November 26, 2020

poem and art © j.i. kleinberg


November 28, 2019

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.


November 22, 2018


December 31, 2016


Warmest thanks to each of you for showing up here, for liking, commenting, and sharing. Thanks for sending along your own poetry news for these posts and for bringing more poetry into your community and the world. Whatever the challenges in the year ahead, poetry will help us express our doubts, certainties, and wonder, and will accompany us into our solitude and our gatherings.

Your host and companion, J.I. Kleinberg
The Poetry Department, post #2320, 31 December 2016.


November 27, 2014

Have an abundant and appreciative Thanksgiving!

…and thanks!

August 23, 2013

2013 - sponsor plaque

Generous support for the 2013 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest has been provided by:
Anonymous | Luther Allen | Bruce Beasley | Angela Belcaster
Bellingham Public Library | James Bertolino
the Boynton Family
Solon R. Boynton III & Sharon K. Boynton
Jerry & Beth Brownfield | BTV10 | Nancy Canyon
Ciao Thyme | Jennifer Lee Cottrell | Kat & Ed DeVaney
George & Mary Ann Drake | Sandra Dutton | Egress Studio
Susan J. Erickson & George Lindeman
Mary Elizabeth Gillilan | Norman Green & Sherwin Sarjeant
Elizabeth Kerwin | J.I. Kleinberg | David & Judith Laws
Paul Little | Tim & Suzanne Lucy | Andrew Shattuck McBride
Brenda Miller | Martin & Sheila Nickerson
Dr. & Mrs. L. Tim Nielsen, grandson of Sue Boynton
Jon Orvik | Judith Orvik | Jan Crook Pierson
Chuck & Dee Robinson | Kimberly Roe | Ellie Rogers
Boris Schleinkofer | Colleen & Harvey Schwartz
Sheila Sondik & Paul Sarvasy | Threshold Documents
Village Books | Denise Weeks | Kelly Welles
Whatcom Educational Credit Union | Whatcom Poetry Series
Whatcom Transportation Authority
the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest committee
and of course the poets of Whatcom County, Washington


April 20, 2013

Today is M-day. No, not that M-day; that one’s not for another few weeks. This M-day is marked only by this, the one-thousandth (the “Mth” if you will) post on the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest blog.

Since July 2010, these posts have wandered far from the Whatcom County, Washington, poetry contest that inspired them to explore poetry walks, prompts, inspirational quotes, great websites, readings, publications and other poetry-centric topics, primarily in Washington State, but frequently beyond. We continue to be dazzled by the world’s creativity and excited to share it.

To those of you who subscribe, a particularly robust THANK YOU. If you haven’t yet subscribed, we invite you, encourage you, to do so today. We are grateful to each of you who visit, Like, comment, bookmark or share what you’ve discovered here. We welcome your input and hope you will add a link to the Boynton blog on your own site.

Thank you…and now onward toward MC.

Taste for Poetry 2013

April 19, 2013

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest held its annual fundraising event, Taste for Poetry, this week. David M. Laws regaled us with poems and stories and Ciao Thyme dazzled our palates with five courses of amazing food.

In the spirit of the evening, table groups of diners collaborated on “exquisite corpse” poems. Each group started with a line of poetry about food, each person adding a line with only the immediately-preceding line visible. Here are the resulting poems and links (where available) to the full text of the opening line poems.

first course

How easily happiness begins by | dicing onions*
Aromatic bulbs divide for your tears of joy
For sweet and bitter, both make you cry
Warm tears rolled down my cold cheeks
Winter: what’s in you, even sadness, is warmer than what’s out.
Spicy condiment, good for what ails you
but don’t worry – ailments are 10 to 6
dozen just like Rhode Island reds
Eggs broken – layers do not lie
Truth spreads out invisible to all

*from “Onions” by William Matthews

Mattaio and Jessica prep

Brussels sprouts are Siamese | twins joined at the spine*
lightly salted, they taste divine
and who you eat them you feel most fine
and you can also drink to feel fine
or eat to feel even better, enjoying life’s subtleties
But there’s nothing subtle about eating –
especially in such good company as this.
Alas, subtlety is soooo overrated!
Ditto, modesty, simplicity, etc.

*from “Brussels Sprouts” by Lorna Crozier


The World begins at a kitchen table*
Salt and pepper shake each other
Do the cha-cha
Ah ha
He thought to himself I must have her
But he bought the old beer.
Time to go to the woods and out of sight.
With dog by your side & hubby behind
A ray of light shine through a curtain of one thing
we’re still not certain…

*from “Perhaps the World Ends Here” by Jo Harjo


“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said | “is what we chiefly need:”*
A glass of wine with be just fine the harbor seal read.
Morning, noon and night the train clanks by
The sound of the whistle brings a smile to my eye.
But the crossings cause us to stop and wonder.
It’s the hooting of the engine, the cry of the gulls that awakens
The wind that whispers ‘migrate’ to the sleeping soul;
A palmful of ocean, running meager currents over galvanized flesh; the sun, bedded down between sheets of rain; &
The turquoise merged with seafoam, then to silver before the sun disappeared.

*from “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll

Ciao Thyme preps

Sometimes I would like to turn and live | among the vegetarians*
where the safety of the plants
Guard, protect against the elements
with the wooly feelers of a scarf poking inwards
clasping, grasping, wrapping me warmly in words
And then the sudden, shocking, shattering burst of icy cold
oooh wicki woo shoo wip wip zowie yum yam boom!
Spice me in your skillet, baby, va va voom!

*from “Among the Vegetarians” by Nancy Pagh


I love the sound of the bone against the plate*
but the sound of the ocean is bright
so bright it overwhelms all my senses
My toes tingle thinking of the white
beast talking after my feet in the broccoli
Its shadow becoming more umbrella like
A penumbra to benumbya comes over us all.

*from “Osso Buco” by Billy Collins
. . . . .
Photos of Taste for Poetry 2013 food and prep with special thanks to Kat deVaney and Nancy Canyon

YouTube logoThe poets are here! Thanks to Bellingham Television (BTV10), 23 of the winning poets from the 2012 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest have been recorded reading their poems. The short clips run on BTV10 between other programming and they can now be viewed on the Sue Boynton Poetry channel on YouTube.

The Contest is deeply grateful to BTV10, and, in particular to Dal Neitzel and to the cameraman, DJ, who did so much to make the poets comfortable and the experience enjoyable. Thank you!

And as long as we’re saying thanks, we’d like to extend our gratitude to the many poets and friends of poetry who read these posts, who click Like, who leave Comments and who find information and inspiration here.

Thank you and best wishes for a very delicious Thanksgiving!

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