Renaissance House Retreat for Writers in Martha's Vineyard to Welcome Poets, 7/8

Renaissance House: A Retreat for Writers Salon Series will host an evening with Martha's Vineyard poets: Dan Waters, Mike West and Justin Ahren on Tuesday, July 8 at 7:30pm at Renaissance House, 31 Pennacook Avenue in Oak Bluffs.

The Renaissance House Salon Series is FREE to the public and is sponsored by the Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation For Artists In Need. Dessert is served after each salon.

Dan Waters, a poet and linoleum-block print artist, has illustrated and published poems in publications like Vineyard Gazette, Martha's Vineyard Magazine, Yankee Magazine and others. Appointed Poet Laureate of West Tisbury, the award-winning poet has published poetry collections including "Needing Winter" and "Skunk Night Sonnets.

Michael G. West is a noted Martha's Vineyard poet, novelist, playwright, singer, actor, performer and musician. He's penned mystery-thrillers "Dutch Reckoning," about a museum theft and "Xoc: The White Shark Murders," which takes place at the annual Monster Shark tournament in Oak Bluffs. '

Justin Ahren, West Tisbury Poet Laureate is founder and director of Martha's Vineyard's Noepe Center, a writer's residency, a writing retreat center, workshop space, a place of learning and creativity, and as a community in support of writing and the literary arts, and venue for readings, author talks, and other literary events. Ahren also instructs on principles found in monastic practices such as meditation, devotion, prayer, surrender and faith, and apply these to the practice of creating new writing.

"You've heard of The Three Tenors? There's the Three Good Lookin' Poets: Dan Waters, Mike West and Justin Ahern.' These three island poets work in harmony, joy and cheerfulness. Each will read from current works," said Abigail McGrath, founder, Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation and Renaissance House. "These poets are longtime members of Martha's Vineyard' creative community. They have a language tailored to the uniqueness of the island."

They will be joined by two Renaissance House resident poets. Afaa Michael Weaver is a Pushcart Award-winning poet, playwright, Fulbright scholar, Pew Fellow and director of the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center at Simmons College. He was recently profiled in Time Magazine for winning the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.

Jacqueline Jones LaMon is the author of two collections," Last Seen," a Felix Pollak Poetry Prize selection, and "Gravity, U.S.A.," recipient of the Quercus Review Press Poetry Series Book Award; and the novel, "In the Arms of One Who Loves Me." She is an NAACP Image Award finalist for literature whose work Bellevue Literary Review, Callaloo, and Crab Orchard Review.

The final program is:

7:30PM, Tuesday, July 15-- Jessica B. Harris, PhD, a food anthropologist, cultural culinary historian and cookbook author of "High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey From Africa to America" will explore how foods can teach history

During 2014, the Renaissance House Salon Series featured John Hough,Jr., author of novel Little Bighorn; MacArthur Fellow Patricia Williams, Columbia Law professor and "Diary of a Mad Law Professor" columnist for The Nation magazine; Jan Pogue, founder of Vineyard Stories book publishing and former reporter and editor for Philadelphia Inquirer and USA. On July 5, hosted a public reading of Frederick Douglass speech "What Does the Fourth of July Mean to A Negro?" at the Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs.

The Renaissance House Salon Series is a special highlight of the Renaissance House Retreat, which provides writers and artists with a subsidized retreat away from life's responsibilities and the space in which to create new works of art. Renaissance House is one of the few retreats designed for issue-oriented writers, writers of color and writers of social justice.
Renaissance House is an annual writers retreat sponsored by the Helene Johnson and Dorothy West Foundation, both of whom were women writers of the Harlem Renaissance. The inspiration was Harlem Renaissance writers Helene Johnson and Dorothy West. West was the author of the award-winning novel and film "The Wedding". Both West and her poet cousin Johnson (Mc Grath's mother) were writers during the Harlem Renaissance.

Renaissance House provides artists with a subsidized retreat away from life's responsibilities and the space in which to create new works of art. The Renaissance House Salon Series programs are free and open to the public. Please RSVP for a reservation. For more information call Renaissance House at 917-747-0367 or email

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