Sue C. Boynton: our rock, and a soft place to fall
By Jan Crook Pierson
The Sue C. Boynton Poetry event in Bellingham
(Washington...for those of you who don't live in or understand the Evergreen State) was amazing. Inspiring. Fun.
Our grandmother, Sue Crocker Boynton was, when she found the moments of escape, a poet, and poetry is all about the Sue C. Boynton event. There is a quote by Erik Reece
that says it well:
Poetry is the ultimate language of belonging.
Our grandmother understood the necessity of belonging and not only was her life spent in the attempt to belong, but also in the gift of bringing this sense of belonging to those she loved, whether it was her own family or those around her, and it always included her poetry and the arts.
This same spirit lives on in this amazing foundation which gives a venue to others with the same heart and spirit" poets - who have often gone unrecognized. Our grandmother is gone now, but others who write can be honored and known through this yearly contest.
I, as one of her many grandchildren, got to be the one who spoke about her to the large crowd of winners and their families in the beautiful glass-encased cruise terminal overlooking Bellingham Bay on May 10, 2012.
I was privileged to explain to these poets and their families that Sue C. Boynton was a real person, a strong and dynamic woman who walked into their town when it was still a territory. I was able to share her early, formidable memories when, in 1906 as a new bride, she disembarked the steamship from Seattle and walked up a boardwalk lined with saloons and brothels with her physician husband, facing a new life in the rough and rugged Northwest.
Brave and strong, she lived for nearly 98 years, most of those in a town she learned to love and a town that learned to love her. I felt so honored to share my own special memories of growing up with someone who became a rock to me, but also a soft place to fall. And how many times did I and my sisters and brother and cousins fall, and need her and our grandfather.
The Sue C. Boynton Poetry contest, a program of Whatcom Poetry Series, and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, lives on to honor poets, but the founder lives on in my heart and the hearts of so many of her grandchildren. And we honor her memory in a special, meaningful way.