Homeless*

September 16, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Stephen Palmer

The car I live in
gray as my futureless life
rain on the windshield.

Green dumpster cardboard
shelters me between downpours
I can’t stop the wind.

Constant daily wait
charging phone on bus stop time
wheelchair in the rain.

Sun is my alarm
campsite my sanctuary
downpour dictates pain.

Lines for soup kitchen
queuing up at the mission
showers at the Y.

Voices surround me
torrent within me surges
melancholy rage.

. . . . .
I was inspired to write “Homeless” because it’s something I know about and I wanted to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Having nowhere to go in foul weather, as in Bellingham, is the most miserable existence a person can have when they’re homeless.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Stephen Palmer. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

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The National Book Foundation has announced the National Book Award longlists in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature. The poetry judges, Mary Jo Bang, Ken Chen, Elise Paschen, Danez Smith, and Stephen Sparks, selected the following poets/books:

  • Rae Armantrout, Wobble (Wesleyan University Press)
  • Jos Charles, feeld (Milkweed Editions)
  • Forrest Gander, Be With (New Directions)
  • Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Books / Penguin Random House)
  • J. Michael Martinez, Museum of the Americas (Penguin Books / Penguin Random House)
  • Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of (Omnidawn Publishing)
  • Justin Phillip Reed, Indecency (Coffee House Press)
  • Raquel Salas Rivera, lo terciario / the tertiary (Timeless, Infinite Light)
  • Natasha Trethewey, Monument: Poems New and Selected (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Jenny Xie, Eye Level (Graywolf Press)

The finalists will be announced on October 10 and the Sixty-Ninth National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner will be held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, and will also be live-streamed online in its entirety.

workshops!

September 12, 2018

Workshops

Once again, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest will offer two days of poetry workshops this fall:

On Saturday, October 20, 2018, 10:00am to Noon, Jory Mickelson will teach Spectacular, Wild, Precarious! and 1:00 to 3:00pm, Maya Jewell Zeller and Laura Read will teach The American Character & The Personal Pronoun.

On Saturday, November 17, 2018, 10:00am to Noon, Jane Wong will teach Revisiting the Ode, and 1:00 to 3:00pm, Bruce Beasley will teach Dreams and the Work of Poetry.

Space is limited and registration is required (all fees benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest): $30 for one workshop or $50 for both workshops offered the same day, paid by check or cash at the workshop.

Register by sending an email to boyntonpoetrycontest@hotmail.com indicating the workshop(s) you wish to take and including your name and a phone number. See the complete workshop descriptions and instructor bios on the Workshops page.

The Perfect Cover*

September 9, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Felicia Clemmons

Cover your head,
so no one touches your hair.

Cover your body,
don’t tempt anyone.

Cover your skin,
so they don’t know you’re not white.
Wouldn’t want another tragic accident.

Cover your tears,
with a smile.

Cover your sadness,
with no eye contact.
Because then, they’d see it.

Cover yourself completely.
Become invisible.
Clothe yourself in darkness.
Become smaller, less intimidating.
There, now you’re perfect.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Felicia Clemmons. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

October workshops!

September 6, 2018

Each year, the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest offers fall workshops taught by exceptional poets. This year is no exception. On Saturday, October 20, 2018, a pair of workshops and a trio of instructors will offer insight and inspiration and participants are sure to go home with drafts in hand.

From 10:00am to Noon, Jory Mickelson will present Spectacular, Wild, Precarious!

From 1:00 to 3:00pm, Maya Jewell Zeller and Laura Read will present The American Character & The Personal Pronoun.

Workshops are held at Mindport, in downtown Bellingham, Washington. Registration is required and all fees benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest: $30 for one workshop or $50 for both workshops offered the same day, paid by check or cash at the workshop.

Registration is now open. Register by sending an email to boyntonpoetrycontest@hotmail.com indicating the workshop(s) you wish to take and including your name and a phone number.

See the complete workshop descriptions and instructor bios on the Workshops page.

FisherPoets-on-Bellingham Bay

September 4, 2018

Bellingham SeaFeast 2018 is coming up on Friday, September 21, and Saturday, September 22, 2018, and that means it’s time once again for FisherPoets-on-Bellingham Bay. Modeled on the original Astoria, Oregon, FisherPoets Gathering (next up: February 22-24, 2019), the event highlights poetry, prose, and song, at various venues in downtown Bellingham, Washington, including Boundary Bay’s Mountain Room, two recently refurbished theaters within the Sylvia Center for the Arts, and Honey Moon Mead and Cider. Performers’ chapbooks, stories, CDs, photos, cards, and whatevers will be for sale in the Sylvia Center’s entrance lobby thanks to Village Books.

If you are a commercial fisher and/or find inspiration in or on the sea that fuels your art, consider signing up to perform. Read the guidelines and register to present your prose, poetry, film, or songs of the sea at FisherPoets-on-Bellingham Bay on Friday, September 21, 2018. The registration deadline for performers has been extended to Monday, September 10, 2018.

the Anacortes season

September 3, 2018

Pelican Bay poetry, a monthly reading series in Anacortes, has released its lineup of poets scheduled from September 2018 through May 2019. The readings, which generally feature two outstanding poets, are coordinated by Michael Daley and are held on Friday evenings, 7:00pm, at Pelican Bay Books. For a complete list of the poets, download the 2018-2019 Pelican Poster.

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