punk Poems (2005), A History of Guns in the Family (2008) and Graffito (2011) were published by Ravenna Press. He was a 2006 Jack Straw writer; co-founder of the original Burning Word Festival; and the 2008 Words’ Worth curator for the Seattle City Council. He’s currently editor for the online lit journal Snow Monkey, Board member at Richard Hugo House and co-conspirator with the Band of Poets.




Angela Belcaster April Night
Mariah Brown-Pounds Raspberry Rhubarb Pie
Susan Chase-Foster On Being a Squirrel
Kayla Donovan One Last Time
Malcolm H. Kenyon The Goat Island Battery
Mike Long A Love Song, Repurposed
Matt Malyon Icarus Ashore
Betty Scott My Dog Barks
Emily Spector-Van Zee The World of Life
Liam Veitch Skate


Luther Allen stillness.
Maddy DeFreest The Fall
Victoria Doerper Great Blue
Deborah Lutz The Beginning
Andrew Shattuck McBride Forgetfulness
Jim Milstead Collage
Marina Murphy Lazy Train
Bassam Najib Boulos The Square Watermelon
Joe Nolting Lily of the Mohawks
Timothy Pilgrim Breathing snow
Colleen Schwartz Point Lobos
Kristin Smith Wanderer’s Heart
Tom Villa-Lovoz Waiting
Richard Widerkehr Peonies
Margarethe Zubler-Keller Simile

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to the 259 Whatcom County poets who submitted their work to this year’s contest.

This chart is posted on the Winners page. Over the coming months, the winning poems will be posted and linked to the chart on that page. Meanwhile, please please plan to join the celebration at the Awards Ceremony at 7:00pm on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

did I win?

April 21, 2013

phoneYou submit a poem and then you wait and wait. And wait…

If you’ve been waiting to hear whether your poem was selected as a winner in the 2013 Sue Boynton Poetry Contest, please be aware that all Walk Award and Merit Award winners have now been notified.

If you did not receive a phone call (or, in just a couple of cases, an e-mail), we’re sorry to tell you that your poem has not been chosen for an award.

All participating poets are invited to attend the free, public awards ceremony on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 7:00pm at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal; the winning poets will read their poems at that event and all poems that were submitted to this year’s contest will be on display.

We will be posting the names of the winners soon. Please check back.

Thanks for participating in the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest!