on view: 2021 plaques

May 23, 2022

The planter beds in front of the Bellingham Public Library (210 Central Avenue) are decked in their spring finery, thanks to the Birchwood Garden Club. This is a great time to take a short poetry stroll and view the ten Walk Award plaques for the 2021 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. And while you’re there, stop in and see the recently remodeled library! (The 2022 plaques will probably be put in place sometime this summer.)

. . . . .
top: poem by Ty Colson
bottom: poem by Peyton Eberhardt

Tonight!

May 19, 2022

It’s Thursday, May 19, 2022, and tonight’s the night! Celebrate winning poets and poems for the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest at 7:00pm on Zoom. Or click here, if you need to join by phone.

Please arrive a few minutes early so the ceremony can start promptly at 7.

awards!

May 16, 2022

The committee of the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest invites you to join the awards celebration for the 2022 contest winners. This year’s ceremony will be held online on Thursday, May 19, 2022, at 7:00pm Pacific.

You’ll hear a few words from the judges, Victor Ortiz and Dayna Patterson, snappy repartee from everyone’s favorite emcee, Kevin Murphy, and then you’ll hear the 10 Walk Award and 15 Merit Award winners read their poems.

Click to join the Awards Ceremony on Zoom, or here, if you need to join by phone.

Congratulations!

May 3, 2022

We have winners!

The esteemed judges, Victor Ortiz and Dayna Patterson, have read every submission and made their (always difficult) choices for the winners of the 2022 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. Congratulations to:

WALK AWARD WINNERS
Margaux Barber, Chloe N. Braunstein, Bliss Goldstein, Maureen Kane, Marley Lotts, Amanda Norenberg, Matthew Stuckey, Alina Tsakhniv, Leslie Wharton, Hayley Van Ness.

MERIT AWARD WINNERS
Luther Allen, Kathryn Aspinall, Rusty Bower, Linda Conroy, Kyle Heaton, Blake Heuett, Dylan Jacobs, Heidi Kenyon, Timothy Pilgrim, Capucine W. Rougny, Luci Shaw, Sheila Sondik, Vincent Tsan, Joselyn Vasquez, Flannery White.

The list of poets and poems can be found on the Winners page. After the artists have completed their work on the placards, and sometime after the awards ceremony, Thursday, May 19, 2022, 7:00pm on Zoom (details soon), the poems and placards will appear here and will be linked to the poem titles on the Winners page.

We congratulate the winners — and offer a special shout out to all of the poets who had the courage to submit their work to this year’s contest.

at the local library

April 15, 2022

Nice to see POETRY WALK: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest, The First Five Years on display in such good company at the Bellingham Public Library for National Poetry Month. Edited by Nancy Canyon and Anita K. Boyle, and designed and illustrated by Nancy Canyon, the 152-page collection includes the full text of all winning poems from 2006 through 2010. Copies are still circulating in the Whatcom County Library system and at Western Washington University.

A second five-year collection was published in 2015 and chapbooks of winning poems have been published annually since then. The 2022 chapbook will be available at the time of the awards ceremony, Thursday, May 19, 2022.

Spring Melody*

April 9, 2022


2021 Walk Award
by J.L. Wright

Renewal upon the calendar, days in months
unused, value yet unknown: unripened

unpicked fruits seeds split by yellow-green life
emoting from the ground.

Nowhere in particular
this year, this then, that is now.

And above, fresh grass sweet sod on which to grow.
Tangible truths — seeds rooted as the water comes.

I remember time’s measure,
cheerfully, for when spring

spreads out at last, settling into warmth
and stays — how life changes, shifting

from one poignant vision to another, forever
in these eternal fields.

