fall workshops!

August 31, 2019

With the generous participation of outstanding poet/instructors, the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest offers a number of workshops each fall and winter.

Workshops are held at Mindport, 210 W Holly 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. No previous poetry experience is required. Please bring writing materials.

(This information is also available on the WORKSHOPS page.)

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Stefania Heim
Ekphrastic Practice: Writing with Art

For centuries, poets have been making works that speak to, about, or out from pieces of visual art. John Keats asks direct questions of the Grecian Urn (“What men or gods are these?”). Carol Ann Duffy gives voice to the painting’s silent subject, the “Standing Female Nude.” Mary Jo Bang leaps from photographs to philosophical musings (“Art is what looking takes you to”). And Robin Coste Lewis collages descriptions of Western art objects in which a black female figure is represented in order to animate a history of art’s complicity in violence. Each of these writers uses art as a jumping off point for vibrant, original poems. We will join these experimenters, writing poems that describe, animate, and talk back to works of art in all genres. This workshop will be generative, giving participants a chance to expand their usual subject matter and deepen their practices of looking. Together, we will develop strategies and prompts for writing new poems, playing with imagery, sensory detail, perspective, voice, narrative, and history.

Stefania Heim is author of the poetry collections HOUR BOOK, chosen by Jennifer Moxley as winner of the Sawtooth Prize and published in 2019 by Ahsahta Books, and A Table That Goes On for Miles (Switchback Books, 2014). Geometry of Shadows, her book of translations of metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico’s Italian poems, is forthcoming with A Public Space Books. She received 2019 translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Stefania has taught at a range of institutions including Deep Springs College, Duke University, Hunter College, and University of Montana; she is currently an assistant professor at Western Washington University.

Keetje Kuipers
Bringing Back the Magic

If ancient poems were originally incantations and spells, why do contemporary poets often feel compelled to stick to story or straight lyric, only allowing the fantastic to feature in their work through imagistic leaps or fanciful metaphors? Particularly as a way of exploring such very real-world strictures as gender, sexuality, race, or class, magic can create opportunities for a new kind of engagement with our identities. We’ll dig into how magic-making works on the page, and what we can do to bring more of it into our poems. By examining the use of magical realism in contemporary poetry — including work by Alberto Ríos, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Marilyn Nelson, Sharon Olds, and Cornelius Eady — we’ll explore the effect that the surreal has when placed within a poem that might otherwise feel narrative or naturalistically lyric. Finally, we’ll cast our own spells through writing exercises that ask us to both invent magic and also acknowledge the ethereal all around us.

Keetje Kuipers is the author of three books of poems, including Beautiful in the Mouth (BOA, 2010), winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize and a Poetry Foundation bestseller. Her second collection, The Keys to the Jail (2014), was a book club pick for The Rumpus, and her third book, All Its Charms (2019), includes poems honored by publication in both The Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Narrative, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly Review, The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, Orion, The Believer, and over a hundred other magazines. Her poems have also been featured as part of the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series and read on NPR’s Writer’s Almanac. Kuipers has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a Bread Loaf fellow, and the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident, among other honors. She now teaches at Seattle’s Hugo House and serves as Senior Editor at Poetry Northwest.
Saturday, December 7, 2019

Claudia Castro Luna
When in doubt make a list

Lists are ubiquitous in our lives. We use them as we gear up to travel, for grocery shopping, as everyday to-do reminders. It turns out poets use lists widely as armature for their poems. Sometimes the lists are so well disguised it takes some sleuthing to see them, at others it is the obvious structural element. We will take a close look at poems that contain lists and write our own.

Claudia Castro Luna is Washington State Poet Laureate. She served as Seattle’s Civic Poet from 2015-2017 and is the author of Killing Marías (Two Sylvias Press), also shortlisted for WA State 2018 Book Award in poetry, and This City (Floating Bridge Press). She is the creator of the acclaimed Seattle Poetic Grid. Castro Luna is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship, the recipient of individual artist grants from King County 4Culture and Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture, a Hedgebrook and VONA alumna, and a 2014 Jack Straw fellow. Born in El Salvador she came to the United States in 1981. She has an MA in Urban Planning, a teaching certificate and an MFA in poetry. Her poems have been featured in PBS Newshour, KQED San Francisco, KUOW Seattle and have appeared in Poetry Northwest, La Bloga, Dialogo and Psychological Perspectives, among others. Her non-fiction work can be read in several anthologies, among them This Is The Place: Women Writing About Home (Seal Press). Claudia is currently working on a memoir, Like Water to Drink, about her experience escaping the civil war in El Salvador. Living in English and Spanish, she writes and teaches in Seattle where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children. Photo by Timothy Aguero.

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
Self-Portrait, Selfie, and Snap Poems

We read and write poems in an era where the self is at the center of our considerations and artistic representation. Self-Portraits are abundant in poetry as they are in visual art, and offer a rich landscape to explore, question, subvert, and re/define the self. “Selfie” was officially added to the Merriam Webster dictionary in 2013 and the Selfie is now considered an art form in itself, with its own museum! And from my teenage daughters, I have tried to learn and been fascinated by the culture of Snaps — quick and often partial self-portraits, disappearing as soon as they are consumed. What can all these visual art forms offer us as poets? What does it mean to write a self-portrait, selfie, or snap poem? We’ll explore the blurry boundaries between these forms and use them to generate thrilling and revelatory poem drafts.

