The Blue Whale*

August 5, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Elizabeth Vignali

I was lamplight when night fell. I was speared
and flensed, minced and melted.

I was notched from upper jaw to tail fluke
with your insufficient rulers.

I was lather and varnish, fabric and rope.
I was corset, collar, whip and toy.

You brought home my rorqual heart.
Displayed my boat-large parchment

skull in dusty museums.
You drove cars beneath my arched ribs.

But you could not catch my decibel moan,
my hymn to the silver path.

I am barnacle coven and seaweed plantation.
I am a salt-slapped planet to a thousand

open-mouthed moons. We sing louder than your
engines. We sing despite the sonar shroud.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Elizabeth Vignali. Broadside illustrated by Christian Anne Smith.

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Cup of Tea*

July 29, 2018


2018 Walk Award
By Alandra Barker

She says,
being married is like holding a hot cup of tea
and being worried that you’re going to sneeze.

I think, if marriage is a cup of tea,
I know it’s my favorite kind.
The kind that makes you feel whole and warm
from the inside out after a long, cold day.
But then I think, it’s not the same for everyone;
maybe it’s the resentment that builds
from holding back that sneeze because you don’t want
to get burned. OR MAYBE,
the tea is the only thing that makes you feel better
every time that sneeze starts to irritate your nose,
and the tea is your relief and a sense of security.

It seems to apply to every possibility.
So I guess that makes it the perfect analogy,

but I don’t know which one she meant.

I say,
being married is like thinking you can swim, but realizing
you don’t…
after you’ve jumped in the water.

. . . . .
Alandra Barker is a junior at Western Washington University studying Linguistics with a concentration in Anthropology, who also happens to have a passion for poetry and literature. Alandra likes to spend her free time exploring the parks, trails, and beaches of Bellingham with her wife and dog.

“Cup of Tea” was written as a sort of response to an analogy that her wife used to explain marriage to a coworker. “I just remember her coming home and telling me about this conversation that she had, and I thought about it for days. This poem was written mostly in my head over the course of weeks as a way to process how I felt about it.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Alandra Barker. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

Menopause, the poem*

July 22, 2018


2018 Merit Award
By Barbara Weed

We arrive, tempest-tossed,
way up the beach.
Alive, thriving, and dried.

Hormones are oceans
Of push-pull emotions.
Amazingly, gratefully, spent.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2018 by Barbara Weed. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

Walk Award plaques!

June 26, 2018

Sooner than expected (it’s usually late July), the ten Walk Award poetry plaques for the 2018 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest have been installed in front of the Central branch of the Bellingham Public Library. They will be on display for a year. Take a poetry walk and enjoy some winning poetry from Whatcom County, Washington.

Winners and awards!

May 6, 2018

Bellingham Cruise TerminalCongratulations to the 2018 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poets! A total of 224 Whatcom County residents participated in the 13th annual Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest, which was judged this year by Richard Widerkehr and Jane Wong. The judges selected the 25 winning poems through a blind process.

The 10 Walk Award winners are six adults — Marie Eaton, Felicia Clemmons, Alandra Barker, Donald Antenen, Tanner Abernathy, and Nancy Canyon — and four students — Madeleine Joyce Patterson, Mason Cash, Izetria Grace-Lind, and Emma McCoy.

The 15 Merit Award winners are eight adults — KJ Vande Bossche, Elizabeth Vignali, Bonnita Lynne, Roger William Gilman, Leslie Wharton, Nora Whitley Abelite, Stephen Palmer, and Barbara L Weed — and seven students — Meagan Gillikin, Jackie Lomas, Jacob Murphy, Ellie Osterloh, Grace Moore, Allie Haugen, and EmmaThario.

The public is invited to honor the winners and to hear the poets read their winning entries at the contest’s awards ceremony, 7:00pm, Thursday, May 17, 2018, at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Aveue in Fairhaven. The event and parking are free. Bellingham poet Kevin Murphy will emcee, and the judges will present award certificates.

A chapbook of poems from this year’s contest will be available for purchase, and all poems entered in this year’s contest will be on display at the ceremony.

Copies of each poem — on placards designed by Angela Boyle, Megan Carroll, Christian Anne Smith, and Kim Wulfestieg — will be displayed for a year inside Whatcom Transportation Authority buses circulating throughout the county. Also, Walk Award poems will be displayed for a year on engraved plaques on the Poetry Walk in front of the downtown Bellingham Public Library — one of a growing number of permanent poetry installations in the United States.

The winning poems and their placards will be posted on this page each Sunday, beginning after the awards ceremony, and linked to the Winners page.

hear that sound?

March 30, 2018

clockIt’s the clock ticking down to the deadline for submissions to the 2018 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. If you’re a Whatcom County resident and you haven’t yet submitted your poem, you have until 6:00pm tomorrow, Saturday, March 31, to deliver it to Mindport Exhibits (note hours: Friday Noon-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm) OR Terra Organica (note hours: Friday 8am–8pm, Saturday 9am–8pm) OR by email (as a Word attachment) to BoyntonPoetryContest@hotmail.com. Late submissions will be disqualified; all submissions must conform to the guidelines.

Bring on the poems!

March 1, 2018

Whatcom County: send us your poems!

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest opens today, March 1, 2018, and will remain open until 6:00pm, Saturday, March 31. Whatcom County poets of all ages and all levels of experience (or lack thereof) are encouraged to submit a single poem for consideration. The judges, Richard Widerkehr and Jane Wong, will select 10 Walk Awards and 15 Merit Awards from the submissions. Read and follow the guidelines carefully. And please mark your calendar for Thursday, May 17, 2018, when the winning poets will read their work at the festive, free public awards ceremony.

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