Michael West rang a Tibetan bowl to begin the Winter Solstice Gathering of Poetry and Song held at the Vineyard Haven Library last Wednesday evening. William Waterway then raised the tone to celestial spheres as he played a Native American pipe; long, wooden and wide and draped with leather fringe.

Steve Ewing, the new poet laureate of Edgartown, took the stage next. Regarding his recent appointment, he said, “My one responsibility is to read a poem at the annual town meeting. I haven’t been going in awhile. Maybe that’s why they wanted me to do this.”

Mr. Ewing read three poems, two of them with nautical themes.

An unexpected highlight was Ben Williams, a regional high schol graduate of 2008, now attending Reed College. Tall and lanky, he performed his latest work with a subtle, yet stylish rap rhythm.

“The silverware sitting in my cereal screams as loudly as it did / on the day when it was forged / I hear the hack of the axe that felled the timber that / my chair is made of / The noise distracts me from my book / whose printing press smacks over the quiet / My mind jitters with the dreams that jut into morning.”

Other poets included Fan Ogilvie, the poet laureate of West Tisbury, Ellie Bates reading an earlier work written for her then-16-year-old-son about making peace with herself and Dan Waters with a piece entitled Summer, You Don’t Love Me Anymore.

“Used to be, you saw a rose, you smelled it / Found a pretty seashell, you held it / Stopped and watched the fireflies aglow / All in someone else’s life, long ago.”

Michael West debuted a song he’d been commissioned to write for a group assembling a protest video aimed at the annual Monster Shark Tournament held in Oak Bluffs each summer. To a jaunty melody reminiscent of the satirical tunes of Phil Ochs, he sang,

“They’re dangling bloody carcasses / From big hooks / Gutting the great sea creatures / Cutting out their jaws / They’re drinking by the case lots / From their coolers / Don’t you know the boys just / Want to have some fun?”

Clark Myers shared a dark poem about an obese Santa Claus and Justen Ahren, recently on an Emily Dickinson bender, referenced her Hope Is the Thing with Feathers.

Next on the agenda for the Martha’s Vineyard Poets Society is the selection of an Islandwide poet laureate. Year-round and seasonal poets are invited to submit five poems of any genre or style by March 1, 2012 to MV Poets Society, 5 Pleasant avenue, Edgartown MA, 02539.

For more information email mvpoets@yahoo.com or call 508-627-4929.