The pleasures of the page: Books by Dan Waters


“Prowling the Tupperware: The Verses of D.A.W.” by Daniel Waters. Indian Hill Press, 2011. 35 pp. $15.

“Vineyard Verses by D.A.W.” by Daniel Waters, Indian Hill Press, 2011. 37 pp. $15.

Dan Waters, aka D.A.W., artist, musician, owner/operator of Indian Hill Press, and the poet regularly heard on Cape and Islands NPR, has designed and published two new, soft-bound books of rhyming verse. In both, most of the four-line verses have been previously published in Yankee Magazine and The Vineyard Gazette, where Mr. Waters once worked.

In the note from the author that begins “Prowling the Tupperware,” he explains that the title connotes not the subject matter, but the theme: “a timely project,” a demonstration of confidence in words on a page. He writes, “I’m ready to print my conviction here in ink, on acid-free Mohawk Superfine 80-pound text, a premium archival-quality paper that (its makers claim) should last at least 100 years.”

With that established, the reader will hopefully be motivated to establish a mindset geared to appreciate small moments, everyday objects, and all those things that maintain their independence from advancements in technology.

“Prowling the Tupperware” includes quatrains on junk mail, seedless fruit, flu shots, groups of birds, fruit, and seasons, and in each case, give us something familiar to smile about.

Why Cats?

A farmer keeps a feline for

The mice she makes a beeline for.

The rest of us raise cats, perhaps,

To keep from having lonely naps.

In his second newly released offering, “Vineyard Verses,” Mr. Waters informs his readers: “There’s a peculiar pleasure in writing for a population so tiny that you know many of the people by name, and so boxed-in that you hear your voice echo off the nearby walls.”

“Vineyard Verses” is the humorous, witty, and oh-so-true perspective on the verities of Island life.

Ethel Merman on Martha’s Vineyard

Can’t swim in Chilmark;

I’m kicked off their beach.

Can’t meet the Clintons;

I’m kept out of reach.

I’d take that Black Dog

And dunk it in bleach.

That’s why the lady is a tramp.

And on the facing page, there’s his ode to the produce collective.

Whippoorwill Farm

Veggies grown with local care

Provide a satisfying share

Until you stop and realize: Eek!

We’re getting just as much next week!

It’s all here — day trippers, house guests, the ferry, the Campground, Island cars, and Nancy Luce — and Mr. Waters has the perfect knack of capturing the essence of it all. His books — there are close to a dozen — are fun and thoughtful. They also acknowledge the fraternity composed of Islanders.

In this super-quick push-button age of bigger-is-better, Mr. Waters’s books of verse offer a pause to lightly reflect on simple charms and the human condition.

Mr. Waters can be found at the Artisans Fairs at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury where he sells his original linoleum block prints, cards, and books Sundays, and on Sunday and Thursdays during July and August, 10 am to 2 pm.