MM: What can attendees look forward to from you at this event – new work, favorite work, etc.?
JT: In addition to reading poems from my current manuscript Red Flower, White Flower I will be talking about inspiration—what it is, how it happens. I’ll be talking about how each poem came into being and about some local inspirations and dedications.
MM: What is the story behind your taking part in the Speakeasy?
JT: One day I was working the library desk and Beth asked me if I would like to read with Fanny at State Road restaurant to benefit the library. That’s like saying, “Would you like to commune with a loved one in a beautiful place for the sake of books?” How could I refuse?
MM: Why is the West Tisbury library important to you?
JT: The West Tisbury Library was my first refuge on the island. Back when I used to converge here with my husband’s family members who are scattered across the globe, the island was like an alien ship to me and the library well the library was the library. That’s the beauty of it, whether in a city or on an island or even on a ship, a library is a sanctuary. In its utter stability and intimacy a library is the opposite of a ship (or a train or a plane). It never arrives late or suddenly. It never departs slowly only to disappear out of sight. A library is that which remains, that which holds people while they learn and dream, while they resist travel even as they read of other places.
MM: What are you looking forward to the most about the event?
JT: I’m very much looking forward to reading alongside Fanny in West Tisbury’s only restaurant. There’s something appealingly dark and chocolaty about that front room and Fanny always radiates openness and solidarity.
MM: What does it mean to you to be a poet on Martha’s Vineyard?
JT: The practice of living on an island is not unlike the practice of being a writer. One belongs to the main and yet floats apart from it; one observes the world from a distance. This experience offers us concrete ways of talking about how to negotiate solitude & communion, build literary communities, create vibrant institutions & maximize the benefits of new technologies. Some of us ferry ourselves across the water often, regularly setting our boots upon the main, while others of us cleave to our particular clod of earth, preferring to touch the world as it rolls in ecstasy at our slippers. How best to be solitary? How best to commune? How write and live? Being a poet among poets here helps me grapple with these questions.
-photographs of Martha's Vineyard courtesy of Judith Lauren Buckley-
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