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.

this week!

May 17, 2021

This Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific, please join the winners of the 2021 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest as they share their winning poems. They will be joined by this year’s judges, Robert Lashley and Elizabeth Vignali, everyone’s favorite emcee, Kevin Murphy, and other honored guests. Celebrate with the poets on Zoom!

Cats, cats*

April 4, 2021


2020 Walk Award
By Hayley Van Ness, Kindergarten

Cats, cats
I love cats
Cats are mine
I love cats
Cats are stripey.

*Copyright 2020 by Hayley Van Ness. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

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.

I Stop In The Woods*

March 21, 2021


2020 Walk Award
By Betty Scott

To watch a parade of mallards
Paddle and quack in circles
Splashing ripples across the surface
Of their home, a muddy pond,

As sunlit Evergreens…beyond…
Stand guard, reflecting themselves
Beneath the pond of brown,
Crowns of pines, topside down,

Reaching deep into the mud below.
I see this with my third eye as guide
To the rift and ride of souls: bonds…
Of love intertwined with joy.

*Copyright 2020 by Betty Scott. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.


2020 Walk Award
By Kate Miller

I hold the dresser scarf you embroidered
with hands that once embraced me even
as they surrendered me. Roses, stained
blood on crisp white linen, green threads
vining around each flower, such delicate
beauty, this artifact of your life outliving
you even now, as do I, holding on to this
fabric, proof of your existence. I in your
womb once, you in my hands now, the
thorny connection of us pierced through.
First mother, you carry me back, I carry
you forward, faces wet with wanting,
this moment as close as we will ever get.

*Copyright 2020 by Kate Miller. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

Underwater*

February 28, 2021


2020 Walk Award
By Qwill Madrone, Grade 6

Alone.
The middle of the ocean.
Wide and scary.
The calm blue surrounds me.
My iridescent tail flashes and circles underwater.
I have nothing to worry about.
I dive under
The silence presses in on me.
I fill my lungs with the salty water of the sea.
Breath in, breath out.
The water evaporates in me
Leaving me with air.
A school of fish dart around me
Little silver bullets.
I use my tail to propel myself
Forward into the water.
I hold my hand out
The silky water flowing around my arm.
A bale of turtles glide under me
Their fins send water towards me
A small underwater current.
The ocean is alive.
And deep.
And blue.

*Copyright 2020 by Qwill Madrone. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

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.

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.

Silence*

December 13, 2020


2020 Walk Award
By Chloe Nahani Braunstein, Grade 2

On the pillow in my ear
I can hear my heartbeat.

Silence, for me, is when
I look up at the sky
clouds like big white stars
moving slowly across the wind.

Silence for me is when
the sea has no waves,
birds are not chirping,
dogs lose their bark,

and all humans grow quiet.
Silence means a lot to me.

*Copyright 2020 by Chloe Nahani Braunstein. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

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