The judges for the 2017 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest are Jacob Hartsoch and Laura Laffrado. As always, after submissions are closed (March 31) the judges will both read every single poem that is submitted (without knowing the name of the poet) and will then work together to select the Walk and Merit winners.

Jacob HartsochJacob Hartsoch grew up in a small Montana town and was inspired by Richard Hugo’s poetry about local places he knew and loved. His work has been selected three times in the annual Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest and he is the recipient of the Gonzaga University Costello Award in poetry. He lives in Bellingham with his wife and two young boys and is currently excited about wind, water, and reducing his family’s carbon footprint. Photo by Sheila Carson.

Laura LaffradoLaura Laffrado’s current work is focused on returning forgotten Pacific Northwest writer Ella Rhoads Higginson to literary prominence. Her most recent book is Selected Writings of Ella Higginson: Inventing Pacific Northwest Literature (2015). Laffrado is also author of Uncommon Women: Gender and Representation in Nineteenth-Century US Women’s Writing (2009, 2015) and other books and essays. She is Professor of English at Western Washington University.

This year’s guidelines are posted on the 2017 Contest page.

Guidelines posted!

January 26, 2017

2017-guidelines

Whatcom County (Washington) poets, the guidelines for the 2017 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest are now posted on the 2017 Contest page.

A pair of terrific poetry workshops are on offer this Saturday, November 5, 2016, at Honey Moon Mead and Cider in Bellingham. Space is limited and registration is required. All fees benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest: $30 for one workshop or $50 for both, 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. Please bring writing materials.

Judy Kleinberg10:00am – Noon
J.I. (Judy) Kleinberg

Finding Poems: a hands-on workshop

In this fun and fast-paced workshop, Judy Kleinberg will offer an overview of found poetry techniques and an opportunity for you to experiment and identify the ones that resonate for you. You’ll discover ways to add found elements to more conventional-form poems and to use found prompts to kick-start new work. Some materials will be provided, but your writing notebook, pens, paper, scissors, junk mail, magazines (or books you’re willing to cut up), and glue sticks will be very welcome.

Kami Westhoff1:00 – 3:00pm
Elizabeth VignaliKami Westhoff and Elizabeth Vignali

Why Write Collaboratively?

Most people think of writing as a solitary act, yet ultimately the goal of the writer is to connect with the reader. Through collaboration, the writer can connect in a more immediate, tangible way. Writing with others can rejuvenate a sometimes lonely process, allowing the writer to be both contributor and reader, enhancing their perception and bringing into focus the goal of that ultimate connection with the reader.

One of the wonderful things about collaboration is that there are nearly as many ways to collaborate as there are types of people, so anyone can find a collaborative process that works for them. In this workshop, we’ll engage in various collaborative exercises that highlight our strengths, as well as encourage us to venture outside our comfort zones and ultimately enable us to grow as writers.

Knowing another writer’s name will be attached to your piece of writing can push us to work a bit harder to find that image that sears into the reader’s consciousness, to offer that perspective that incites action or a quiet moment’s reprieve, to render that scene in a way that promises the reader that even in a lonely world there are profound connections to be made, not the least of which come through the written word.

Learn more about the instructors on the Workshops page.

Wrong a lot*

October 30, 2016

Wrong a lot by Timothy Pilgrim
2016 Walk Award
By Timothy Pilgrim

Lake’s plenty deep, dive off the cliff.
She’s crazy about me. Those jeans
will fit. I’ll be there for her

if the going gets tough. No chance
it will rain, I know when to shut up.
I don’t need directions,

they adore me at work. I’ve studied
enough, no doubt I’ll be rich.
We have plenty of gas,

she doesn’t like gifts. Our love
will survive. We don’t need cash,
I’m sober, can drive. It’s just fine

to speed. I will never get caught.
I know she’ll call, she wouldn’t leave.
I won’t miss her at all.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Timothy Pilgrim. Broadside illustrated by Mat Hudson.

Willow Trees*

October 23, 2016

Willow Trees by Winter Gariss
2016 Walk Award
By Winter Gariss (11th grade)

Wandering willows weep and wallow with wonder,
Idealistic breeze indigenous to the infamous trees.
Nature nurtures their nostalgic leaves while new
Trees become tied together throughout
Endless roots entangled under ebony earthen soil
Rounded rough bark reaches up and royal
Green leaves gallantly gleaming in the
Atmosphere. Almost aligned with the
Round radiant stars romantic in the night.
Icy and incapacitating beauty of
Snow softly slipping sideways in to the willow’s arms
So soundly sleeping, the world will stay.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Winter Gariss. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

The Spelling Bee*

October 16, 2016

The Spelling Bee by Marlene Chasson
2016 Walk Award
By Marlene Chasson

I walk down the hall to her room.
She is in her chair, eyes closed, hands folded,
her afghan across her knees.
But she is not really there.
She is back in her sixth grade classroom
standing in front of the blackboard
waiting for her teacher to pronounce the next word.
She spells c-a-t-e-g-o-r-i-c-a-l-l-y correctly
and is almost back to her seat
when I say, “Hello there, how are you today?”
She slowly opens her eyes, remembers where she is
And tries not to show her disappointment
when she sees me standing there
with a vase of flowers in my hand.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Marlene Chasson. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

The Following Monday*

October 9, 2016

The Following Monday by Roger William Gilman
2016 Merit Award
By Roger William Gilman

The Following Monday: a Grief Observed
For my mother, dead on Wednesday, buried on Saturday

I stop walking      and look down.

Beneath my boots
the black leaves and red needles
having lain long
in the ruts of the logging road
create a chicory tea
from a stream of sunlight
flowing through the late hemlocks and maples
in this small ditch
filling with seeping water,
steeping a puddle of feeling without meaning
beneath a broken gray and gilded sky,
a tea for one not newly come to love, one
whose memory does not easily fall away.

I stop dreaming      and look up
interrupted by a wedge of geese
flying back the other way — home.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Roger William Gilman. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

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