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Pathways - Featherstone - Noepe Center
Summer Festival of Poetry

Pathways Projects,  Featherstone Center for the Arts & Noepe Center for Literary Arts is proud to present: 
The Pathways - Featherstone - Noepe Center Summer Festival of Poetry 

Offering music and refreshments at 6:00 p.m.
Poets will read at 7:00 p.m. 

Tickets are sold on a first come basis on the day of the event beginning at 6:00 p.m. 
Bunch of Grapes Bookstore will offer poetry books for purchase. 

Tuesday, July 1
Rachel Webster
$10 per person, in the Virginia Weston Besse Gallery

Rachel Jamison Webster grew up in the small town of Madison, Ohio, on Lake Erie and now lives in Evanston, Illinois, where she teaches at Northwestern University. She is the author of September: Poems, (Northwestern University Press 2013), and a chapbook, The Blue Grotto (Dancing Girl Press 2009). For several years, she designed and taught writing workshops for urban youth, helping to develop Words 37 with Chicago’s First Lady Maggie Daley and co-editing two anthologies of writing by young Chicagoans, Alchemy (2001) and Paper Atrium (2005). Rachel is also the editor and director of the online anthology of international poetry, UniVerse. Her most recent work with UniVerse has involved creating a radio series about poetry for Chicago Public Radio, called “The Gift.”

Rachel began writing when she was in middle school and started publishing poems when she was still in high school. She was first inspired by her family, and by the woods and rhythms of the water. She attended DePaul University, Lewis & Clark College and The Warren Wilson Program for Writers, where she earned her M.F.A. She has taught at the college level since she finished her M.F.A. and has found that teaching and writing provide an exciting, symbiotic climb into consciousness.

Rachel has won Emerging Artist awards from the Academy of American Poets, The American Association of University Women, The Poetry Center of Chicago and The Poetry Foundation. Her poems and essays are published in many anthologies and journals like Poetry, Narrative Magazine, The Southern Review, The Paris Review and others, some of which can be found here.

Tuesday, July 22
Jennifer Tseng & Justen Ahren
$10 per person, in the Virginia Weston Besse Gallery

Jennifer Tseng
The poems in Red Flower, White Flower are lyric interviews with communion and solitude, nativity and
immigration, generation and regeneration. Like a tree that bears both red and white fruit, the two flowers are grafted; their meanings grow from one tangled source. Influenced as much by children’s fables and Chinese folktales as by metaphysical poets of the last few centuries, these poems cleave to multiplicity, hybridity, crossness, being dappled. At once elegy and introduction, they are the poems of an immigrant’s descendant writing in the 21st century. These bilingual poems return lost baggage to lone travelers; they dwell in one homeland while always keeping other homelands in sight.

Red Flower, White Flower, Jennifer Tseng’s second collection of poems, is a beautifully wrought 21st century fable -- urgent, questioning and necessary. Historically and socially informed and engaged, nimble in its movement from verse to prose and back again, this collection of poems forges a link between voice and reader with its musical and emotional registers, with charged language and dangerous swerves, with the stories it inhabits and the questions it lives: “Who will care less for the flower than for its unfolding?”

    -from Derick Burleson’s judge’s citation

“The poems in Jennifer Tseng's Red Flower, White Flower have a highly intuitive use of music, serious humor, mystery, grief, and along with grief, unguarded understanding and puzzlement, side by side.  It is as if this poetry has been waiting in a room somewhere, or a river, or a forest, and now Jennifer Tseng has led us into it—I sometimes even felt some sense of her own surprise—all carried over with a sort of underwater intelligence, light gravity.”
-Jean Valentine, author of Break the Glass

Jennifer Tseng’s book The Man With My Face (AAWW 2005) won the 2005 Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s National Poetry Manuscript Competition and a 2006 PEN American Center Open Book Award. Her new book Red Flower, White Flower, winner of the Marick Press Poetry Prize, features English originals alongside Chinese translations by Mengying Han and Aaron Crippen. Tseng works at the West Tisbury Library on Martha’s Vineyard.

