mark your calendar!

October 6, 2020

The winners of the 2020 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest were selected and notified back in April. When, by necessity, the awards ceremony was rescheduled from May to October, it seemed like surely an in-person celebration would be possible. Alas.

But there will be a celebration, online, on Thursday, October 22, 2020, at 7:00pm. We will hear from this year’s judges, Roger Gilman and Kami Westhoff, and from the poets who have waited so patiently to share their words.

Request a Zoom link and password for this year’s virtual Awards Ceremony by emailing BoyntonPoetryContest@hotmail.com.

Please mark your calendar and stay tuned!

Boynton winners!

May 13, 2020

We have winners!

This year’s distinguished judges for the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest, Roger Gilman and Kami Westhoff, have completed the difficult task of choosing winning poems from among the hundreds submitted.

Congratulations to the 2020 winning poets:
WALK AWARDS
Margaux Barber, Robert Beck, Chloe Nahani Braunstein,
Eugene S. Fairbanks, Suzanne Harris, Iluma Madrone, Kate Miller,
Betty Scott, Katen Van Harmelen, and Hayley Van Ness

MERIT AWARDS
Miakoda Baughman, Judy Bishop, Barbara Bloom, Randy Flowers,
Cristian H Gonzalez, John S. Green, Josh Hilderbrand, Steve Hood,
Stephen Jacob Huxford, Penelope Keep, Alexandra M. Lucas,
Fjola Martinez, Giorgiana Vignali, Richard Widerkehr,
and J. L. Wright

The Awards Ceremony, originally scheduled for May, has been postponed until Thursday, October 22, 2020, 7:00pm, at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. The community is invited (encouraged) to attend this wonderful event, at which the poets will read their winning poems. Please mark your calendar!

Kim Stafford x 7

April 13, 2020

Kim Stafford, the Poet Laureate of Oregon, has written and posted a small collection of short poems he wrote over a week’s time, each one addressing the realities and uncertainties of this particular time. Poems for the Pandemic includes the text of each poem, a vocal recording, as well as an accompanying photograph or video by Brooke Herbert or Beth Nakamura.

. . . . .
photo by Brooke Herbert
Thanks to Roger Gilman for the heads up!

meet the judges: 2020

January 4, 2020

Each year, the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest selects two distinguished poets to serve as judges. With hundreds of poems to read by poets of all ages and skill levels, it’s a challenging job. The judges each read every poem and then discuss their choices before coming up with the year’s contest winners.

The contest committee is very pleased to introduce this year’s judges: Roger Gilman and Kami Westhoff.

Roger Gilman is poetry editor for Adventures Northwest, winner of a National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship, and of several Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest prizes. He teaches classes at the Hugo House Literary Center in Seattle. His latest poems are in Poetry Northwest. He is former Dean of Fairhaven College and Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Western Washington University.

Kami Westhoff is the author of Sleepwalker, which won Minerva Rising’s Dare to Be Contest, and Your Body a Bullet, co-written with Elizabeth Vignali. Her poetry and prose have appeared in journals including Booth, Carve, Hippocampus, Meridian, Passages North, The Pinch, Phoebe, Redivider, Waxwing, and West Branch. She teaches creative writing at Western Washington University where she serves as faculty adviser for Jeopardy Magazine.

The guidelines are now posted on the 2020 Contest page. Submissions don’t open until March 1, 2020, but it’s never too early to study the guidelines and start drafting your poem.


2018 Merit Award
By Roger William Gilman

I have never in my life
given orders to the morning
or sent the dawn to its post
Told it to grasp earth by its tail
and shake the shining out of it.

I have never in my life
seen a star’s dark socket
or met the janitors of shadows
Visited the place where snow is stored
or made water hard as stone.

And I’ve never in my life
hacked a path for thunder
or tilted the flasks of heaven
To melt dry clods to mud:
I’ve never conjured weather.

Yet at the point of a pen
I’ll demand of my ink
a passion/ pulse/ and power/
To make you laugh and sing
as if skies weren’t always grey.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Roger William Gilman. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.


2017 Merit Award
By Roger William Gilman

Some of my brothers are broad-backed low-set men
unlike the other who stands like me tall and scrawny
vulnerable to the wickedness of weather.

We’re ducks and herons standing by the great lake
fists jammed to pockets shoulders hunched, soldiers
against fierce wind, five hundred miles away from home

longing, preparing for hard flying, drunk with desire,
between moonlit clouds and the shine off the Snake — as
it turns west through the Tetons toward the prairies

of Idaho, rivers-on through rolling sage of the Palouse
into Columbia Basin where it stretches tongue out mouth
past a broken line of island teeth to taste the Pacific —

the shine showing us the way home.

It’s the shoulders we have in common . . . as we stand
along the lake in the snapping wind . . . crafting silences
more articulate than ever . . . getting ready to leave

for home . . . the distance in our heads.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Roger William Gilman. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

The Following Monday*

October 9, 2016

The Following Monday by Roger William Gilman
2016 Merit Award
By Roger William Gilman

The Following Monday: a Grief Observed
For my mother, dead on Wednesday, buried on Saturday

I stop walking      and look down.

Beneath my boots
the black leaves and red needles
having lain long
in the ruts of the logging road
create a chicory tea
from a stream of sunlight
flowing through the late hemlocks and maples
in this small ditch
filling with seeping water,
steeping a puddle of feeling without meaning
beneath a broken gray and gilded sky,
a tea for one not newly come to love, one
whose memory does not easily fall away.

I stop dreaming      and look up
interrupted by a wedge of geese
flying back the other way — home.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2016 by Roger William Gilman. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

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