*Copyright © 2021 by J. L. Wright. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

*inspired by “Fall Song” by Mary Oliver

The Leaf*

March 24, 2022


2021 Walk Award
by Noa Shelsta, 3rd grade

It is spring
I poke my head out of my branch
And yawn

And now it is summer
I fold my arms out of my cozy bed
I spread my arms to tickle the wind
And then I yawn and fold my arms
Back down again

And then before I know it
It is fall
I stretch my arms
That have turned into wings
And lift into the air
And flutter to the ground

Then it is cold winter
I huddle in the earth with the other leaves
Until next spring

*Copyright © 2021 by Noa Shelsta. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Low Down in the Blues*

March 20, 2022


2021 Walk Award
by Janette Lyn Rosebrook

A humpback breaches,
exposes the long pale accordion of its belly,
and splashes down.

A companion follows,
barnacle-starred flukes fan and slap
across the surface.

Listen for nocturne and solos,
some so low down in the blues
you cannot hear them.

A silvery calf
arches and spirals around its mother
like a dervish.

With whirling songs
the humpback trio turns and fades
into the depths.

The divers surface,
into the silent coda that follows
the passing of friends.

*Copyright © 2021 by Janette Lyn Rosebrook. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Poet’s bio:
Janette Rosebrook is a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, where she spent long childhood days in the woods, eating salmonberries and redcaps, and muddying up her good shoes in search of frogs. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia in 2019 and currently works at Western Washington University. Her work has appeared in Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim, Washington 129, and Solstice: Light and Dark of the Salish Sea.

“I started writing ‘Low Down in the Blues’ during the 2020 Poetry Marathon, an annual event founded by former Bellingham residents, Caitlin and Jacob Jans. I was inspired to finish the poem after good friends shared their incredible underwater photographs of a humpback whale family they encountered during a sailing trip. I was honored to read the poem at a memorial service for one of those friends. It was written in remembrance of my dear friend Bruce.”

Virus mourning*

March 16, 2022


2021 Walk Award
by Timothy Pilgrim

I resolved to cease grieving
once every trace of her was gone.

I donated hats, scarves, skirts, coats,
stowed her perfume, rings, Kindle,

phone. All spring, gathered strands
of hair from sofa, afghan,

chairs, placed each beside her urn.
My plan — heal during summer,

bury everything deep beneath aster,
cosmos, rose. Watch their blossoms

sway final farewell in wind —
until fall, when frost took hold.

But as the winter dark set in,
I stumbled upon her cache.

Vinyl gloves, goggles, masks
breathed my grief to light again.

*Copyright © 2021 by Timothy Pilgrim. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Poet’s bio:
Timothy Pilgrim’s life-story booklet in sixth grade included his first poem, and since then, over 500 others poems have been accepted by more than 100 different publications. A native of Montana and resident of the Pacific Northwest for all but two years of his life, he loves to garden, hike and snowshoe with his wife, the novelist and former WWU professor, Carolyn Dale. He taught journalism at WWU from 1992 until he retired in 2013 and has published two books of poetry (the latest, Seduced by metaphor: Timothy Pilgrim collected published poems, published in 2021).

“Virus mourning” emerged from a shower of grief — including a long bout over suffering and death of so many during this Covid plague and then the death of his 93-year-old mother-in-law in mid-March. “I’d held it in, and months passed without us being able to visit until shortly before she died a few weeks ago. Then the grieving piqued, and my imagination served up this poetic manifestation.”

Ode to Dodge Durango*

March 12, 2022


2021 Walk Award
by Maddie Patterson, 7th grade

You are not that car you see
on all the glamorous adds snuck between the Superbowl
You are not that car
worshipped by the ones with the earth in their eyes
You, piece of grimy mountain man’s metal
Are the car we’d ride wild — trout and trails
You, muddy wheeled trail chugger
Highland gravel path climber
With all your smoke and smog — you
No sleek, sexy white car could be as worshipped
— your cracks filled with green moss
Heavy with pine needles and ripped black leather
You carried our canoe — to the sunset and beyond
You carried our laughing bodies,
across the borders to Utah
You held us like we were your daughters,
as we sat sprawled on your roof
Every hot summer day

No, we want you, tender beast
We want your warm dirt on our feet
Your lights to guide us down the highway at night
Your trunk to carry our tangled fishing poles
Your engine humming against my cheek

*Copyright © 2021 by Maddie Patterson. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

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