how to NaNo…

October 22, 2013

Red Wheelbarrow WritersThe other day we posted about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which begins November 1. If you would like to participate but perhaps aren’t ready to commit to 50,000 words all on your own, you might consider joining up with the writerly crowd over at Red Wheelbarrow Writers.

RWW has set up two round-robin NaNo lists — one “literary,” one “horror.” You sign up and select an available day from a list and then on that day you write your “chapter” of the growing novel, bearing in mind the characters and plot points that came before, building the story and readying it for the writers whose chapters follow.

You can read last year’s Red Wheelbarrow novel, No Rest for the Wicked, in two drafts, see the rules, process and available dates, or learn more about Red Wheelbarrow Writers on Facebook.

Thursday crawl…

October 18, 2013

Lit Crawl Seattle 2013

Put on your poetry shoes. Thursday, October 24, 2013, is the much-anticipated second annual Lit Crawl Seattle. Nineteen venues, more than 60 authors, three hours of free readings followed by a party a Richard Hugo House. See the schedule on the Lit Crawl site and further details on Facebook.


October 8, 2013

TWO sets of poetry workshops coming up: two each day on Saturday, October 19 and Saturday, November 16, 2013. Take both workshops the same day and save! All proceeds benefit the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest.

Complete details on the WORKSHOPS page, including how to register.


September 20, 2013

Banned Books Week 2013

Next week, September 22-28, 2013, is Banned Books Week. Now in its 31st year, Banned Books Week calls attention to issues of censorship and challenges to the freedom to read. It invites people who value the written word to celebrate that First Amendment freedom — if not year-round, then at least for this one week.

Wondering what to do? View or download (PDF) a bibliography of books challenged, restricted, removed, or banned in 2012 and 2013 as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom from May 2012 to May 2013…and choose a title to read from the list. Participate in a Virtual Read-Out. Read some banned or challenged poetry, such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, The Bean Eaters by Gwendolyn Brooks, or A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein. Look for Banned Books Week exhibits and events scheduled at your local independent bookstore or library.

A few more resources: Banned Books Week on the American Library Association website. The Banned Books Week website. A list of the ten most-challenged titles by year, 2000-2012. Banned Books Week on Facebook.

Not everybody can read what they want to read. Don’t take it for granted.

Village Books

Have you seen the lineup of fall 2013 workshops at Village Books in Bellingham? The workshops all require advance registration and will be held either in the Village Books Readings Gallery or in the Fairhaven Village Inn Conference Room. In brief…

Nancy Canyon teaches Place to Place: Writing the Environment
Thursdays, October 3, 10, 17 and 24, 6:30-8:30pm

Cami Ostman teaches What “Type” of Writer are You?
Tuesday, November 12, 7-8:30pm

Marketing specialist & publishing consultant Alice Acheson teaches two workshops
The Greatest Marketing Tool on Friday, November 15, 5:30-8:30
Your Book — What’s Next? on Saturday, November 16, 10am-5pm

Learn more about the instructors, the workshops and registration on the Village Books Writing Workshops page.

Register early and save…

September 9, 2013

Whidbey Island Writers Conference

The 15th Annual Whidbey Island Writers Conference (WIWC) will be held October 25-27, 2013 and early-bird registration (until September 16) will save you $20. This year’s faculty includes three keynote speakers — Karen Finneyfrock, Randall Platt and Sheila Roberts — along with an impressive list of other writers who will address the craft, technology and business of writing in today’s world.

Find out more on the WIWC website, peruse faculty bios or track the news on the Whidbey Island Writers Association Facebook page.

Poetry Workshops!

September 4, 2013

Each year, a number of distinguished Northwest poets generously offer poetry workshops to benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. The workshops are lively and worthwhile. Here’s the information on this fall’s lineup. (These descriptions are also posted on the Workshops page.)

Workshops are held in the Northwest Room on the lower level of the Fairhaven branch of the Bellingham Public Library. Registration is required and all fees benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest: $30 per workshop or $50 for two taken the same day to be paid by check or cash at the workshop. Register by sending an email to indicating the workshop(s) you wish to take and including your name and a phone number. Please bring writing materials.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kevin Murphy10am – Noon ~ Kevin Murphy teaches The Poetics of Humor.
Humor is increasingly acceptable in serious poetry, and it may be impossible to write a serious poem without it. In this workshop, we’ll look at the elements of poetic comedy including irony, hyperbole and wackiness. We’ll talk about poems by James Tate, Russell Edson, Mary Ruefle, Charles Simic and others, and we’ll experiment with a way or two of wooing the muse through humor.

Kevin Murphy has been performing poetry for over 30 years. He is the author of A Beautiful Chaos Demands Energy and has released a poetry CD, Between Onions and Oxygen. He regularly performs poetry on the Chuckanut Radio Hour and has toured the Pacific Northwest and beyond as a member of the New Old Time Chautauqua. His poetry tends toward the comic and the surreal, and he frequently accompanies himself on guitar and percussion. Kevin Murphy was born on a U.S. Army base in Stuttgart, Germany, grew up in the suburbs of Albany, New York, and is the survivor of 13 years of Catholic School. He lives in Bellingham with his wife, Jeannie.

