a mother poem

May 9, 2021

Elizabeth Vignali ~ My Mother's Afterlife

In honor of Mother’s Day, we repost “My Mother’s Afterlife” by Elizabeth Vignali. The poem was selected as a 2012 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest Merit Award winner and Vignali is currently serving as a judge for the 2021 contest. You can see her on Zoom at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

My Mother’s Afterlife
By Elizabeth Vignali

She prepares for our arrival —
brushes pine needles off the table,
unfurls the checkered cloth
with a snap
of her wrist.
Mourning doves hush
as she stacks clacking
kindling next to the firepit
dead with ashes.
When she ceases
they cry to each other
across the shrouding mist.
She sets out canvas
camping chairs and rests
in the one nearest the pond.
She has years to wait.

A nymph lumbers from under
the verdant surface
onto a cow lily and dances
into its dragonfly shape.
New wings unfurled, it sees her
with many eyes.
It clings to the old body, its pale
new one jewelling blue-green.

*Copyright 2012 by Elizabeth Vignali. Placard design by Egress Studio.

call for poems

March 1, 2021

The 2021 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest is now open for submissions from Whatcom County, Washington, poets of all ages and experience. You can learn more about this year’s judges here and see the complete guidelines and submission details on the 2021 Contest page.

Also, a reminder for student poets: John S Green will offer a free Children’s Poetry Workshop, this Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 11:00am-12:15pm. Participation does not guarantee that your poem will be selected as a winner, but it’s sure to be fun. Advance registration is required.

meet the judges: 2021

January 4, 2021

While the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest won’t open for submissions until March 2021 and the guidelines have not yet been updated, the judges have been selected and we are pleased to introduce them here.

A 2016 Jack Straw Fellow, Artist Trust Fellow, and nominee for a Stranger Genius Award, Robert Lashley has had work published in The Seattle Review of Books, NAILED, Poetry Northwest, McSweeney’s, and The Cascadia Review. His poetry was also featured in such anthologies as Many Trails to The Summit, Foot Bridge Above The Falls, Get Lit, Make It True, and It Was Written. His previous books include THE HOMEBOY SONGS (Small Doggies Press, 2014), and UP SOUTH (Small Doggies Press, 2017). His next book, THE GREEN RIVER VALLEY, will be published by Blue Cactus Press in 2021.
 
 
Elizabeth Vignali is the author of three chapbooks, the most recent of which is Endangered [Animal] (Floating Bridge Press 2019), and the poetry collection House of the Silverfish (Unsolicited Press 2021). Her work has appeared in Willow Springs, Cincinnati Review, Mid-American Review, Tinderbox, The Literary Review, and others. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she works as an optician, produces the Bellingham Kitchen Session reading series, and serves as poetry editor of Sweet Tree Review.

The 2021 Contest guidelines will be posted on the 2021 Contest page as soon as they are available. Meanwhile, please enjoy the Sunday postings of the 2020 winning poems…and, if you happen to live in Whatcom County, Washington, start planning your submission.

real poetry, virtually

October 2, 2020

Bellingham’s favorite independent bookstore, Village Books, has stepped up their schedule of virtual readings. On Sunday, October 11, 2020, at 4:00pm, Alice Derry, Richard Widerkehr, Gayle Kaune, and Jordan Hartt will read from their latest.

On Friday, October 16, at 5:00pm, the amazing Luci Shaw will read from her brand-new book (her 38th!), The Generosity.

On Saturday, October 24, at 2:00pm, Bellingham poets John Green and Christen Mattix will talk about their new book, Whimsy Park: Poems for the Whole Family.

And on Sunday, October 25, at 4:00pm, Alexandra Teague and Elizabeth Vignali will read from their latest collections.

Come what may, on the last Monday of the month at 7:00pm Seán Dwyer emcees the Village Books Virtual Open Mic.

These events are all free, but advance registration is required (and book purchases are deeply appreciated). Mark your calendar and follow the event links above to find more information about authors, books, and registration.

Poem Booth time again!

January 7, 2020

The Bellingham Poem Booth once again invites submissions from Whatcom County, Washington, residents. The winning poem is displayed for three months on the Forest Street side of the downtown Bellingham Co-op. Winning and runner-up poems are posted on the Poem Booth blog. The deadline is midnight, Saturday, February 15, 2020 and the guidelines are here.

The Poem Booth, which has been ably guided by a handful of volunteers since its inception, now has a new team: John S. Green, Rachel Mehl, Rena Preist, Sheila Sondik, and Elizabeth Vignali.

silver anniversary reading

October 21, 2019

Floating Bridge Press is 25 and will celebrate the occasion with release readings from the 2019 Chapbook Competition winner, Katrina Roberts, finalist, Elizabeth Vignali, and the inaugural winner of the Evergreen Award Tour Full-length competition, Jory Mickelson.

Join in the celebration at The Elliott Bay Book Company on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 3:00pm.

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.

Get thee to Cafe Zippy in Everett, tonight, Thursday, August 3, 2017, 6:30pm, as Everett Poetry Night features the astute and engaging Elizabeth Vignali along with musical guest Tanner Deraitus.

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.

Workshops!

September 20, 2016

Honey Moon

Each autumn, the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest holds a series of short, dynamic poetry workshops taught by regional poets. The fall lineup is now in place, with two workshops scheduled on Saturday, October 8, 2016, and two more on Saturday, November 5, 2016.

You can read the workshop descriptions and see the instructor bios on the Workshops page.

Workshops will be held at Honey Moon Mead and Cider (see photo), which is located in the alley behind Pepper Sisters, 1053 N. State Street, Bellingham, Washington.

Registration is required and all fees benefit the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest: $30 for one workshop or $50 for both workshops offered the same day, 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.

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