In the year 1620, a woman boarded the Mayflower with dreams of a life of promise in the colonies. One of only 19 women, the traveler took her seat aboard the historic vessel, securing the very last berth on the entire ship. As the journey commenced, she wondered what the New World would bring.

This is the story that Fan Ogilvie, former poet laureate of West Tisbury, imagines in her upcoming book of poetry on the Mayflower, The Berth.

“It was a place for dreams, and work. It wouldn’t be easy, but in time we’d be told,” writes Ms. Ogilvie in the book’s title poem, The Last Berth on the Mayflower.

In an interview with the Gazette, Ms. Ogilvie elaborated on her work, her career and the experiences that brought her to her third poetry collection.

“The book originated from the poem that I wrote imagining a woman 400 years ago on the Mayflower,” she said, seated in a stone chair in the backyard of her West Tisbury home. “She represents a woman getting on board without family, without a husband and being useful and hoping that she could get to a place where she could really be free and start a new life.”

The book, not yet published, contains nearly 250 pages of collected poems composed over the past five years. While some poems in the collection focus on the Mayflower itself, many tackle contemporary subjects in the poet’s life, with themes like hope, agency and womanhood.

Taken together, the historical and contemporary pieces work in concert, creating a link between the woman on the boat centuries ago and Ms. Ogilvie, the poet, in the present day.

“It was like I had been writing for this the whole time, in some ways,” she said with a smile.

This week marks the 400 anniversary of the Mayflower voyage, a milestone in the country’s history and in Ms. Ogilvie’s work.

“It has always fascinated me that 130-some people, 107 of them pilgrims, decided that they had enough of persecution,” she said, gesturing at a sprawling field just beyond the backyard of her home. “It’s just not hard to imagine somebody 400 years ago, coming to the same kind of land.”

Many poems in the collection touch specifically on the history of the Vineyard.

“I really belong to this area,” she said, noting the country’s genesis at Plymouth, just miles from the Cape and Islands. “I hope readers get a sense of place.”

The book will also include paintings and photographs of Ms. Ogilvie’s that will work in conjunction with the poems. “It’s a very image-driven book,” she said.

Ms. Ogilvie, who has lived on the Vineyard for nearly 25 years, has been writing poetry since the age of seven. She has worked as both poet and teacher and played an active role in the Island’s poetry scene, heading the Cleveland House Poets group, leading reading groups for women at the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living, and teaching inmates at the Duke’s County jail.

Ms. Ogilvie’s work has garnered critical reception from high profile poets like former Poet Laureate of the United States Billy Collins.

For her, writing is not a choice — it is something she feels she must do.

“It’s what I love, it’s what I can do,” she said.

Ms. Ogilvie composes all her work from a small shack on the edge of her lawn — her own personal Walden, she said.

Over the course of her career, her work has spanned many topics and poetic forms. Her first collection, You, published in 2008, grapples with her relationship to her family, while her second book, Easinesses Found, showcases playful couplets with titles like Paganini Concerto Number One in D Major over Six on Laptop.

“[My style] has changed enormously I think, over the years,” she said. “It’s sort of like a recipe. You have the basics, but what are you going to do with this to really make it a thing.”

She credits American poetic giants like Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, who she calls “Mom and Dad, Emily and Walt,” as enduring influences in her work.

The Berth, however, has given her the chance to pivot further from her previous work, taking her back to a lifelong love of history, she said.

“I think a lot of people’s collections are in opposition to an earlier collection. They’re looking to go somewhere else,” she said. “This one is kind of back to my old roots. I was a history major. I really love history and I really love this’s a little more locked into who I am.”

With the collection underway and the Mayflower quatercentenary looming, Ms. Ogilvie hopes her work will remind readers of the unbreakable link we have with our past and of the things that connect us to those who came before.

“History is always coming back,” she said, looking out at the field once again. “It’s never past, it’s always in our life,”