Justen Ahren Is New Martha's Vineyard Poet Laureate

Justen Ahren of West Tisbury has been selected as the 2017-2019 Poet Laureate of Martha’s Vineyard.

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Sustained by the Poetry of Real Life

When Mary Stewart Hammond’s poem The Big Fish Story was published in The New Yorker 10 years ago, her husband “was so mortified,” she said, “He went down to the Stop & Shop (and) bought every copy so his friends wouldn’t see it.”

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Following the Language to Open Up New Roads

Fan Ogilvie has a new book out called Easinesses Found. In addition to poems, her artwork fills the pages. An opening reception for her artwork will be held Jan. 9 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the West Tisbury Library. A poetry reading will be held on Jan. 23.

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Wit and Wisdom Make Good Bedfellows

After a year away, Billy Collins returned to the Featherstone Center for the Arts on Tuesday evening to a hero’s welcome.

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Waiting for Words to Whisper in the Dark

At a recent event at the Katharine Cornell Theatre I was crowned Martha’s Vineyard poet laureate, succeeding Lee McCormack. I was given a two-year term, a plastic laurel wreath and a toga.

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Ode to Nancy Luce

Bless the poet/with the chickens/Bless the woman wracked/with pain

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National Book Award Nominee Lets the Music Lead the Words

Fanny Howe, whose latest book of poetry, Second Childhood, was nominated for the National Book Award, suggests that readers not try to understand her poems but rather just listen to the music of the words and images. Her collection centers around "the convergence between old age and childhood."

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Gay Head Light

Gay Head Light

In Memoriam: Todd Follansbee

Nothing gay this gray morning.
The salt-sprayed trees

and bushes bend over
like scared students,
tested by a towering teacher —

all brick, iron and glaring
glass — missing nothing.

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The Pull-By

I have learned a new word, a noun, the pull-by.

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Bass Fishing At Squibnocket

I stand as the black water

Of each wave’s backwash

Hugs my hip boots

Making little stars of light

The fish-filled night.

Early on I was hoping for a strike

Of some huge striped bass to fight,

But now, to hell with fishing,

I would rather stand here casting.

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