Please visit Jennifer's website at jennifertseng.weebly.com

Justen Ahren  
West Tisbury, Poet Laureate Justen Ahren's work has appeared in numerous literary journals including, most recently, Fulcrum, BorderSenses, Borderlands, Texas Poetry Review, and Comstock Review. 

He is a graduate of Emerson College's MFA program, and lives with his wife and two children on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, where he founded and directs the Noepe Center for Literary Arts and the Martha's Vineyard Writer's Residency. 
He frequently teaches poetry and writing workshops on Martha's Vineyard and in Labro, Italy.

Monday, August 18
MV Film Center and Featherstone Center for the Arts present Girl Rising 
with special performance by poet and spoken word artist: Azure Antoinette

7:30 pm (doors open at 6:45 pm)
Azure will perform the poem "Superhero" which Girl Rising commissioned.

For more information about Girl Rising:

For more information about Azure Antoinette:

You may purchase tickets at the MV Film Center:
$12 and $9 for members

Tuesday, August 19 
Azure Antoinette
$20 per person, under the Summer Tent
Called "the Maya Angelou of the Millennial generation", Azure Antoinette is a poet, spoken word artist, freelance photographer, and youth and arts advocate whose performance poetry explores the ways social media is reshaping humanity. In 2011, she founded an arts-in-education program that provides custom workshops to excite and educate teen girls on how spoken word, performance poetry, and social media can make an impact on the world. For this project and many others, she was included in Forbes's 100 Most Powerful Women in the World issue in 2012 and was featured in a special section titled "Women Helping Women."

Azure Antoinette is in high demand as a poet, arts-in-education consultant, speaker and workshop facilitator on youth poetic expression and creative writing as catharsis. She has been commissioned to write for Maria Shriver, Beats By Dr. Dre, Girl Scouts of America, The Documentary Group, California Arts Council, the late Lt. Colonel Lee Archer (Tuskegee Airman), American Cancer Society's benefit Art 4 Life and many more.  and Azure Antoinette recently with ABC Family developing new programming around the subject of teen voices and expression. 

Antoinette is the creator of STUDIO:alchemy, an arts-in-education organization, operating curriculum in New York, Iowa and Los Angeles. Additionally, Azure established Aalchemik Press - an independent publishing house for poetry and narrative literary work in 2011.

Azure believes that we should all strive to do what we love for a living, she can be found living by a quote that she penned in 2010 - "Take it moment by moment, sometimes a day is too much."

Azure Antoinette is a published author of 3 titles, BitterSweet, Commissioned, Comissioned:the Back Story and an upcoming title For the Sake of Brevity.

Biography from Azure's website azureantoinette.com

2013 Pathways - Featherstone Summer Festival of Poetry Readings:

Thursday, July 18: Marie Howe

Tuesday, July 23: 
John Koethe

Friday, August 9: Billy Collins
Under the Summer Tent at Featherstone

Tuesday, August 27: 
Nathalie Handal

2012 Pathways - Featherstone Summer Festival of Poetry Readings:

Tuesday, July 17
Poets Laureate: Dan Waters, Fan Ogilvie, Justen Ahren & Steve Ewing

Sunday, July 29:
Carolyn Forche

Award-winning Poet of Witness
Human Rights Advocate

Renowned as a “poet of witness,” Carolyn Forché is the author of four books of poetry. Her first poetry collection, Gathering The Tribes (Yale University Press, 1976), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. In 1977, she traveled to Spain to translate the work of Salvadoran-exiled poet Claribel Alegría, and upon her return, received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which enabled her to travel to El Salvador, where she worked as a human rights advocate. Her second book, The Country Between Us (Harper and Row, 1982), received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was also the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets. Her third book of poetry, The Angel of History (HarperCollins, 1994), was chosen for The Los Angeles Times Book Award. Blue Hour is her fourth collection of poems (HarperCollins, 2003). She is currently at work on a memoir of her years in El Salvador, Lebanon, South Africa and France.

