We have winners!

May 4, 2021

Congratulations and thanks to ALL of the poets who submitted work to this year’s Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest, and in particular to the poets who have been selected as this year’s winners:

WALK AWARDS: Ty Colson, David P. Drummond, Marie Eaton, Peyton Eberhardt, Jory Mickelson, Maddie Patterson, Timothy Pilgrim, Janette Lyn Rosebrook, Noa Shelsta, J.L. Wright.

MERIT AWARDS: Rylie Anderson, Margaux Barber, Barbara Bloom, Kathleen Byrd, Lynn Geri, Arden Haines, Sophie Hall, Callum LaPlant, David M. Laws, Payton Ling, Phelps S. McIlvaine, Isabella Nelson, Robert Stern, Kami Westhoff, Genevieve Whalen.

The awards ceremony will be held online on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific. Access information will be provided as soon as it is available.

In addition… the names of the winning poets and poems will be added to the Winners page. The winning poems and their beautiful illustrated placards will be featured on this page, one per week, over the coming months, and linked to the Winners page. And finally, the Walk Award poems will take their places on the Poetry Walk in front of the Bellingham Public Library, where they will remain on view for a full year. (If you haven’t seen the 2020 Poetry Walk poems, be sure to take a look before they go away.)

Meanwhile, please enjoy this wonderful video celebrating the contest and its namesake, Sue C. Boynton.

this Thursday!

October 19, 2020

The long-awaited awards ceremony for the 2020 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest will happen on Zoom this Thursday, October 22, 2020, at 7:00pm.

If you would like to attend online, please request a Zoom link and password by emailing BoyntonPoetryContest@hotmail.com.

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:
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

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!

2019 Boynton winners

May 2, 2019

We have winners!

The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest committee has announced the winners of this year’s contest.

Winners will read their poems at a free public awards ceremony, 7:00pm, Thursday, May 16, 2019, at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Avenue, in Fairhaven. Poet Kevin Murphy will host the ceremony.

Now in its 14th year, the annual contest is open to Whatcom County residents of all ages and poetry experience. This year’s winners were chosen by judges Jessica Lohafer and Christopher Patton, both Bellingham-based poets.

Ten Walk Award winners will have their poems displayed for a year on plaques outside the downtown Bellingham Public Library. Those poems, and the 14 Merit Award winners, also will be displayed on artist-designed placards on WTA buses. (The winning poems and placards will be posted weekly on this site following the awards ceremony.)

Winners include Jaelyn Pitts, a Bellingham 3-year-old, the youngest in the contest’s history; and award-winning poet Luci Shaw of Bellingham, who, at age 90, is likely the contest’s oldest winner ever.

Youths who won the Walk Award are Maddie Patterson, 5th grade, Silver Beach Elementary; Gavin James Karney, 6th grade, Whatcom Middle; Bella Mendoza, 12th grade, Squalicum High; Margaux Barber, kindergarten, Sunnyland Elementary; and Jaelyn Pitts.

Adults who won the Walk Award are Barbara Bloom of Bellingham, Tor of Bellingham, Sandra F. Lucke of Lynden, Stephany Vogel of Bellingham, and Luci Shaw.

Youths won won the Merit Award are Quinn Moore, 4th grade, Natural Learning Center; Porter Chesbrough, 6th grade, Whatcom Middle; Gaia Garza, 6th grade, Whatcom Middle; Eliot Stockman, 6th grade, Whatcom Middle; Lucas Cunningham, 12th grade, Sehome High; Anishka Duggal, 11th grade, Sehome High; Karanjot Mann, 12th grade, Squalicum High; and Adam McCluskey, 11th grade, Squalicum High.

Six adults won a Merit Award: Sally Hewitt of Glacier, Phelps McIlvaine of Bellingham, Carlos Martinez of Ferndale, Tom Moore of Bellingham, Susan Cohen Raphael of Bellingham, and Cadillac Joe Wright of Bellingham.

