Clothesline Epiphany*

May 31, 2015

2015 Walk Award
By Cheryl A. Fear

Clothesline Epiphany

I reached into the basket of wet white diapers,
grabbed a corner of one and pulled it out.
I clipped it into place.
Then I reached into the basket and did it again.
Like my mother before me, and her mother before her,
and hers before her.

A sudden strong wind caught the diapers,
snapping them into the air.
I watched them billowing against the
blue prairie sky.
I listened to their fluttering song.

They sang a song of mothers’ love,
of hands rubbed raw on washboards;
a song of aching backs and arms
stretched up as all that has been dirty
is made clean, and lifted to the sun.

The whipping white strips of cloth
sang to me
of love’s offerings
hung out to dry.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Cheryl A. Fear. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Poets on the Peaks

May 30, 2015

Poets on the PeaksIf your muse needs a little getaway, consider Poets on the Peaks: A Ross Lake Literary Adventure offered by the North Cascades Institute August 13-16, 2015.

“Traveling by boat with two great storyteller-naturalists [Gerry Cook and Saul Weisberg] with decades of backcountry experience between them, we’ll read poetry and lookout journals, go swimming and hiking, practice yoga and meditation and tour the lake’s hidden canyons. The highlight of our adventure will be hiking to the top of Desolation Peak where Kerouac, the reluctant “King of the Beats,” spent the summer of 1956—an experience he famously documented in his novels The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels.”

Read the full description and registration information on the North Cascades Institute website.

free poetry

May 29, 2015


If you follow this blog, you’ll know that we’re fans of ModPoModern & Contemporary American Poetry — a massive open online course (MOOC). Offered free through Coursera, the ten-week University of Pennsylvania class is conducted by professor Al Filreis, along with a panel of close readers, video and audio segments, and substantial on- and off-line reading. ModPo will begin again on Saturday, September 12, 2015, and run through Monday, November 23. Participation is entirely self-directed — you don’t have to “show up” at a particular time — but the syllabus is demanding and it’s wise to take seriously the suggested commitment of “5-10 hours/week.”

Here are several sources for more information: “The Web Poet’s Society,” an article on ModPo and MOOCs in The Atlantic by Kristina A. Bicher; commentary and other posting on ModPo, primarily by Al Filreis, on Jacket 2; the ModPo page on Coursera. For participants, there is also a Facebook group.

For a different approach, consider Electronic Literature,” offered by edX, which starts October 15. Harvard offers numerous MOOCs through edX and even archived courses are accessible.

profiling poets

May 28, 2015

Clover: A Literary Rag

In case you missed it, The Bellingham Herald has a lovely profile by Dean Kahn featuring writer/editor Mary Elizabeth Gillilan, who is the visionary behind Clover: A Literary Rag and the Independent Writers’ Studio. Volume 9 of the admirable Clover will be released during the Chuckanut Writers Conference, with in-store sales (at Village Books, among other places) and readings to follow (and subscriptions encouraged).

book up for summer

May 26, 2015

Bainbridge - Summer Book Bag

Saturday afternoon from 3 to 5 is a great time to island hop. Seattle7Writers and Bainbridge Island’s Eagle Harbor Book Company invite you to fill your book bag, have a snack, enter a drawing and mix and mingle with authors Kelli Russell Agodon, Kathleen Alcala, Erica Bauermeister, Carol Cassella, Megan Chance, Bridget Foley, Laurie Frankel, Elizabeth George, Thor Hanson, Adrianne Harun, Jennifer Louden, Kevin O’Brien, Suzanne Selfors, Rebecca Wells and Susan Wiggs.

That’s this Saturday, May 30, 2015. Read all about it on the Eagle Harbor website and on Facebook.

on poetry

May 25, 2015

Roethke by Mary Randlett“May my silences become more accurate.”
Theodore Roethke
(May 25, 1908 –
August 1, 1963)
. . . . .
photo by Mary Randlett,
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

A Star Vanishing Away by Charles Walker
2015 Merit Award
By Charles Walker (1st grade)

A Star Vanishing Away

A pilot flew a plane made of nickels
and it flew like an ordinary plane.
When it flew far away
it looked like a star vanishing in the clouds.

I don’t know if this is true
but it might be.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Charles Walker. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

plaquesThe 2015 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is now mostly complete. The chapbook of winning poems is available for sale at Village Books and the podcast is posted (see link in sidebar at right). In the coming months, the ten Walk Award poems will be posted in front of the Bellingham Public Library and beautiful placards of all 25 winning poems will find a place inside Whatcom Transportation Authority buses, where they’ll be on view on routes throughout Whatcom County for the next year.

Each Sunday, starting tomorrow, we will post one of the winning poem placards on this page and link that post to the Winners page.

This year, instead of working with a single artist/designer on the placards, the committee decided to hold a competition among local artists. Four artists — Megan Carroll, Mat Hudson, Christian Smith and Kimberly Wulfestieg — were selected to illustrate the placards. The artists had one week to absorb the poems and create their illustrations. We introduce the artists here:

Megan CarrollMegan 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 now made my home in Bellingham for the last 3 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.

Mat HudsonMat Hudson left art school in the forests of the the Eastern United States to join AmeriCorps, where he served in the Washington Reading Corps for three years and designed many a T-shirt that was a envy of every non Washington Reading Corps VISTA. He sketches directly onto a digital pad connected to his computer and then uses photoshop to modify his artwork. He makes art for Jinx Art Space and the Bureau of Historical Investigation. He is the author of a young adult novel, Hazel, and a picture book, Dig. He lives in Bellingham, WA, where he ponders unicorns and narwhal and finds inspiration in the local music scene.

Christian SmithChristian 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 WulfestiegKimberly Wulfestieg is a paper cutting, rainbow loving, poetry flowing mama of three amazing girls, Jane, Quinn and Grace. Originally from Northern California, she made her way to Bellingham four 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. Also known as K. Wulfe, more of her work can be seen on Facebook at K. Wulfe. “Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful poems with me. They all touched me deeply and I enjoyed creating these images so very much. I read and reread your works so many times throughout this process, your poems are a part of me now. Thank you, thank you!”

Two Sylvias chapbook prizeYou have until June 15, 2015, to submit your manuscript for the Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize. Judged by poet Keetje Kuipers, the winner will receive $300, 20 author copies of the print chapbook, plus eBook publication and a 1930s depression glass trophy.

Two Sylvias Press chapbooks are perfect-bound with a high-quality matte finish. The winner will be announced by September 2015. For more information and submission guidelines, visit Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize. (Note: on their Facebook page, Two Sylvias Press says, “Submissions have been lower this year, so it’s a good year to try us out.”) Go for it!


May 21, 2015


Once again, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest extends a gracious THANK YOU to Boris D. Schleinkofer, who lends a capable ear to the awards ceremony proceedings each year and produces a podcast of the event. The podcast is now available for your listening enjoyment (NOTE: don’t be put off by the 23 seconds of setup sound; the ceremony starts immediately thereafter). Click here to listen to the podcast of the 2015 Sue Boynton Contest awards ceremony, or use the link in the sidebar at right, under Boynton poems & poets.