Words to take flight for Prominent Young Poet winners


Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) junior Jordan Wallace, son of Mark and Patricia Wallace of Oak Bluffs, hopes to play lacrosse and write poetry at Brown University. Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School (MVPCS) sophomore Annabelle “Zen” Hughes, daughter of Chuck and Linda Hughes of West Tisbury, started writing poetry in the third grade and hopes to attend Brown or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As two of the five recipients of the Island’s 2010 Promising Young Poets award, both will read their work at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Vineyard Haven at 7 pm on Friday, April 30, the final day of National Poetry Month.

They are joined by the other three finalists: Domonique Aaron, daughter of Mary Holman of Oak Bluffs; Lily Bick, daughter of Rob and Jennifer Bick of Vineyard Haven; and Jess Dupon, daughter of Michele Dupon of Oak Bluffs and Jean-Marc Dupon of Edgartown.

The five runners-up, who will also read, are Joe Aguilar, son of Cynthia Aguilar of West Tisbury; Annabelle Hackney, daughter of Fain and Melissa Hackney of West Tisbury; Chelsea Phaneuf, daughter of Bill and Dawna Phaneuf of Edgartown; Tonya Sequeira, daughter of Cynthia Sequeira of Edgartown; and Oscar Thompson, son of Jeff and Liz Thompson of Tisbury.

As part of their award, the winners and runners-up will each receive five copies of “Prominent Young Poets 2010,” a chapbook anthology of their work published by Sepiessa Press and funded by Pathways Projects Institutes. They will also receive an autographed copy of “Essential Pleasures,” an anthology edited by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. The winners also receive a stipend.

The awards program, in its inaugural year, was put together by West Tisbury Poet Laureate Fan Ogilvie and Michael West of Vineyard Voices and Sepiessa Press. The goal is to recognize annually the Island’s poets of high school age. A grant from the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council and funding from Marianne Goldberg of the Pathways Projects Institutes made this new project possible. The daRosa Corporation donated printing of the chapbook.

Vineyard Voice, the Island’s web journal of art and ideas founded and directed by Patrick Phillips, will videotape Friday night’s reading and create a DVD for Island schools, towns, and libraries. The videotaping is also expected to air on MVTV and Plum TV, and Island Voices will broadcast it on the web.

Mr. Wallace was the first freshman to have a poem published in Seabreezes, MVRHS’s annual literary and art journal, which he said was recently named Best High School Arts Magazine in Massachusetts. He has experimented with all forms of poetry, most recently looking at the work of the Black Mountain College poets.

A student at MVPCS since the fifth grade, Ms. Hughes initially thought she wanted to be a writer and illustrator of children’s books. More recently she has become interested in the role of neural connections in perception and plans to become a neurologist.

“It’s not enough to be intellectual or charismatic, the two main things that get people where they want to go,” Ms. Hughes says. A winner of the Chilmark Library’s Elisa Brickner Poetry Contest when she was in seventh grade, she likes to write free verse about romance, love, and personal themes in the second person.

Six of the ten honorees are students at MVPCS, while the other four attend MVRHS. The Promising Young Poets reading is free and open to the public.