Reading and Writing in Nantucket



A few days before the summer solstice,
I traveled with a group of women friends to the island of Nantucket for my first visit. We stayed at the  Star of the Sea hostel near Surfside Beach, a 20-minute bike ride from Nantucket village. The hostel was originally built as a lifesaving station in 1873 to respond to the hundreds of shipwrecks that occurred during the brutal storms that have stirred the seas around Nantucket.

IMG_6468During our three days on the island, we consumed the best raw oysters I have ever tasted, drank wine and ate chocolate while roasting hot dogs around a bonfire, biked from Sconset to Madaket, and attended a wonderful array of talks and readings by notable authors including Pulitzer-prize winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon; Ishmael Beah, author of A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier; Azar Nafisi, professor and author of Reading Lolita in Iran, as well as three wonderful and prolific female novelists: Ann Hood, Alice Hoffman and Jodi Picoult. All were part of the fourth annual Nantucket Book Festival.

We also became acquainted with Typewriter Rodeo, a quartet of poets from Austin, Texas. For the last few years they have traveled the country with their manual typewriters typing original poems on any topic requested. I asked Jodi, one of the four, to write about “Hope After Betrayal.”


“Oh,” she said, and I couldn’t help but think that she had also endured a first-hand experience with the topic– her sympathy was palpable.

She thought quietly for one moment and got to work, her fingers flying across the keys. Within minutes, she handed me this poem:

Hope After Betrayal

IMG_6460There’s that point where you think
This is it– I’m done with trust, or hope, or any
sense of goodness in the world
And everything is spiraling downwards
And it all
But oh. That sweet distant friend, Time.
Who holds your hand, and pulls you onward
Past days, past weeks, past months
Until one morning, you wake up and realize
Somehow, there’s been a shift. Subtle, but there.
And the bleak bleakness is just slightly rosier
And on the very edge of morning
                              Is just the tiniest fleck of hope.

Yes, the weekend brought one of those flecks. Thank you always to my women friends, and to Jodi and Nantucket.



IMG_6440IMG_6426IMG_6470IMG_6451IMG_6414For more on the Nantucket Book Festival, see:        For more on the TypewriterRodeo, see:


About HomenDunRoamin

Teaching Artist & Writer: fiction, poetry & nonfiction. Recently completed work: a hybrid memoir. In progress: a novel set in an unnamed Latin American country on the brink of war. The book examines violent and nonviolent resistance and the choices women are forced to make to survive.
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3 Responses to Reading and Writing in Nantucket

  1. Mindy says:

    Lovely, Debka!

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