A chapbook of the winning poems will be available for purchase at the awards ceremony.

Congratulations to the winners and heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of poets who submitted their work to this year’s contest.

these Sundays

December 23, 2018

For the past 25 Sundays, this space has featured the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winning poems and the beautiful placards designed for each poem (now circulating in Whatcom County buses). We’ve completed the round of 2018 winners, but if you’d care to re-visit them, or any of the Boynton winners since 2006, go to the Winners page and click on a poem name.

The 2019 contest will be open to Whatcom County poets for the month of March and the guidelines will be posted as soon as the judges have been confirmed and the details have been finalized by the contest committee.

Meanwhile, thanks for your poems, thanks for your visits to The Poetry Department, and Happy Holidays!


November 1, 2017

Artist Trust has announced its 2017 award winners, including Grants for Artist Projects, Arts Innovator Award, Conductive Garboil Grant, Fellowship, and Twining Humber Award. Have a look at the complete list and congratulate your friends!




Angela Belcaster April Night
Mariah Brown-Pounds Raspberry Rhubarb Pie
Susan Chase-Foster On Being a Squirrel
Kayla Donovan One Last Time
Malcolm H. Kenyon The Goat Island Battery
Mike Long A Love Song, Repurposed
Matt Malyon Icarus Ashore
Betty Scott My Dog Barks
Emily Spector-Van Zee The World of Life
Liam Veitch Skate


Luther Allen stillness.
Maddy DeFreest The Fall
Victoria Doerper Great Blue
Deborah Lutz The Beginning
Andrew Shattuck McBride Forgetfulness
Jim Milstead Collage
Marina Murphy Lazy Train
Bassam Najib Boulos The Square Watermelon
Joe Nolting Lily of the Mohawks
Timothy Pilgrim Breathing snow
Colleen Schwartz Point Lobos
Kristin Smith Wanderer’s Heart
Tom Villa-Lovoz Waiting
Richard Widerkehr Peonies
Margarethe Zubler-Keller Simile

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to the 259 Whatcom County poets who submitted their work to this year’s contest.

This chart is posted on the Winners page. Over the coming months, the winning poems will be posted and linked to the chart on that page. Meanwhile, please please plan to join the celebration at the Awards Ceremony at 7:00pm on Thursday, May 16, 2013 at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. The ceremony is free and open to the public.


May 2, 2012

The Bellingham Herald 2 May 2012
Check The Bellingham Herald!

Contest update…

April 18, 2012

We have winners!
Congratulations, Whatcom County, for another fine showing of poetic creativity. Our illustrious judges, Betty Scott and Jeffrey Morgan, have read each and every poem and met the challenge: to choose a slate of winners from the nearly 300 poems submitted.

To see what “nearly 300” poems looks like, stop by the Bellingham Public Library between now and May 9 and take a look at the display (near the Reference Desk). Impressive!

To help this year’s winners celebrate, and to hear them read their poems, please join us at the Sue Boynton Poetry Contest awards ceremony on Thursday, May 10, 2012, 7:00pm, at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven. It’s free.

Following the awards ceremony, we’ll begin posting the winning poems on this site and linking each poem to its name on the Winners page.

Meanwhile, please extend your congratulations to the 2012 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest winners: Kari Galbraith, Bob Hicks, Peter Howard-Snyder, William Howard-Snyder, David M. Laws, Carole MacRury, Sheila Nickerson, Judy Orvik, Cindi Williamson, Margarethe Zubler-Keller, Finnigan Cooper, Don Cramer, Ella Denham-Conroy, Denise duMaurier, Carly Eathorne, Maria Frazey, Jacob Hartsoch, Andrew Shattuck McBride, Wendy McLeod, Ali Morrow, Nicola Morrow, Jon A. Orvik, Théa Rosenburg, George Such and Elizabeth Vignali.

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