It has been a busy year for West Tisbury poet laureate Justen Ahren. Recently he opened the Noepe Center for Literary Arts, a creative refuge on the Island to foster writing through the gift of time and solitude. He also just completed his first book of poetry, A Strange Catechism. He will give a reading at the Noepe Center, 104 Main street, Edgartown on Tuesday, August 6 at 7 p.m.
Author Jennifer Clement is guest speaker as part of a series sponsored by the Noepe Center for Literary Arts this Wednesday, July 24. Her new novel, Prayers for the Stolen, is set in Mexico and was inspired by the interviews she did with young women who were survivors of trafficking by the drug cartels.
In the Wampanoag language, the word “noepe” means, according to one interpretation, a still place among the currents. The Wampanoag people gave the name Noepe to this Island to indicate that it was a piece of dry land among opposing tidal currents.
In downtown Edgartown, a still place exists at the intersection of three roads. It is a refuge of sorts, which has for years provided shelter and peace of mind to visiting artists.
This past weekend the World Choreography Institute arrived in Edgartown to have a conversation about dance. On the final day of the think tank, dance masters and interested Islanders sat on couches and pillows on the floor in the living room of the Noepe Center for Literary Arts, formerly the Point Way Inn. They were dissecting a recording of George Balanchine’s ballet, Jewels, in particular the second movement of the piece, known as Rubies.
They come from all over the country, staying for one or two weeks or up to a full month. They explore Edgartown from their home base at the former Point Way Inn. Some of them work in their rooms, others find a nesting spot in one of the many elegant downstairs parlors. For dinner they might bring home scallops from the Net Result, ingredients for a pasta Siciliana, and share the meal pot-luck style in the formal dining room, which is two stories high and lit up like a stage set.
For six years now, writers — both aspiring and professional — have met in the spring and fall for a full immersion in both their craft and in all things Vineyard, in particular all things Edgartown. The writers’ retreat takes place at the charming Point Way Inn on Pease Point Way.