Justen Ahren Sunday, May 19th, 2019 6:00PM - Free A Machine For Remembering is former Martha's Vineyard Poet Laureate Justen Ahren's second collection of poetry. Three years in the making, the book includes black and white photographs from several trips to Europe to work with refugees and document the stories of refugees living in camps and elsewhere on the continent. This is a book of listening and witness to one of the defining human crises of our times. From the author's website: Justen Ahren is a poet, photographer, musician and writing workshop facilitator. He’s had two published collections of poetry, A Strange Catechism and A Machine for Remembering. His poems have been set to music by Grammy award-winning Composer Glen Roven, and Cuban composer Ileana Perez Valezquez, twice commissioned by Wendy Taucher Dance Theater Opera, and once by John Sims for his Afro Dixie Project. A Strange Catechism what made into a dramatic monologue and performed at The Yard, Chilmark and the poems and photos from A Machine for Remembering were turned into experimental theater and performed at Pathways Projects. In 2018, his poem was exhibited at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts as part of Consensus, Sally Taylor’s artist’s game of telephone. His photographic projects have taken him all over the world. He focuses on stories retained in landscape, residual memories and witness. He’s photographed refugee routes and landing sites in Italy, and Greece, as well as landscapes along the Mexico-United States border where immigrants are crossing. His photos have appeared recently in the visual arts journals HokTok and Cold Mountain Review, and in Bitten, award-winning science writer Kris Newby’s book on the origins of Lyme Disease. He’s had one solo show at the Feldman Family Art Space. In 2019, Ahren released his first album in 20 years (after 1996’s Remembering) The War for the Valley is a musical response to the Syrian refugee crises and the stories he heard while working with refugees in Greece. Beyond making art out of his experiences and interests, Ahren enjoys helping other writers find their way to creative abundance. In 2007 I founded Noepe Center for Literary Arts to provide writers with time and space to write. In 2013 he started the Italy Writing Retreat in Orvieto, Italy, which he leads. Currently he is developing his Enwritenment brand, workshops and online courses which guide writers as they establish a consistent writing practice.
Ahren was West Tisbury, Massachusetts Poet Laureate from 2013-2016 and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts Poet Laureate from 2017-2019.