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha is a poet, essayist, and translator. Her first book, Water & Salt (Red Hen Press), won the 2018 Washington State Book Award for Poetry. Her first chapbook, Arab in Newsland, won the 2016 Two Sylvias Press Prize. Her forthcoming chapbook, Letters from the Interior, will be published this fall. In 2017-18, she served as inaugural Poet-In-Residence at Open Books: A Poem Emporium in Seattle.

Saturday workshops!

October 17, 2018

In case you haven’t yet signed up, there are still a few spaces available in the two poetry workshops that will be offered this Saturday, October 20, 2018, in downtown Bellingham.

From 10:00am to Noon, Jory Mickelson (top left) will present Spectacular, Wild, Precarious! The workshop will use Yellowstone National Park as lens and inspiration, “as metaphor and structure to reinvigorate and let a little wildness in to our writing.”

From 1:00 to 3:00pm, Laura Read and Maya Jewell Zeller (middle and lower left, respectively) will present The American Character & The Personal Pronoun, a workshop that “will help you generate writing that explores your own individual lives as artifacts of our current national landscape.”

The workshops will be held upstairs at Mindport, 210 W Holly 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 (soon!) 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.

See the full workshop descriptions and instructor bios (as well as information about the two November workshops) on the Workshops page.

October workshops!

September 6, 2018

Each year, the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest offers fall workshops taught by exceptional poets. This year is no exception. On Saturday, October 20, 2018, a pair of workshops and a trio of instructors will offer insight and inspiration and participants are sure to go home with drafts in hand.

From 10:00am to Noon, Jory Mickelson will present Spectacular, Wild, Precarious!

From 1:00 to 3:00pm, Maya Jewell Zeller and Laura Read will present The American Character & The Personal Pronoun.

Workshops are held at Mindport, in downtown 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.

Registration is now open. 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.

See the complete workshop descriptions and instructor bios on the Workshops page.

get it write

February 10, 2017

Mindport Correspondence Club

Is correspondence with politicians, local organizations, far flung friends, on your list right now? Need info about size and postage requirements when making your own postcards? Need supplies? Typewriters? Mindport’s Correspondence Club meets Saturday, February 11, 2017, 10:30am-12:30pm, 210 W. Holly St. in Bellingham. Bring your addresses and postage, they supply the rest!

Mindport Correspondence Club

Interested in mail art? Mindport’s Correspondence Club meets Saturday, May 9, 2015, 10am-Noon. While you’re there, check out Julie McPheters’s fascinating exhibit, The Animal Within.

Also note that Mindport is taking sign-ups for the second week-long summertime creative writing intensive with New York-based writer Whitney Wimbish.

Reading this evening

July 12, 2014

Whitney WimbishWhitney Curry Wimbish, a journalist, editor and writer of creative fiction and nonfiction, has been teaching a workshop this week in Bellingham and will offer a reading this evening, Saturday, July 12, 2014, at Mindport Exhibits. Whitney Wimbish’s articles have appeared in The Financial Times, the FT publications FundFire and BoardIQ, New Jersey’s The Herald News and Bergen Record, and The Cambodia Daily in Phnom Penh. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories.

Along with Wimbish, readers will include workshop participants and poets Andrew Shattuck McBride and Jim Milstead. The reading is free. Doors open at 6:30pm, the reading starts 7:00.

Last chance!

March 31, 2014

March 31TODAY at 4:00pm is the deadline for submissions to the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest. All poems must be RECEIVED by that time…so if you haven’t mailed your poem, don’t! Take it down to Mindport Exhibits, 210 W. Holly in Bellingham, where someone will be eagerly standing by to receive your poem.

postal passion

February 19, 2014

Mindport Correspondence Club


Are you a letter writer, mail artist, postcard scribbler? Mindport Exhibits, in downtown Bellingham, invites you to drop in for Mindport’s Correspondence Club, “a couple hours of typing, scribbling, gluing, cutting, pasting, and posting,” on Sunday, February 23, 2014, 1-3pm. Everyone welcome, ages 8 – adult.

Learn more on the Mindport Exhibits Facebook page or the Mindport website or blog or call for information: (360) 647-5614.

clock at 11:55If you are planning to submit a poem to the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest, the deadline is almost here. All poems (one per poet, Whatcom County residents only) must be received by 4:00pm Sunday, March 31, 2013. That’s tomorrow, of course, and it’s also Easter.

You can hand-deliver your poem to Mindport Exhibits, 210 W. Holly Street in downtown Bellingham, today, Saturday, between 10:00am and 5:00pm, or tomorrow, Sunday, between Noon and 4:00pm. Please note that Mindport will be closed to the public for Easter but a Boynton representative will be there to receive poems between Noon and 4.

Please review the guidelines and double-check your poem’s line and character count before submitting it.
. . . . .

Mindport mail art poster
Mail art (aka correspondence art, postal art) is a venerable tradition that’s seen a revival in recent years. It combines words and visuals to create a dynamic exchange among creative people all over the world. Learn more on Sunday, January 29, 2012, as Tallie Jones conducts the second Going Positively Postal mail art workshop at Mindport Exhibits in Bellingham .

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