Forché’s anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, was published by W.W. Norton & Co. in 1993. Her translation of Claribel Alegria's work, Flowers From The Volcano, was published by the University Pittsburgh Press in 1983. In 2000, Curbstone Press published a new book of her translations of Alegría, entitled Sorrow. In 1983, Writers and Readers Cooperative (New York and London) published El Salvador: Work of Thirty Photographers, for which she wrote the text. In 1991, The Ecco Press published her translations of The Selected Poetry of Robert Desnos (with William Kulik). She co-translated Selected Poetry of Mahmoud Darwish (University of California Press, 2002), from which a chapbook selection had been published by The Lannan Foundation (2001).

In 1998 in Stockholm, she was given the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award, in recognition of her work on behalf of human rights and the preservation of memory and culture. Her articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Esquire, Mother Jones, and others. Forché has held three fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1992 received a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship.

Carolyn Forché is Lannan Visiting Professor of Poetry and Professor of English at Georgetown University, and lives in Maryland with her husband, photographer Harry Mattison.

(from: blueflowerarts.com)

Tuesday, August 7:
Terrance Hayes

National Book Award-Winning Poet

"First you'll marvel at his skill, his near-perfect pitch, his disarming humor, his brilliant turns of phrase. Then you'll notice the grace, the tenderness, the unblinking truth-telling just beneath his lines, the open and generous way he takes in our world." —Cornelius Eady

One of the most compelling voices in American poetry, Terrance Hayes is the author of four books of poetry; Lighthead (2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award in Poetry; Wind in a Box, winner of a Pushcart Prize; Hip Logic, winner of the National Poetry Series, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Muscular Music, winner of both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has been a recipient of many other honors and awards, including two Pushcart selections, four Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation. His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Fence, The Kenyon Review, Jubilat Harvard Review, and Poetry. His poetry has been featured on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Lighthead, his most innovative collection, investigates how we construct experience, presenting “the light-headedness of a mind trying to pull against gravity and time.” Its citation for the National Book Award described it as a "dazzling mixture of wisdom and lyric innovation." In Muscular Music, Hayes takes reader through a living library of cultural icons, from Shaft and Fat Albert to John Coltrane and Miles Davis. In Wind in a Box he explores how identity is shaped by race, heritage, and spirituality with the unifying motif being the struggle for freedom within containment. In Hip Logic, Hayes confronts racism, sexism, religion, family structure, and stereotypes with overwhelming imagery.

Hayes is an elegant and adventurous writer with disarming humor, grace, tenderness, and brilliant turns of phrase, very much interested in what it means to be an artist and a black man. He writes, "There are recurring explorations of identity and culture in my work and rather than deny my thematic obsessions, I work to change the forms in which I voice them. I aspire to a poetic style that resists style. In my newest work I continue to be guided by my interests in people: in the ways community enriches the nuances of individuality; the ways individuality enriches the nuances of community."

A Professor of Creative Writing at Carnegie Mellon University, Hayes lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and children.

(from: blueflowerarts.com)

Tuesday, August 14:
Jorie Graham

Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet

Jorie Graham, the daughter of a journalist and a sculptor, was born in 1950 and raised in Rome, Italy. As a teenager she helped out on the sets of Antonioni films, which inspired her interest in the medium of film. She went to French schools and to the Sorbonne, but was expelled for taking part in student protests. She attended New York University as an undergraduate where shestudied film with Haig Manoogian and Martin Scorsese. It was there that her passion for poetry was sparked—after walking past a classroom taught by M. L. Rosenthal. The teacher was reciting a snippet of “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” by T. S. Eliot: “I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. / I do not think they will sing to me.” Graham was struck by how much the words moved her and since then, she has immersed herself in the writing and reading of poems. She received an MFA from the University of Iowa.

Graham is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Sea Change (2008), Overlord (HarperCollins, 2005); Never (HarperCollins, 2002); Swarm (2000); The Errancy (1997); The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-1994, which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Materialism (1993); Region of Unlikeness (1991); The End of Beauty (1987); Erosion (1983); and Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts (1980). She has also edited two anthologies, Earth Took of Earth: 100 Great Poems of the English Language (1996) and The Best American Poetry 1990. Her many honors include a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She has taught at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and is currently the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University. She served as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1997 to 2003. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut.

