Daniel Waters will be honored with the 2011 Creative Living Award, the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard announced this week.
The award will be presented on Oct. 18 at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury beginning at 5:30 p.m. All are invited to attend.
Though born in New Jersey and raised in Brazil, Dan Waters has spent his entire adult life on Martha’s Vineyard. By his own admission, each of his many work experiences over the years nurtured his passion for writing poetry in meter and rhyme and informed the publication of his work with linoleum-block print illustrations of his own design. It all began in Edgartown where Mr. Waters sold factory-second shoes which, in his words, gave him “a quick education about both the Island’s working class and its leisure class.” Then he learned the basics of graphics and offset printing at Tisbury Printer, and came to know local business owners and the differences between Island towns along the way. From that experience, Mr. Waters spent 17 years at the Vineyard Gazette which became his classroom for understanding darkroom photography, typesetting and journalism and provided him “an appreciation for Island history and how it underlies everyday life in all seasons.” It also marked the start of his lifelong work as a poet. From 1982 to the late 1990s, Mr. Waters produced more than 3,000 verses to help meet the practical need of filling small blank spaces on the paper’s pages. This led to poems which have appeared in Yankee Magazine, Martha’s Vineyard Magazine and many other publications and have been broadcast daily on the Cape and Islands NPR station as well.
Now through the Indian Hill Press, the company he founded, Mr. Waters writes, illustrates and prints his poetry. In his words, the Indian Hill Press is the “happy laboratory in the West Tisbury woods where I continue to conduct my daily experimentsand conspire to improve Island life in quiet ways.”
“His thoughtful and humorous poems, clever illustrations and artistic printmaking have endeared Dan with Islanders and visitors alike,” said Anne Williamson, chairman of the board of the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard. But though his art amuses and inspires, his boundless energy and selfless involvement in our community teaching English as a Second Language, chairing the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council, mentoring a charter school student, serving as an elected trustee of the West Tisbury Library and the town’s Poet Laureate shows how profoundly Dan has enriched life on the Island.”
In describing the process of creating a linoleum print, Mr. Waters writes “it’s spirit and spontaneity I’m striving for: an accidental sense of the inevitable.” Those words aptly describe the course of his life on the Vineyard as well.
The Creative Living Award has been sponsored by the Ruth J. Bogan-Ruth Redding Memorial Fund of the Permanent Endowment since 1983. This endowed fund honors the memory of Ruth Bogan who, in the words of her friend Ruth Redding, was a “gallant woman who loved beauty, who loved the Vineyard and who believed ‘anyone can do anything.’” Ruth Bogan first saw the Vineyard in 1947 and was delighted by the natural landscape. Although a nurse by training, she taught herself painting, photography, sculpture and three languages and was known to be an ingenious cook, an avid gardener and someone who could fix anything. According to Ruth Redding, “she met every problem as a challenge to be confronted with courage and intelligence.”
“With so much in common, writer, illustrator, printer and community volunteer Dan Waters surely would have been a great friend of Ruth Bogan,” Mrs. Williamson said.
The Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard is the Island’s community foundation. Established in 1982, its purpose is to connect people who care with causes that matter by putting charitable contributions to work for the people of Martha’s Vineyard through grants to local public and nonprofit organizations, scholarships for Island students and by building an endowment that will provide resources to address the community’s needs in perpetuity. For more information, see online endowmv.org or call 508-338-4665.