and yes, round five…

December 31, 2018

Just when you think everyone has weighed in on the best books of 2018…

Happy New Year!

round four…

December 24, 2018

The year’s favorites just keep stacking up:

these Sundays

December 23, 2018

For the past 25 Sundays, this space has featured the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poems and the beautiful placards designed for each poem (now circulating in Whatcom County buses). We’ve completed the round of 2018 winners, but if you’d care to re-visit them, or any of the Boynton winners since 2006, go to the Winners page and click on a poem name.

The 2019 contest will be open to Whatcom County poets for the month of March and the guidelines will be posted as soon as the judges have been confirmed and the details have been finalized by the contest committee.

Meanwhile, thanks for your poems, thanks for your visits to The Poetry Department, and Happy Holidays!

round three

December 18, 2018

And yet more year’s-best-poetry lists:


2018 Merit Award
By Roger William Gilman

I have never in my life
given orders to the morning
or sent the dawn to its post
Told it to grasp earth by its tail
and shake the shining out of it.

I have never in my life
seen a star’s dark socket
or met the janitors of shadows
Visited the place where snow is stored
or made water hard as stone.

And I’ve never in my life
hacked a path for thunder
or tilted the flasks of heaven
To melt dry clods to mud:
I’ve never conjured weather.

Yet at the point of a pen
I’ll demand of my ink
a passion/ pulse/ and power/
To make you laugh and sing
as if skies weren’t always grey.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Roger William Gilman. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

PEN America has announced the longlists for the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards, including 10 semi-finalists for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation (judged by Sinan Antoon, Ewa Chrusciel, Peter Filkins, Katrine Øgaard Jensen).

The finalists for all book awards will be announced in January 2019. The winners will be celebrated at the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony on February 26 at the NYU Skirball Center in NYC.

Founded in 1922, PEN America is the largest of the more than 100 centers worldwide that make up the PEN International network. PEN America works to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others.

underestimated*

December 9, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Allie Haugen, grade 10

i will write words you do not like
i will write words you do not agree with
& i will write the words i am afraid to say aloud

but i am not you.
you see, we do not have the same mind

we must disagree
but i will not be made small.

do not misunderstand,
listen closely

my voice is just as valid as yours
i will not be a duplicated version of you

i do not want to be you.
i want to be me

. . . . .
Allie Haugen has never published or even thought of writing poetry until now. The first poem she wrote won this contest. She currently lives with her parents in the county, cheering for the Meridian Trojans and writing whenever she gets a chance.

“underestimated” was inspired by everything that I have yet to write. Reading Rupi Kaur and R.H. Sin made me realize that poetry did not have to be boring and complicated. Poetry did not have to be like what we read in school. I could write something of my own. This is the beginning of everything to come.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Allie Haugen. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

round two

December 8, 2018

Okay, here’s the next set of bests:

Tonight: peaceful poetry

December 5, 2018

Come spend an hour honoring some of Whatcom County’s talented young writers as winners of the 2018 Youth Peace Poetry Contest read their poems. Presented by the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center and Village Books, the reading starts at 6:30pm in the Village Books Readings Gallery in Bellingham. Luther Allen emcees.

I’m Just A Gal*

December 2, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Megan Gillikin, grade 4

I’m just a gal walking into town,
Don’t really care if people stare.
With my big pink bright purse,
I hold the universe.
With my dark shiny blue coat
I don’t have to gloat.
With my bright yellow boots,
I turn and stare and there I see another me.
I’m just a gal walking in to town.

. . . . .
Hi, my name is Megan Gillikin. I attend Happy Valley Elementary. I love spending time outdoors and with my family. Some of my hobbies are drawing, climbing trees, writing, and swimming.

Inspiration for writing “I’m Just a Gal” came to me when in Texas while driving across country with my mom. We stopped at a gas station and the attendant called me, gal. As I looked about I noticed how people spoke with one another and that many wore cowboy boots. At the time, I had bought a big pink purse to hold a lot of toys so I wouldn’t be bored in the car and I felt I held the Universe.

I’m very happy my poem was selected, I hope you enjoy it.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Megan Gillikin. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.