With her many collections of poetry, it is said that Jorie Graham has invented a new poetic language—at once lyrical and analytical, sensuous and philosophical, shifting between acceleration and breaking. Rejecting the conventional lyric, Graham creates poems that range across the page and across human experiences, dramas of faith, perception, and emotion. Her poems press language to the breaking point, but out of the ruins emerges a startling new world. As she puts it: “the infinite variety of having once been, / of being, of coming to life, right there in the thin air.”

(from: blueflowerarts.com)

2011 Poets:

Thursday, June 9:
Dawn Lundy Martin & Ronaldo Wilson

Dawn Lundy Martin is the author of DISCIPLINE (Nightboat Books 2011), which was selected by Fanny Howe for the Nightboat Poetry Prize, A Gathering of Matter/A Matter of Gathering (University of Georgia Press 2007), winner of the Cave Cavem Prize; and, The Morning Hour, selected in 2003 by C.D. Wright for the Poetry Society of America's National Chapbook Fellowship. Among her many honors include Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grants for Poetry in 2002 and 2006 and the 2008 Academy of American Arts and Sciences May Sarton Prize for Poetry. She is a founding member of the Black Took Collective, a group of experimental black poets; co-editor of a collection of essays, The Fire This Time: Young Activists And The New Feminism (Anchor Books, 2004); and a founder of the Third Wave Foundation in New York, a national young feminist organization. She is an assistant professor of English in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Ronaldo V. Wilson is the author of Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man (University of Pittsburgh, 2008), winner of the 2007 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and Poems of the Black Object (Futurepoem Books, 2009), winner of the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, and the Asian American Literary Award in Poetry in 2010. Co- founder of the Black Took Collective, Wilson is a currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Mount Holyoke College, and recent guest faculty at The Millay Colony, The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church, and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa University. He will begin teaching in the Literature Program at U.C. Santa Cruz in Fall 2011.

Featherstone Center for the Arts is honored to be including these award-winning writers in its vibrant, longstanding and ongoing history of supporting African Americans in the Arts.

Thursday, July 21:
Robert Pinsky & Stan Strickland: "An Evening of Poetry & Jazz"


Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky was born on October 20, 1940 in Long Branch, New Jersey. He received a
B.A. from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and earned both an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Stanford University, where he was a Stegner Fellow in cr
eative writing, and studied under the poet and critic Yvor Winters.

He is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently Gulf Music: Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 2007); Jersey Rain (2000); The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 (1996), which received the 1997 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee; The Want Bone (1990); History of My Heart (1984); An Explanation of America (1980); and Sadness and Happiness (1975).

He is also the author of several prose titles, including The Life of David (Schocken, 2006); Democracy, Culture, and the Voice of Poetry (2002); The Sounds of Poetry (1998), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Poetry and the World (1988); and The Situation of Poetry(1977). In 1985 he also released a computerized novel, Mindwheel.

Pinsky has published two acclaimed works of traslation: The Inferno of Dante (1994), which was a Book-of-the-Month-Club Editor's Choice, and received both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award; and The Separate Notebooks by Czeslaw Milosz (with Renata Gorczynski and Robert Hass).

About his work, the poet Louise Glück has said, "Robert Pinsky has what I think Shakespeare must have had: dexterity combined with worldliness, the magician's dazzling quickness fused with subtle intelligence, a taste for tasks and assignments to which he devises ingenious solutions."

From 1997 to 2000, he served as the United States Poet Laureate and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. During that time, he founded the Favorite Poem Project, a program dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry's role in Americans' lives.

In 1999, he co-edited Americans' Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology with Maggie Dietz. Other anthologies he has edited include An Invitation to Poetry (W.W. Norton & Company, 2004); Poems to Read (2002); and Handbook of Heartbreak (1998).

His honors include an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, both the William Carlos Williams Award and the Shelley Memorial prize from the Poetry Society of America, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. He is currently poetry editor of the weekly Internet magazine Slate.

