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.

Ocean waves*

March 28, 2021


2020 Walk Award
By Katen Van Harmelen, Grade 6

I am standing on the beach of the ocean,
The cool water reaching out
Just barely washing my toes.
The hot sun is warming my back,
The damp sand is cooling my feet,
I feel remarkably calm.
The sparkling waves are calling to me,
But I don’t go.
The water is dancing at my feet,
Daring me to chase them
As they retreat back to the ocean.
Finally,
I can’t help it any longer,
As the waves wash up to taunt me again,
I splash into them.
I chase them all the way until I am knee deep,
And then they start building up,
I run back to shore,
And turn around just as the wave crashes,
And becomes a ripple,
Washing over my feet once more.

*Copyright 2020 by Katen Van Harmelen. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Leftover*

February 21, 2021


2020 Merit Award
By Alexandra M. Lucas

Left over
Fruit left off the vine too long without being eaten
Left instead to decay
In the back of a crate
In some cheery farmer’s market
With no air conditioning

Almost all sold
We did well
Good enough!

Now I must do the proper thing —
Collapse into myself
On the bruises and patches of skin
That have lost their softness

Fade from view
So the ones approaching ripeness
Won’t be afraid

A cautionary tale

Look away, now
Look away

*Copyright 2020 by Alexandra M. Lucas. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

the basket weaver*

February 14, 2021


2020 Merit Award
By Penelope Keep, Grade 8

behold the basket
gaze upon the careful weave
each piece of cedar bark cut
each wicklike willow strand maneuvered
into its own
the next no different,
not the same

between the folds, each resource glints
giving itself up
being taken in
by the calloused hands who remember
that each tall tree, each abandoned ribbon of sap
creates a bigger, a better, a more beautiful
whole

and the hole, just there, is it also beautiful?
the frustration, the imperfection, the dropped stitch
machines could gloss each one without care,
no thought, no need for a furrowed brow that beads
the racing mind of the man
who sits, surrounded by his own creation
upon the garden he harvests from

*Copyright 2020 by Penelope Keep. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

The Bear*

January 17, 2021


2020 Walk Award
By Suzanne Harris

If grief is an animal, make it a bear
hibernating cold and hard
in the back-cave of your heart.
In the restlessness of spring,
groggy, hungry, it will rise without warning
gnawing its pain straight through.
There will be no escape
for the soft pulsing of your heart
torn and bled by that bear’s sharp incisors.

Grief, the sinner’s corsage —
unresolved guilt, moments which cut like a knife, then
bleed the loss across frozen expanses of forward-time
dancing with shadows from the past.
Memories sharp like razors slice your disbelief
to emptiness, sullen and alone.
The wind, such cool relief, blows
atoms of your loss across the frozen plain.

Some day you will rise above that bed of sorrow,
the sky so blue and bright
all you can see is white, miracle of sun light.
That bear, sated in the warmth
will sit amongst ripe berries on high hills,
at peace, at one, at last.

*Copyright 2020 by Suzanne Harris. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

on the job*

December 27, 2020


2020 Merit Award
By Randy Flowers

there was a time
when I
wore high topped Keds
dirty
filled with
my feet
and the beach

now my shoes are polished
stylish
but they still get
dirty
I go home at night
empty my
shoes of me
become a boy again
as I look
for sand
between my toes

*Copyright 2020 by Randy Flowers. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Northwest Rivers*

December 20, 2020


2020 Walk Award
By Eugene S. Fairbanks

Skykomish, Stehekin, Snoqualmie,
Wynoochee, Palouse, Okanogan,
Queets, Klickitat, Kootenai, Nooksack,
Sauk, Skookumchuck, Quillayute, Skagit —

Gather moisture in the mountains,
mingle rain with summer snowmelt;
fed by streams that trickle downward,
cold and clear, the waters chatter.

Cascade down through twisting canyons,
scour massive granite boulders,
plunge themselves from rocky ledges,
leap and roar like raging beasts.

Wend their way past peaks and ridges,
tumble through the wooded foothills,
ply vast stands of fir and hemlock —
nourish wetlands at their margins.

Drain broad fertile inland valleys,
spread high water over lowlands,
seek out bays and estuaries,
cycle rainfall to the ocean.

*Copyright 2020 by Eugene S. Fairbanks. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Toia mai te waka*

November 22, 2020


2020 Walk Award
By Robert Beck

Dig deep
Plant your paddle
Let its roots run long
There is power to be had
When the connection is strong
Through time
Through space
Through water, wood and grip,
Through salt stained breath caressing your lips
Dig deep
Plant your paddle
As you pull your canoe
Can you feel the power
As now the ocean pulls you

*Copyright 2020 by Robert Beck. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

After St. Lucy’s Day, 2018*

September 8, 2019


2019 Merit Award
By Tom Moore

With the final whisper of the night’s
last bell, the church goers gather
with their prayers. Outside

it is cold. Beyond cold, really.
The two gay men with their son
have come to be a part of something

larger than themselves
though they are not
sure what. For most

people here the assumptions made
about an ancient fertility god
don’t translate well into

code. Yet the kids seem to get a kick
out of things. The tree, tastefully done
sketches of Jesus, the programs for those who

don’t usually attend
do not offend. Hiding
out there in the dark is
of course, the thirst.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Tom Moore. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

the awful days*

August 11, 2019


2019 Merit Award
By Adam McClusky, Grade 11
after Lord Alfred Tennyson

he clasps the crag with crooked hands close to the sun
in the lonely lands far away from everyone’s beef
enjoying the time alone from the people that annoyed
him the most not craving each pestering pitch that
came out during his day and the odd but pitiful
repeated days wondering how they’re going on with
their Day from the selfishness insecure ways with the
weird vibes given off each day crying for one of his
friends to ask him about his day but that won’t change
so he’ll just stay clasped with his crooked hands close
to the sun in the lonely lands not forgetting a bit
but smiling and laughing about those awful
Days.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2019 by Adam McClusky. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

. . . . .
i go to Squalicum high school. I play football i also wrestle and went to state for wrestling. I didn’t really like English but now i like it a little more.

i got my inspiration from the guy in the office that no one likes like in the movies. So he just isn’t noticed and just wants people to notice him.

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