1 – 3pm ~ Jeanne Yeasting teaches The Prose Poem.
“Which one of us, in his moments of ambition, has not dreamed of the miracle of a poetic prose, musical, without rhythm and without rhyme, supple enough and rugged enough to adapt itself to the lyrical impulses of the soul, the undulations of reverie, the jibes of conscience?” Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), from a letter to Arsene Houssaye, sent with Paris Spleen, his book of prose poems.
What is a prose poem? What makes prose poetry tick? This two-hour, hands-on, interactive workshop will introduce the prose poem form; consider the line between “regular” poetry, prose poetry, and prose; and try our hands at writing our own prose poems. We’ll do some serious play with poetics and images. A background in poetry is not necessary, but a willingness to experiment, to luxuriate in reading writing aloud, and to move beyond your habitual writing patterns and style is desirable.

Jeanne Yeasting is a writer and visual artist living in Bellingham. She teaches creative writing and literature at Western Washington University. One of her recent prose poems, Discriminating Distinction, can be seen on the Washington Poet Laureate’s website, “The Far Field.”

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Caleb Barber10am – Noon ~ Caleb Barber teaches Writing the Insignificant.
What happened on your way home from work today? Where was it you found the missing shoe? In this workshop we will explore the poetry of the day-to-day, discovering subtle profundity in the casual conversations, odd encounters, and mild annoyances of routine life. With guidance from examples across a broad spectrum, we will write the poetry that fills the space between the milestones.

Caleb Barber holds a BA in English from Western Washington University, as well as an MFA in poetry from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. He lives in Bellingham, Washington, where he works at an aerospace machine shop. He has been widely published in literary journals, notably in Fulcrum, New Orleans Review, Los Angeles Review, and he was featured in Poet Lore. His first book, Beasts and Violins, is available from Red Hen Press. The title poem appeared in Best American Poetry 2009.

Richard Widerkehr1 – 3pm ~ Richard Widerkehr teaches Poetic Diction: Words You Can Fit in a Wheelbarrow, Words You Can’t.
Diction means word choice. Looking at our images and language—high, low, or mixed; slang or formal, plain or fancy—can be a way into talking about voice, the kinds of poem we’re writing, what we may want to try doing. Using some examples of contemporary and past poems, we’ll discuss mixing high and low diction, living at one end of the spectrum or the other, and making leaps. There will be prompts for in-class writing and chances for those who want to read their work aloud to do so.

Award-winning poet Richard Widerkehr has had two recent collections of poems published: The Way Home (Plain View Press) and Her Story of Fire (Egress Studio Press), along with two chapbooks. Tarragon Books published his novel about a geologist, Sedimental Journey. He’s taught at the University of Hawaii and worked as a counselor on a mental health unit of a hospital.

…and thanks!

August 23, 2013

2013 - sponsor plaque

Generous support for the 2013 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest has been provided by:
Anonymous | Luther Allen | Bruce Beasley | Angela Belcaster
Bellingham Public Library | James Bertolino
the Boynton Family
Solon R. Boynton III & Sharon K. Boynton
Jerry & Beth Brownfield | BTV10 | Nancy Canyon
Ciao Thyme | Jennifer Lee Cottrell | Kat & Ed DeVaney
George & Mary Ann Drake | Sandra Dutton | Egress Studio
Susan J. Erickson & George Lindeman
Mary Elizabeth Gillilan | Norman Green & Sherwin Sarjeant
Elizabeth Kerwin | J.I. Kleinberg | David & Judith Laws
Paul Little | Tim & Suzanne Lucy | Andrew Shattuck McBride
Brenda Miller | Martin & Sheila Nickerson
Dr. & Mrs. L. Tim Nielsen, grandson of Sue Boynton
Jon Orvik | Judith Orvik | Jan Crook Pierson
Chuck & Dee Robinson | Kimberly Roe | Ellie Rogers
Boris Schleinkofer | Colleen & Harvey Schwartz
Sheila Sondik & Paul Sarvasy | Threshold Documents
Village Books | Denise Weeks | Kelly Welles
Whatcom Educational Credit Union | Whatcom Poetry Series
Whatcom Transportation Authority
the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest committee
and of course the poets of Whatcom County, Washington

poetry plaques on view!

August 22, 2013

2013 - plaque - Belcaster

The 2013 Sue Boynton Poetry Contest Walk Award poems are now installed on plaques in front of the Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Avenue. They will remain in place until summer 2014. Stroll by and read some poetry!

April Night*

August 21, 2013

Angela Belcaster - April Night
2013 Walk Award
By Angela Belcaster

I saw a spin of cherry blossoms lifted
from the curb by the wind, a pink
eddy whirled and spun;
a bubblegum cyclone, a startle of petals turning
under the brown street light.

It was a clean spring
and I thought of you,

but gravity and sense held me,
not bearing to step into things such as this
that dream their own weather, as in mountains,
as in love, as in gods, unable to bear the thought
of what chaos might be caused —
of what chaos I have caused —
by my trespass
by the memory, the familiar falling

of petals onto wet ground.

*Copyright 2013 by Angela Belcaster. Placard designed and illustrated by Anita K. Boyle Egress Studio.