Poetry contest accepting submissions in March

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The Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest will accept single-poem submissions from Whatcom County residents during the month of March.

Winners of the annual contest will be invited to read their poems at a free public awards ceremony on Thursday, May 14 at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Avenue.

The free contest is open to county residents regardless of their age or experience level. A total of 25 winners will be chosen by a panel of judges. Winning poems will be published in a chapbook collection. They will also be displayed on the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Walk outside the Bellingham Public Library and/or inside Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) buses.

This year’s guest judges are Bellingham poets Roger Gilman and Kami Westhoff. Gilman, a former dean of Fairhaven College, is poetry editor for Adventures Northwest, winner of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, the winner of several Sue C. Boynton prizes and a teacher at Hugo House, a literary center in Seattle.

Westhoff is the author of “Sleepwalker” and “Your Body a Bullet,” which was co-written with Elizabeth Vignali. A winner of Minerva Rising’s “Dare to Be” contest, Westhoff teaches creative writing at Western Washington University, where she is the faculty adviser for Jeopardy Magazine.

Contestants must be Whatcom County residents and may submit only one previously unpublished poem. Contestants must be the exclusive authors of their poems. Poems should be limited to 27 lines including the title and blank lines, with 55 or fewer characters per line including letters, spaces and punctuation marks. Poems beyond these limits will not be accepted.

Two copies of your poem must be submitted. Your name, street address, phone number and email address should be listed in the upper right-hand corner of one copy, while the second copy should not identify you in any way, for judging purposes.

Students in K-12 must also provide the name of a parent or guardian, the name of their school, their grade level and a teacher’s name on the same copy containing their name and address information.

Entries may be mailed to Boynton Poetry Contest, P.O. Box 1192, Bellingham, Washington 98227; delivered to Mindport Exhibits, 210 West Holly Street, Bellingham during open hours; delivered to Film Is Truth inside the Allied Arts Building, 1419 Cornwall Avenue, Suite B, Bellingham during open hours; or emailed to boyntonpoetrycontest@hotmail.com.

Submissions postmarked before March 1 or after March 31 will be disqualified. If emailing your submission, a Word document is preferred, and the document should be titled with the name of your poem.

Winners will be notified by phone or email on or before Thursday, April 30. Be sure to keep a copy of your poem, since poems will not be returned. By entering the contest, you grant permission to the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest to display or reproduce your poem, name and photograph for publication or fundraising purposes.

The contest is named for Sue Crocker Boynton, an early resident of Whatcom County. For more information about Boynton and the contest, visit thepoetrydepartment.wordpress.com/contest.

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