Meet the artists 2021

June 4, 2021

Each year, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest engages a small cadre of artists to interpret and illustrate the winning poems. The resulting placards are displayed on buses, in local libraries, here on The Poetry Department, and in other locations around Whatcom County, Washington. The contest is fortunate to have four devoted artists committed to the project year after year and we reintroduce them here.

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. You can get my comics through my StoreEnvy shop and my nature illustrations on mugs and pillows through Society 6. I am currently working on a graphic novel biography of Maria Sibylla Merian and the late 1600s. You can follow my research and read pages early on Patreon. I recently published a young adult sci-fi, Threadbare Memories, and have four volumes of the natural science comic anthology that I run, Awesome ‘Possum. Coming April 2022 from First Second (already available for preorder), I wrote the comic Maker Comics: Live Sustainbly, drawn by Les McClaine. My general social media (Twitter and Instagram) is angelabcomics, and my personal website is angelabcomics.com, which has links to everything, including many more comics. I am also a freelance editor, illustrator, and designer: publication.flyingdodostudio.com. 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 eight years. You can buy my prints, including the ones inspired by the poems in this contest, on Society 6 and find out more on meganhcarroll.com and on Instagram @meganhcarroll_arts.

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. Selkies, 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 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. Find out more on christianannesmith.com.

KIMBERLY WULFESTIEG
Kimberly Wulfestieg is a paper cutting, rainbow making, poetry loving mother and teacher from Northern California. She is inspired by the beautiful nature and open hearts that surround her. She is a self-taught artist who 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.

Merits*

April 25, 2021


2020 Merit Award
By J. L. Wright

Each day as a teacher, I touch a life.
I hope that it may be softly,
carefully, compassionately;
so, the fruit is not bruised.

The pear in my lunch box has brown spots
but it is still worth eating.

Filled with the warm stink of seventh grade boys,
the classroom emits possibility.

Behind clumsy arms and gangly legs,
each plot how he will
take over the world.

*Copyright 2020 by J. L. Wright. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

– – – – –
NOTE: This is the last Sunday posting of 2020 contest winners. Find links to winning poems from all contest years on the Winners page, and stay tuned to hear about 2021 winners.

Cats, cats*

April 4, 2021


2020 Walk Award
By Hayley Van Ness, Kindergarten

Cats, cats
I love cats
Cats are mine
I love cats
Cats are stripey.

*Copyright 2020 by Hayley Van Ness. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.


2020 Walk Award
By Kate Miller

I hold the dresser scarf you embroidered
with hands that once embraced me even
as they surrendered me. Roses, stained
blood on crisp white linen, green threads
vining around each flower, such delicate
beauty, this artifact of your life outliving
you even now, as do I, holding on to this
fabric, proof of your existence. I in your
womb once, you in my hands now, the
thorny connection of us pierced through.
First mother, you carry me back, I carry
you forward, faces wet with wanting,
this moment as close as we will ever get.

*Copyright 2020 by Kate Miller. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

My Body Parts*

March 7, 2021


2020 Merit Award
By Fjola Martinez, Grade 1

I have a head
I have a body
On my legs I have some paws to walk
I have a tail on my butt
I have a pair of wings to fly
I am a sphinx-snake!

*Copyright 2020 by Fjola Martinez. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

The Park*

January 10, 2021


2020 Merit Award
By John S. Green

She sat on the park bench with a book, a mug of tea,
and short chic hair—fitness, style, grace—all this in
one glance. But what I loved about her was her
children. The young son and daughter were playing

with abandon. He stood on a tree stump and
proclaimed, “Ahoy mates, the pirates are charging—
get ready for battle!” His play-mates drew their
swords. The daughter straddled a branch high up

in a tree and was singing. She waved to a bird
perched above her, and to a squirrel as it scampered
by. Meanwhile, the brother and his jolly men were
in hand-to hand combat with the pirates down by

the park’s pond. The mother lay on the grass and
closed her eyes. Her daughter, down from the tree,
raced over, and jumped on her mom, who shrieked,
and grabbed her little one—they rolled over and over

with continuous laughter. When they stopped, the girl
grabbed a clump of grass, placing in on her mom’s
head, who said, “A crown! Thank you!” The boys
were now knee deep in the water looking for frogs.

*Copyright 2020 by John S. Green. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

Window*

November 8, 2020


2020 Walk Award
By Margaux Barber, Grade 1

I look out the window it’s cold and stormy
I remember the sunny days in May
but now it’s cold in the air like the ocean
I ask mom if I can call Anarah
to come over to look at the rain outside
she says that it will be in a hour
so I wait for an hour.
Finally, she comes.
We put on our raincoats and rain boots
and go out in the rain
as fast as mice running away from a cat.

*Copyright 2020 by Margaux Barber. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

– – – – –
NOTE: Beginning with today’s post, a Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest 2020 winning poem will be posted each Sunday and then linked on the Winners page. Congratulations to all the poets, and huge thanks to the artists who illustrated the placards. Enjoy!

Jane*

October 13, 2019


2019 Merit Award
By Elliot Stockman, Grade 6

There once was a young girl named Jane,
Who lived in England, and took lots of trains,
She walked on the track,
And with a loud “Thwack!”
She ended up flying to Spain.

In Spain, they all rode on bikes, of course,
But what surprised her was they all spoke in Norse
She wanted a pie,
But she encountered a sigh,
And she ended up eating a horse.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Elliot Stockman. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

Unable to see far*

October 6, 2019


2019 Walk Award
By Luci Shaw

Unable to see far, I write
what’s near. How snow
responds to footprints and
the garden to a spade.
How my cat’s small lion face
softens under my caress.
How words fall through me
like water, though some
thicken into thoughts
like scars. How the two chairs
on our deck, each a foot deep
in snow, face each other as if
conversing about the weather.
How, today, when I
complained of cold,
my husband covered me
with the old green blanket
and I napped and dreamed
of summer. How this afternoon
one robin, having arrived
early, sits now on the
power line, thinking to himself
this is not so smart.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Luci Shaw. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

. . . . .
Luci Shaw was born in London, England, in 1928. A poet and essayist, since 1986 she has been Writer in Residence at Regent College, Vancouver. Author of over thirty-five books of poetry and creative non-fiction, her writing has appeared in numerous literary and religious journals. In 2013 she received the 10th annual Denise Levertov Award for Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. Her new collection, Eye of the Beholder, was released by Paraclete Press in 2018. She lives with her husband, John Hoyte, in Bellingham, Washington.

Thirteen*

September 29, 2019


2019 Merit Award
By Susan Cohen Raphael

At thirteen
I was put in jail
for running away from home

I remember well
that first night in one small room
with four closed walls
a bare bed
a sink
a mirror
one small high barred window
a door with barred minuscule opening

I remember the sounds of voices
and the sound of free movement in the hall
I remember the lights of the city
the stars in the sky
I remember crying

It was Christmas night
and I was frightened
and I was alone

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Susan Cohen Raphael. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

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