Pinsky has taught at both Wellesley College and the University of California, Berkeley, and currently teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Stan Strickland

Singer, saxophonist, flutist, actor Stan Strickland has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, the Caribbean, New 
Zealand and the former Soviet Union. In addition to numerous radio and television appearances, Stan has performed in many clubs and concert halls, including Jordan and Symphony Halls in Boston, Carnegie Recital Hall and Town Hall in New York, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. His work has been featured on recordings by Bob Moses, Marty Erlich, Webster Lewis and Brute Force. Stan has performed with jazz greats Yusef Lateef, Pharoah Sanders, Herbie Mann, Danilo Perez, Shirley Scott and Marlena Shaw. Love & Beauty, Stan's new jazz vocal CD, featuring new arrangements of great jazz classics as well as original material, was released by Hawkline Records in 2005.

Stan has opened for Jazz greats Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, and for Barenaked Ladies. He toured South Africa with The Village People, and was a featured soloist with Take Six and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall.

His acting experience includes the leading roles in the Boston Art Group's production of Harlem Renaissance, Notheastern University's production of Crossing John, and Dr. Sax in a production of Jon Lipsky's play about Jack Kerouac, Maggie's Riff, produced by the Vineyard Playhouse.

Stan has performed and collaborated with over a dozen choreographers including Alvin Ailey, Jose Limon, and Bill T. Jones.

Stan is profiled/featured, (along with Blair Underwood and Lamar Burton), in a new film documentary that was filmed this past spring, entitled Black Man Up.

He has performed at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival for the premiere of Academy Award winning documentary Born into Brothels and at three exclusive fashion/fragrance events for fashion icon Donna Karan.

Stan has a M.A. degree from Lesley College in Expressive Arts Therapy where he is an adjunct professor. He also teaches at Berklee College of Music, Tufts University and Longy School of Music.

Stan is Co-Executive Director of Express Yourself, a multidisciplinary team of professional artists, working in partnership with adolescents in public mental health residential facilities to produce multimedia performances that celebrate the restorative powers of serious art making.

Thursday, July 28

Billy Collins

Dubbed “the most popular poet in America” by Bruce Weber in the New York Times, Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself. John Updike praised Collins for writing “lovely poems...Limpid, gently and consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides.” But Collins has offered a slightly different take on his appeal, admitting that his poetry is “suburban, it’s domestic, it’s middle class, and it’s sort of unashamedly that.” Collins’s level of fame is almost unprecedented in the world of contemporary poetry: his readings regularly sell out, and he received a six-figure advance when he moved publishers in the late 1990s. He served two terms as the US Poet Laureate, from 2001-2003, was New York State Poet Laureate from 2004-2006, and is a regular guest on National Public Radio programs. Collins has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts and has taught at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence, and Lehman College, City University of New York. Appealing to both general readers and those who follow contemporary poetry closely, Collins has demonstrated a skill for “building a rare bridge of admiration for his work between [the] serious literary fold and poetry novitiates,” observed Weber.

Billy Collins was born in 1941 in New York City. He earned a BA from the College of the Holy Cross, and both an MA and PhD from the University of California-Riverside. In 1975 he co-founded the Mid-Atlantic Review with Michael Shannon. Though Collins published throughout the 1980s, it was his fourth book, Questions about Angels (1991), that propelled him into the literary spotlight. The collection was selected by poet Ed
Hirsch for the 1990 National Poetry Series. A Publishers Weekly critic applauded the collection’s “strange and wonderful [images]” but believed that the poems—which are often “constricted by the novelty of a unifying metaphor”—”rarely induce an emotional reaction.” In contrast, reviews of Collins’s subsequent work regularly laud his ability to connect with readers. Assessing Picnic, Lightning (1998), Booklist contributor Donna Seaman praised “the warmth of his voice [which] emanates from his instinct for pleasure and his propensity toward humor.” Discussing Picnic, Lightning and its predecessor, The Art of Drowning (1995), John Taylor noted that Collins’ skillful, smooth style and inventive subject matter “helps us feel the mystery of being alive.” Taylor added: “Rarely has anyone written poems that appear so transparent on the surface yet become so ambiguous, thought-provoking, or simply wise once the reader has peered into the depths.”

