June 16, 2019

2019 Merit Award
By Lucas Cunningham

I felt my head — with wings of silk
Off of my shoulders fly
It chirped — but once — before the Dusk
Did fill the auburn sky

I thought to think I could not think
Forsaken was my Mind —
And in its place beneath my neck
The Face it left behind

Blind and bereft — all that was Left
Once nightward thoughts had flown —
A gasping mouth — upon my Heart
A face but left Alone

I know not now where flew my Head
Nor how it felt to Die —
But I know grief — the Hunger of
The Anthropophagi

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Lucas Cunningham. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

. . . . .
Lucas Cunningham is a senior at Sehome High School. He will be attending Pomona College, where he plans to study environmental science and creative writing. This is his first published poem, but he hopes to pursue more writing opportunities in the future.

“Anthropophagi” was inspired by the author’s AP Lit class. While reading Othello, the class stumbled upon a particularly intriguing illustration, and so the “anthropophagi” became a kind of motif throughout the year. The poem is written in the style of Emily Dickinson, but its heart will always remain with Ms. Nyman’s 3rd period class.



June 9, 2019

2019 Merit Award
By Porter Chesbrough, Grade 6

Going everywhere
On the earth
Every day
For there are places to go.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Porter Chesbrough. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

. . . . .
My name is Porter Chesbrough, I am in 6th grade, and I go to Whatcom Middle School. I am 12 years old, and I am an active kid, I like to ski, run, mountain bike, doodle, play soccer, and more. I do not really have much experience in writing poetry.

I wrote this poem for a poetry unit in my 6th grade language arts class. Mr. Owens is a great teacher and inspired me. It is a cinquain poem about people, animals, and other things going everywhere.

Not Yet*

June 2, 2019

2019 Walk Award
by Barbara Bloom

Not yet while the blackberries
are still just flowers and the pink bramble roses
hang off the corner of the garden fence
in a heavy tangle no
not yet as I sit in my friend’s backyard
and the image of the black truck
on the wrong side of the road returns to me
speeding toward us
and unseen birds call back and forth
from treetops or the air
while off in the distance
a weed whacker starts up
and even that is a reason to stay
and the eucalyptus fill up the sky
the sun warm on my face
with another morning
not yet
the world outside beckoning
look at me here don’t go

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Barbara Bloom. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

. . . . .
Barbara Bloom grew up on a remote coastal homestead in British Columbia. She taught English and creative writing in Santa Cruz, California, for many years and recently returned to make her home in the Northwest, where she lives with her musician husband and several rescued animals. She has published two books of poetry — On the Water Meridian and Pulling Down the Heavens.

This poem was inspired by a scary incident while driving and the powerful realization that I was not ready to leave the earth — and gratitude for the things I love about being alive.

summer Sundays

June 1, 2019

You’re invited to a first-Sunday-of-the-month
poetry reading
at 5:00pm
by the book box
at 1507 Larrabee,
in Bellingham.

Featured poets are
Kevin Murphy (June 2),
Carla Shafer (July 7),
Luther Allen (August 4),
and You (open mic, September 1, 2019, followed by a potluck).

Thanks to Jeni Cottrell for the idea and the venue!


May 26, 2019

2019 Walk Award
by Margaux Barber, Kindergarten

Bones are teeth.
Bones are bloody.
Bones are in my body.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Margaux Barber. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

the gift of poetry

May 21, 2019

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest has numerous reasons to be grateful to George F. Drake. Here are two:

  • In 1976, as a member of the Bellingham City Council, George organized a ceremony to honor those who served in elective office. A highlight of the event, held at Western Washington University, was the presence of Sue C. Boynton, then 95. George escorted her to the podium where she read a poem of her own followed by a message sent for the occasion by President Gerald Ford. In 2005, George approached Sue Boynton’s daughter, Ethel Boynton Crook, to propose naming a community poetry contest to honor Sue C. Boynton. She agreed, and the first Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest and Poetry Walk was held in 2006 with the enthusiastic support of the extended Boynton family.
  • A stalwart champion of the Contest through the intervening years, George Drake took the podium at the May 16, 2019, awards ceremony, where he presented the above photo of himself with Sue C. Boynton taken by Tore Ofteness at that 1976 event. He then presented the contest committee with an exceedingly generous surprise: a check for $10,000 to express his belief in the importance of this community poetry contest and to assure its continuation in the years to come.

Beyond the evening’s raucous and prolonged applause, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest and all the past, present, and future poets of Whatcom County, and their fans, owe George Drake a huge THANK YOU.

Each of the 25 winning poems in the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is illustrated with flair and care by one of four artists. The resulting placards are displayed in Whatcom Transportation Authority buses for a full year and also posted on this site (at, alas, a substantially reduced size). The Contest is very fortunate to have artists who continue to do this fine work year after year. We are pleased to introduce them again here for 2019, in their own words:

Angela Boyle
As a cartoonist and natural science illustrator, I like to blend my passions together into both nonfiction and science fiction comics. My focus is the natural world: the plants and animals we can see and interact with, or at least potentially interact with. It is not surprising that I focus on nature. I have always been surrounded by animals. Two weeks before I was born, my parents’ borzoi, Domino, birthed a litter. They were so busy raising me, they never really got around to selling the puppies as intended. Then with my brother coming along, we all moved out to the country. They bought a house (it came with a cow!) and quickly filled the land with horses, a pony, chickens, turkeys, and other animals. Even without the added domestic animals, I was playing with frogs and raising the tadpoles from our pond. And I was drawing and writing and reading. And I am still drawing, writing, and reading. I draw comics, which you can get on Storeenvy, and paint nature, which you can get on mugs and pillows from Society 6. And I am reading/researching Maria Sibylla Merian and the late 1600s in preparation for a graphic novel biography. You can follow my research on Patreon. I have a sci-fi comic on tumblr and an autobio comic on tumblr. My general social media (Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram) is angelabcomics, and my personal website is, which has links to everything, including many more comics. I am also a freelance editor, illustrator, and designer: Photo Copyright Abe Olson.

Megan 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 made my home in Bellingham for the last 6 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.

Christian Anne 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 Wulfestieg
is a paper cutting, rainbow loving, poetry flowing mother and teacher. Originally from Northern California, she made her way to Bellingham seven 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. She runs the Natural Learning Center in Bellingham and loves to share her joy of art and words with the children she works with. Also known as K. Wulfe, more of her work can be seen on Facebook at K. Wulfe and followed on Instagram @kimwulfy.

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