At the age of thirteen Helen Phillips made a New Year’s resolution to write and read a poem a day. She stuck with this pledge until the age of 21. Ms. Phillips is now 29 years-old, an award winning writer, and on tour with her first novel, And Yet They Were Happy. She will appear today at 5 p.m. at the Dragonfly Gallery in Oak Bluffs.

Although she has shifted to prose, her youthful pledge to poetry still shines through in her writing and she is often complimented by poets for her fiction writing. The novel is a work of fabulist fiction with surreal fables about a young couple. The storyline is refracted into 341 separate bits involving monsters, natural disasters, a world spinning out of control, personal transformation, and characters normally not encountered in the same pages, including Noah, Eve, Bob Dylan, the Virgin Mary, Jack Kerouac and Anne Frank. Ms. Phillips describes the work as both autobiography and mythology, a combination that not only makes the reader’s head spin, but that shows a novelist capable of contortions of imagination of unknown dimensions. It’s not surprising that two of her favorite authors are Italo Calvino and Gabriel GarcíaMárquez.

Ms. Phillips is married to Adam Thompson, a person of note for many reasons but especially so at this moment because he will also be appearing today at the Dragonfly Gallery. Mr. Thompson is an artist who, incidentally, first showed his work at the Dragonfly Gallery at the age of 17. The couple’s artistic visions seem quite suited to each other, albeit in different forms. A book of line drawings by Mr. Thompson includes pictures of a man’s head protruding from a small labyrinth, elephants, and a circle of unmanned, mismatched chairs.

“I’m a deliberate doodler,” he explains.

He also paints with a representational precision that verges on surrealism. A painting of an Airstream trailer gleams with an unworldly light and a red Corvette parked in the sand appears almost as if beamed down by aliens.

Mr. Thompson’s parents own a Camp Ground cottage and as a teenager he was discovered nearby at the Tabernacle during the All-Island Art Show by Holly Alaimo, who at the time owned the Dragonfly Gallery. His close connection to the gallery has continued over the years, even through the fairly recent exchange of ownership from Ms. Alaimo to Donald McKillop and Susan Davy.

The talented couple have a number of traits and biographical bits in common. Both knew what they wanted to do at very young ages and each grew up in a scenic location, Ms. Phillips in the mountains outside Denver, Colorado, Mr. Thompson outside Portland, Maine, although when probed he reveals that as far as childhood nostalgia is concerned, his heart is here on the Island.

Both also attended Yale University and hung out with a large circle of friends. “It was love at the ten-thousandth sight,” jokes Ms. Phillips. By their junior year they took their first longer, deeper glance at one another.

They were married in the Tabernacle in 2007.

The couple now makes their home in the Ditmas Park section of Brooklyn. They teach as adjunct professors at Brooklyn College and walk to work through Brooklyn’s National Historical District of Victorian homes.

Ms. Phillips’ tour for And Yet They Were Happy will be followed by the release of a new book to be published by Random House for the middle grade range. The story concerns two sisters whose father, an ornithologist, has vanished into the jungles of Central America in search of a possibly extinct, possibly magical, bird. The girls take matters into their own hands and decide to search for him. It sounds like a yarn of the Indiana Jones variety for the preteen set. With perhaps a bit of poetic flavor thrown in.

The art show and reading by Ms. Phillips and Mr. Thompson take place today, August 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Dragonfly Gallery located at 91 Dukes County avenue in Oak Bluffs. For more details, call 508-693-8877 or visit And for a look at how this couple’s different creative forms comes together as one, check out