Taking off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes (2000) was the first Collins collection published outside the US. It selected work from his previous four books and was met with great acclaim in the UK. Poet and critic Michael Donaghy called Collins a “rare amalgam of accessibility and intelligence,” and AL Kennedy described the volume as containing “great verse, moving, intelligent and darkly funny.” Sailing around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001), the US version of Collins’s selected, had a tumultuous journey to print. The story, which garnered a front-page slot in the New York Times, originally cast Collins’s first publishers, the University of Pittsburgh Press, in an unfair light, accusing them of refusing to grant rights for poems requested by Random House for inclusion in Sailing around the Room. However, it later emerged that Random House had begun to produce the book without first securing rights from Pitt Poetry Press, a highly unusual move for a major publishing house to make. Dennis Loy Johnson reported on the controversy for Salon, noting that “ultimately it was Random House, not Pitt, that chose to delay the publication of Collins’ selected volume.” The battle between Random House and the University of Pittsburgh Press was public and uncharacteristic of the sleepy world of poetry publishing. When Sailing around the Room was finally published, in 2001, it was met with enthusiastic reviews and brisk sales.

Collins’s next books Nine Horses: Poems (2002), The Trouble with Poetry (2005) and Ballistics (2008) have continued his sales streak by offering more poems that mix humor with insight. Reviewing Nine Horses for the New York Times, Mary Jo Salter commented that Collins’s “originality derives, it seems, from the marriage of a loopy, occasionally surreal imagination…to an ordinary life observed in just a few ordinary words.” She added that “one appeal of the typical Collins poem is that it’s less able to help you memorize it than to help you to remember, for a little while anyway, your own life.” But Collins’s emphasis on writing—and writing “ordinary life” at that—can, for some critics, make his poetry seem pedestrian or one-note. In the Independent, British poet Hugo Williams called the poems in The Trouble with Poetry “diary entries from the
mind’s present tense. Since there is no hiding in this world, we might as well start from where we are and see what happens. In the end, what these poems are about is writing, never the greatest subject.” Others however, and certainly many readers, find Collins a source of warmth, wit and surprisingly sure technique. Jane Holland, for Tower Poetry, wrote of Ballistics: “These poems are written in a drawl (and perhaps intended to be read with one) but with a constantly heightened delivery that I’m convinced would be difficult for most other poets to sustain without flagging—or not without wishing he/she could shift register and become either lyrical or serious for a change.” Other reviewers have noted how Collins’s poems manifest a literal concern for their readers. John Deming in Cold Front Mag talked about Collins’s concern for those reading his poems because “the transmission of poem to head takes place always elsewhere and in silence, in the mysterious space where poems live…Collins lets us access this place with alarming graciousness, and the openness of his voice probably helps account for his popularity.”

Poet Richard Howard has said of Collins: “He has a remarkably American voice…that one recognizes immediately as being of the moment and yet has real validity besides, reaching very far into what verse can do.” Collins has described himself as “reader conscious”: “I have one reader in mind, someone who is in the room with me, and who I’m talking to, and I want to make sure I don’t talk too fast, or too glibly. Usually I try to create a hospitable tone at the beginning of a poem. Stepping from the title to the first lines is like stepping into a canoe. A lot of things can go wrong.” Collins further related: “I think my work has to do with a sense that we are attempting, all the time, to create a logical, rational path through the day. To the left and right there are an amazing set of distractions that we usually can’t afford to follow. But the poet is willing to stop anywhere.”

Thursday, August, 4:
Tina Chang

Tina Chang was born in 1969 in Oklahoma to Chinese immigrants. She and her family moved to Queens, New York a year later. Chang attended Binghamton University and received her M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia University.

Her first book of poetry, Half-Lit Houses (Four Way Books, 2004), was a finalist for an Asian American Literary Award from the Asian American Writers Workshop. She is also the co-editor, with Nathalie Handal and Ravi Shankar, of Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia and Beyond (W.W. Norton, 2008).

She has held residencies at MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Artist's Residency, Vermont Studio Center, Fundacion Valparaiso, Ragdale, Blue Mountain Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has also received awards from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, Poets & Writers, and the Van Lier Foundation.

Chang was elected Brooklyn Poet Laureate in 2010. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and her new collection of poetry, Of Gods and Strangers, is forthcoming in 2011
from Four Way Books.

