Octorara Graduate Selected as Poet Laureate of Martha’s Vineyard

From his first song lyrics at age 9 or 10 to the new poet laureate of Martha’s Vineyard, Octorara High School graduate Justen Ahren has come a long way. Image via Maria Thibodeau, Vineyard Gazette.

He’s had the gift for most of his life, but he’s only polished it in the last 20 years.

And on the last day of April, that refined talent brought Octorara High School graduate Justen Ahren into the spotlight as Martha’s Vineyard’s poet laureate for 2017 to 2019.

“It’s a rare community that can support something like poetry,” Ahren said in a Vineyard Gazette report by Louisa Hufstader. “We’re doing that wonderfully on the island.”

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After writing song lyrics in elementary school, his first poem in high school, and music throughout college, Ahren set his pen down for eight years, only to rediscover his passion while living out of a backpack in Italy.

“I believe that poetry is not just a creative art, but that it is a healing and spiritual art as well,” he said. “I look forward to being of service.”

As poet laureate, Ahren will promote the art at schools, churches, community events, writing workshops, and more.

Read more about his journey to poet laureate of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts in the Vineyard Gazette here.

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