The Noepe Center for Literary Arts reopens in Featherstone


The Noepe Center for Literary Arts will reopen in partnership with the Featherstone Center for the Arts this month. Founded in 2007 by former Martha’s Vineyard Poet Laureate Justen Ahren, Noepe was originally housed at the Point Way Inn in Edgartown. In 2014, Noepe was named one of the top 20 residency programs in the United States, according to a press release from the organization.

For more than 10 years, it has provided time and space for more than 300 writers of all genres, the statement said. Noepe has organized readings and classes from poets and writers such as Billy Collins, Marie Howe, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jennifer Clement, Fanny Howe, Jennifer Tseng and Geraldine Brooks. Former teachers included Claire Messud, Bret Anthony Johnston, Richard Zacks, Annie Finch, Natalie Handal, Elizabeth Rosner, Emma D. Dryden, James Wood, Justen Ahren and Mary Otis. Noepe closed in 2017 when the Point Way Inn was sold. The statement explains that in the fall of 2018, Mathea Morais, a writer living in Martha’s Vineyard, approached Justen and Ann Smith, director of the Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs, to determine if there was a way to bring back Noepe at Island. Seeing that Featherstone had a newly renovated campus that included a new gallery and room for more classrooms and studio space, and that Mathea had the time and passion to run the program, it was decided that Noepe would have a new house and a new manager.

“Everyone involved saw this partnership as the natural next step,” Morais said in the statement. “Featherstone is where so much art is created on the island. It only makes sense that this is the space where writing is also created. As a writer, Noepe was incredibly valuable to me. I’m excited to take on the enormous challenge of filling Justen’s shoes, honoring all that he and the Noepe community have built, and finding new ways to grow amid the beautiful Featherstone campus.

“Ten years ago, I founded Noepe to nurture writers and good writing,” Ahren says in the statement. “From our home in Edgartown, we have provided hundreds of writers with time and space to create, as well as inspiration and education. At the same time, without realizing it, Noepe nurtured something else: the community. From this, many wonderful things have blossomed. Noepe’s partnership with Featherstone is the latest example. I’m thrilled that Noepe’s simple mission of nurturing writers and writing will continue at Featherstone.

In the press release, Ann Smith, Executive Director of Featherstone, said: “We are beyond thrilled to welcome and house the Noepe Center for Literary Arts in Featherstone. Our mission to engage, enrich and connect our community through the power of art and creativity is enhanced by sharing this additional “voice” for creative expression. »

The summer 2019 lineup will kick off with internationally acclaimed poet Billy Collins, who will give both his biennial reading on June 9 at 6:30 p.m., as well as a writing workshop on June 10, from 9 a.m. to noon. . The Billy Collins reading will be followed by many more poetry readings over the summer, including poets such as John Koethe (July 14), Susan Kingsolve (September 1) and others. In July, Noepe will offer three workshops. The first will be “This Summer You’re Writing Your Novel” (July 10-14), taught by Naomi Jackson, an Iowa graduate and award-winning author of “The Star Side of Bird Hill.” The second workshop will be “Deconstructing the Short Story” (July 17-21), led by Bret Anthony Johnston, author of the internationally bestselling novel “Remember Me Like This” and recipient of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, whose release United United is known as “the richest and most prestigious award in the world for a single short story”. The third workshop will be Justen Ahren’s internationally taught and attended workshop, “Rising a Stone: Cultivating a Daily Writing Practice” (July 24-28). Plus, this year, for the sixth year in a row, Noepe will be offering free writing workshops at Islanders Write in August (which is also moving to Featherstone). Going forward, Noepe will offer ongoing year-round programming that will include workshops, readings, public writing hours, and more. The entire Island community is encouraged to participate in the many programs offered this summer and beyond. Featherstone and Noepe want to make sure anyone who wants to take the classes can do so.

If you would like to take a course offered by Noepe, but are unable to do so for financial reasons, contact Ann Smith to discuss scholarship options at 508-693-1850.


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