Thursday, August 18:
Naomi Shihab Nye
With special introduction by Caroline Kennedy

Naomi Shihab Nye was born on March 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Jordan, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her B.A. in English and world religions from Trinity University.

Nye is the author of numerous books of poems, including You and Yours (BOA Editions,
2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, as well as 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East, Fuel (1998), Red Suitcase (1994), and Hugging the Jukebox (1982).

Nye gives voice to her experience as an Arab-American through poems about heritage
and peace that overflow with a humanitarian spirit. About her work, the poet William Stafford has said, "her poems combine transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insight. She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life."
Nye has received awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Carity Randall Prize, the International Poetry Forum, as well as four Pushcart Prizes. She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow. In 1988 she received The Academy of American Poets' Lavan Award, selected by W. S. Merwin.

Her poems and short stories have appeared in various journals and reviews throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle and Far East. She has traveled to the Middle East and Asia for the United States Information Agency three times, promoting international goodwill through the arts.

She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2010. The Academy of American Poets' Board of Chancellors serve several functions. They advocate for the programmatic work of the Academy; act as consultants to the organization on matters of artistic direction and programming; elect the recipients of some of our awards, including the Academy Fellowship; and serve as ambassadors of poetry in the world at large.

"Nye gives voice to her experience as an Arab-American through poems about heritage and peace that overflow with a humanitarian spirit. About her work, the poet William Stafford has said, "her poems combine transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insight. She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life."
                                                                                      (from  poets.org)

2010 Poets:

Patrick Phillips, Clark Myers & Jennifer Tseng

Alice Ksosiemba & Nikkoletta Nousiotoulou

Judith Tannenbaum & Richard Miichelson

2009 Poets:

Justen Ahren & John Maloney

Fan Ogilvie & Fanny Howe

Patrick Phillips & Ben Williams

Donald Nitchie & Honor Moore

Billy Collins

Naomi Shihab Nye

2007 Poets:

Billy Collins

Featherstone, in coordination with the Martha's Vineyard Writers Residency, offers a poetry series for the summer months at Featherstone. The Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency was established in 2007 to give writers of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, memoir and play writing, a place in which to create or complete new works. Co-directors of the Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency, Justen Ahren and Fan Ogilvie, both poets, invite off-island writers to Martha’s Vineyard to foster a larger writing community. Each October eight writers of various genres convene to form a community of peers. Residencies last from two weeks to one month.

Please visit www.writersresidency.com for more information.

Fall Poetry Events

Fall Festival of Poetry & Music
MV Poets Society

Day: Saturday
October 20

Time: 4:00 - 6:00PM 
Location: Virginia Weston Besse Gallery

Lee McCormack (Martha's Vineyard Poet Laureate); Dan Waters (former West Tisbury Poet Laureate); Justen Ahren (current West Tisbury Poet Laureate); Fan Ogilvie (former West Tisbury Poet Laureate); Steve Ewing (Edgartown Poet Laureate); and William Waterway, founder - Martha's Vineyard Poetry Society. 

This event will be followed by a food and beverage social.

Pathways - Featherstone 

Promising Young Poets Awards

Thursday, April 4:
4rd Annual Promising Young Poets of Martha's Vineyard
4:00PM in the Pebble Gallery, Featherstone Center for the Arts

Thursday, April 5:
3rd Annual Promising Young Poets of Martha's Vineyard
4:00PM in the Pebble Gallery, Featherstone Center for the Arts

    Winners: Annabelle Hackney, Sarah Gruner, Lizzie Kelleher, Oscar Thompson, Paige Taylor, Claudia Taylor

Runners Up: Maddie Scott, Samantha Valley

MVPatch: Promising Young Poets of Martha's Vineyard Honored at Featherstone

Wednesday, April 6: 
2nd Annual Promising Young Poets of Martha's Vineyard
4:00PM in the The Pebble Gallery, Featherstone Center for the Arts

    Winners: Jess Dupon (MVPCS), Lizzie Kelleher (MVRHS), Claudia Taylor (MVRHS), Jordan Wallace (MVRHS)    
    Runners-up: Truda Silberstein (MVRHS), Oscar Thompson (MVPCS)