The Blue Whale*

August 5, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Elizabeth Vignali

I was lamplight when night fell. I was speared
and flensed, minced and melted.

I was notched from upper jaw to tail fluke
with your insufficient rulers.

I was lather and varnish, fabric and rope.
I was corset, collar, whip and toy.

You brought home my rorqual heart.
Displayed my boat-large parchment

skull in dusty museums.
You drove cars beneath my arched ribs.

But you could not catch my decibel moan,
my hymn to the silver path.

I am barnacle coven and seaweed plantation.
I am a salt-slapped planet to a thousand

open-mouthed moons. We sing louder than your
engines. We sing despite the sonar shroud.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Elizabeth Vignali. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

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2018 Walk Award
By Tanner Abernathy

I burn cigarettes in a bowl for my father.
I fill my kitchen with the hard smell
that would cling to his shirts and his chin
like lichen on stones.
I like to burn several at once.
I fan a hanky over the bowl
stuff it in my back pocket
wadding the hanky tightly like a white ball of cancer
before I leave the house,
carrying my father with me as I go about my day.

. . . . .
Tanner Abernathy enjoys writing poetry and he sold one for five dollars once, has a degree in Creative Writing from WWU, and is starting a Master of Arts in Teaching program this coming fall. Tanner is a newlywed who enjoys walking with his wife, mentoring middle schoolers, and trying to make the earth a little cleaner and a little more thoughtful.

The idea for “Remembering his One Small Comfort” comes from the very natural question of ‘how do we remember our dead parents?’ “The only strong description I ever received of my mother’s father was his continual smoking of cherry-scented tobacco; since he died while my mother was in Junior High, I often think of how she carried his memory.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Tanner Abernathy. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

meet the artists

May 12, 2018

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.

We introduce the four artists here, 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 angelaboyle.flyingdodostudio.com, which has links to everything, including many more comics. 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.

Winter Witch*

October 29, 2017


2017 Walk Award
By Mariah Brown-Pounds

I have a craving for crocuses.
I have a deep down belly ache
for little green bud nubbins on the indian plum,
for fuzzy nettle noggins that poke up in muddy meadows.
I have an urge for the urgency of bursting bulbs,
for pink flashes of salmonberry in the shadows,
for apple blossom rain on my nose,
the surprised bee who surprises me.
Fluorescent forsythia why have you forsaken me?

Someday when there are flowers again
I will make a potion
of all the green plants that I can find.
I will pull them up by the roots:
boil them in spring water
with sky blue robin eggs, bumble
bees, and the song of frogs
with salt and pepper to taste.
I will distill every last detail of Spring
into a delicious broth
to tide me through the winter months.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Mariah Brown-Pounds. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

Princess and Maiden*

October 1, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Ruby Thomas, 4th Grade

Even princess and maiden come together like the wind,
When old Mrs. Locket calls,
“Good morning! Good morning to all.
Well wishes to all of yo!”
Then dog and cat
Hawk and mouse,
Good and bad,
Come together like all is well, like all is well,
While princess and maiden stand hand in hand,
Looking out the window.

. . . . .
Ruby Thomas is in 5th grade at Happy Valley Elementary. She loves animals and has three cats and one dog. This is her first published poem, and she thought it up while looking out the window.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Ruby Thomas. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

Wonder*

September 10, 2017


2017 Merit Award
By Jim Milstead

She looks outside,
     wonders
     when the first green sprouts of spring will appear.
The grey streets are streaked with with rain.
     wonders
if her friends would like to come inside to play

Nearby the white-haired woman, brush in hand,
     faces an empty canvas,
     wonders whether she should join the other marchers
to change the world.

. . . . .
Jim Milstead was “Born in Chicago. Moved to Fresno, CA. Entered the Marine Corps, occupying northern China. Graduated from Fresno State College. Worked at the Linear Accelerator in Livermore, Ca. Entered graduate school, spending 35 years as a biological control researcher at UC Berkeley. Moved to Bellingham in 1992. Now I write.” He is author of the poetry books Collage and Scenario.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Jim Milstead. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

Abuela*

August 6, 2017


2017 Walk Award
By Julio Enriquez, 12th Grade

Who drinks tea in the morning
And reads the Bible each afternoon,
Who is short as a Mini Cooper
And has hair white as snow.
Prays to God in the morning and at night,
Thanking Him for another day of life.

Who is genuine care,
From Te Amo and I miss you.
Who doesn’t care if her clothes don’t match,
Or the shape of her hair in the morning.
Who tells stories twice, distracted easily
by the view out the window.
Who likes to eat sweets as a little snack,
When told she isn’t allowed.
Takes advantage of non-guaranteed days.

Who wears her lavender purple gown,
As she kisses me goodnight.
Who always walks with one foot forward,
leaving a trail of old perfume and love.

Who waited for us on that brown plush couch
When we came home from school.

. . . . .
This is Julio’s debut as a writer. He attends Squalicum High School and will be graduating this June and become part of the class of 2017. This fall he plans to attend the University of Washington to pursue a business major. Although this is Julio’s first time having his writing published, he is a published artist, too, with his 2nd grade drawing of a turtle on the back of one of the WTA buses. Friends and family are very important to him, and he wants to thank everyone for all their support from the past years that helped him be where he is today.

“I wrote ‘Abuela’ in my creative writing class one afternoon. I was inspired to write this poem because I wanted to do something to honor my Grandma. She unfortunately passed away about 2 years ago but she will forever be in my heart. I hope my poem can mean something special for everyone that reads it, just like it is for me.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Julio Enriquez. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

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