Waterfront Poems, Vineyard Seasons by Steve Ewing, Blow Out Villa Books, 137 pages.

Here on the Island, for many living is an art form and here artists abound. There are carpenters who are sculptors, masons who are musicians, waitresses who are painters, painters who are potters, the list goes on.

Steve Ewing of Edgartown lives such a life. Though famed for his work as a dock builder he is also a true poet, one who lives his poems before scribing them. Now the poet laureate of Edgartown has given us a collection of his work that illustrates what a warm, loving and thoughtful pile driver he is.

In the forward to his new book, Waterfront poems, Vineyard seasons, his friend Chris Scott likens Steve to another famed Scottish bard, Robert Burns. It is an apt comparison.

Robert Burns was working class and wrote of love and life and friendship for the commoners because that was who he was: a commoner. What’s compelling about Mr. Ewing’s work is that he has been a working class person here on the Island all his life, and his poems reflect his experience from the vantage point of working on the water and on the waterfronts of our Island.

His particular fame is subtle. His is the six-in-the-morning, coffee shop kind of fame, the kind of notoriety that isn’t fenced in and walled off, and his poems often reflect this. He writes about love for wife, family, children and of some of the more colorful characters he holds as dear friends. He writes about his love for the Island which comes from deep in his soul.

His collection presents us with much more than a body of work; it presents us with a history of place, this place. Just looking at the many illustrations by Island artists included in the book you come away with a deeper sense of the Island, its harbors, its landscapes and its people.

Though he thoughtfully eulogizes some of his friends that have passed to Valhalla, he finds no need to eulogize the Island. In fact, his work gives new breath to the way of life many of us have enjoyed as we work hard at our tasks and then sneak off to follow our other callings.

I first became acquainted with Steve during my own time spent on the waterfront of Vineyard Haven and shingling in Edgartown during the winter. I would see him and his crew plying the waters on his barge going to the next job, the next piling, his next dock to repair. Come summer, for some the first step they took towards the Island would be on something Steve and his crew created — a humble, strong and safe landing. This collection may serve some in the same way, as a first step to discovering the Island from the inside out.

One winter I got a call from Steve inviting me to sing at the annual Scottish Society dinner he helps host in February in his beloved town because I had a couple of Burns songs in my repertoire. I happily obliged.

When the evening was over I went to Steve to thank him for the opportunity and he proceeded to give me a hug and even a kiss. I was taken aback at first because at the time we were only acquaintances but I realized that Steve is exuberant in all his pursuits.

In the words of Robert Burns it was indeed an Aye fond kiss.