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.

Volcanoes of Anger*

February 7, 2021


2020 Merit Award
By Stephen Jacob Huxford, Grade 7

I
Am
Alone
With no one to save me
Walking through the depths of my own soul.
Trudging through swamps of misdoubts,
And hiking the volcanoes of my own anger.
Facing tigers and lions of fear
And seeing my happiness in the sun.
But the sun is so far away and is just a dot.
The dot of happiness in everyone’s soul.
Shrouded by darkness, anger and fear,
All this leads to death.
The death of you and me,
The death of others, and the death of the earth.

*Copyright 2020 by Stephen Jacob Huxford. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

Hope in Late Summer*

October 27, 2019


2019 Walk Award
By Stephany Vogel

Hope curled up in my hand
and slept the night away,
yet how cold and trembling
we found the thin light of day.

How steady I labored
to kindle the ashy white coals
until they bled fire,
white hot and full of holes.

I was made warm,
wrapped in a blanket of my own.
A comfort for my soul
until I could stand upright —
red, yellow, green
as summer apples in a bowl.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Stephany Vogel. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

. . . . .
Stephany Vogel is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, and a life long visual artist and community arts educator. The poem ‘Hope in Late Summer’ refers to a time of dire illness and the first sense of real recovery, in the season of late summer. This is her first published poem.

I bought a pair of earrings*

September 1, 2019


2019 Merit Award
By Quinn Moore, Grade 4

I bought a pair of earrings
They were sparkly and blue
I loved them and adored them
They were shiny and new

Then you gave me a small rock
Which was very dirty too
But I loved it even more so
Because it came from you

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Quinn Moore. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

2011*

August 25, 2019


2019 Walk Award
By Bella Flynn-Mendoza, Grade 12

Boxes of hunger sit in our cabinets
untouched
no one cooks here anymore
my stomach cries for love

Tiredness overflows the kitchen sink
it was my turn to wash the dishes
but no one paid the water bill

Across the street a happy
childhood plays on the swing
laughing with her mother

In our house laughter is a lore
our mother is the putrid perfume
of Marlboro
and happiness won’t be birthed

until tomorrow

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Bella Flynn-Mendoza. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

. . . . .
Bella Mendoza is a student that is new to poetry. She has never been published and this is her first contest. She will be graduating from Squalicum High School this year and plans to attend Seattle University in the fall. She lives in Bellingham with her grandparents, uncles and cousin.

“2011” was written about a tough time in Bella’s life that she has been thankful to work through. She hopes that writing about her experience will bring hope to others in similar situations.

Statement of purpose*

August 4, 2019


2019 Merit Award
By Carlos Martinez

Because my skin becomes a part of the sky
when the sun begins to go down and is gone

halfway beneath the horizon, and the moon
when it appears becomes my one eye looking,

I allow myself to shiver when wind blows,
that shivering a vibration that makes no sound

and allows me to vanish into darkening hues.
Because I disappear, I am not to be feared

though I remain in the darkness, assuming
the guise of a shroud or a sheet. I prefer

to say that I become bed linen, a cover, a blanket,
a quilt covered by a duvet, heavy but not,

washed both by the coming of day and its going,
made worn by their washing, that leaves an aroma

that comforts and allows sleep to come, for sleep
to become deep and for something like movies

to rise from anyone’s darkness within.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Carlos Martinez. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Duet in Five Haiku*

June 23, 2019


2019 Merit Award
By Anishka Duggal, Grade 11

At the piano
My hand crosses over yours
I don’t play the notes

Keys: our witnesses
Silent black on white eyelids
Closing at first light

Two bodies counting
Time as it moves forward now
Breaking on each beat

Our metronome wants
More than our rippling skin
As it waits sidelined

Move over now the
Practicing bench is too warm
Not meant for us both

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Anishka Duggal. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Not Yet*

June 2, 2019


2019 Walk Award
by Barbara Bloom

Not yet while the blackberries
are still just flowers and the pink bramble roses
hang off the corner of the garden fence
in a heavy tangle no
not yet as I sit in my friend’s backyard
and the image of the black truck
on the wrong side of the road returns to me
speeding toward us
and unseen birds call back and forth
from treetops or the air
while off in the distance
a weed whacker starts up
and even that is a reason to stay
and the eucalyptus fill up the sky
the sun warm on my face
with another morning
not yet
the world outside beckoning
look at me here don’t go

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Barbara Bloom. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

. . . . .
Barbara Bloom grew up on a remote coastal homestead in British Columbia. She taught English and creative writing in Santa Cruz, California, for many years and recently returned to make her home in the Northwest, where she lives with her musician husband and several rescued animals. She has published two books of poetry — On the Water Meridian and Pulling Down the Heavens.

This poem was inspired by a scary incident while driving and the powerful realization that I was not ready to leave the earth — and gratitude for the things I love about being alive.

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 and also posted on this site (at, alas, a substantially reduced size). The Contest is very fortunate to have artists who continue to do this fine work year after year. We are pleased to introduce them again here for 2019, 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. 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 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.

I’m Just A Gal*

December 2, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Megan Gillikin, grade 4

I’m just a gal walking into town,
Don’t really care if people stare.
With my big pink bright purse,
I hold the universe.
With my dark shiny blue coat
I don’t have to gloat.
With my bright yellow boots,
I turn and stare and there I see another me.
I’m just a gal walking in to town.

. . . . .
Hi, my name is Megan Gillikin. I attend Happy Valley Elementary. I love spending time outdoors and with my family. Some of my hobbies are drawing, climbing trees, writing, and swimming.

Inspiration for writing “I’m Just a Gal” came to me when in Texas while driving across country with my mom. We stopped at a gas station and the attendant called me, gal. As I looked about I noticed how people spoke with one another and that many wore cowboy boots. At the time, I had bought a big pink purse to hold a lot of toys so I wouldn’t be bored in the car and I felt I held the Universe.

I’m very happy my poem was selected, I hope you enjoy it.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Megan Gillikin. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

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