poems by

Scott Owens

Poetry book, 90 pages, $14 cover price

($12 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-222-4

Released: 2012

Scott Owens is the 2008 Visiting Writer at Catawba Valley Community College and coordinator of the Poetry Alive reading series in Hickory, NC. His first book of poetry, The Persistence of Faith, was published in 1995 by Sandstone Press and his second boon, The Fractured World was published by Main Street Rag in 2008. He has received awards for his work from the Academy of American Poets and the North Carolina Writer’s Network. Recent work has appeared in North American Review, Main Street Rag, Pedestal, Georgia Review, Chattahoochee Review, and Cream City Review among others. Born in Greenwood, SC, he has lived in North Carolina, where he completed his MFA from UNCG, for over 20 years.

Author’s personal homepage:

Poems of aching tenderness. PATERNITY explores with a discerning, clear-eyed sensitivity the daily small delights, frustrations, and purely unexpected miracles that, taken together, make up the building blocks of one father’s personal salvation.

–Joanna Catherine Scott, author of Night Huntress and Fainting at the Uffizi

In Scott Owens’ lovely book of poems, PATERNITY, we have a remarkable account of how his very special relationship with his young daughter, Sawyer, has saved him from the darkness of his own childhood. The poems are engaging in the deepest sense–funny, touching, and full of the kind of wisdom we all need as parents and family members to sustain the balance of daily life. How can anyone resist a girl who makes up the word, “effluctress,” to describe what only a four-year old can see.

–Anthony S. Abbott, author of The Man Who.

I’ve never been this strong before/ can only hope I’ll hold this joy, writes Scott Owens in “Naming.” Poem by poem, Paternity builds a father’s world—its fears and joys, its vows, which are too often and too easily broken. Looming over the lives of his children is the childhood of the man who speaks these poems, memories which make the poet grateful for the days I am not my father. It is this ability to feel the weight of the past on his present life and the work of resisting that past even as he builds the present his children live in that makes Paternity a book that should be read not only by parents but by anyone interested in poems that can disturb and console in the same breath.

–Al Maginnes, author of Ghost Alphabet

A Brush with Reality
in the Form of a Toyota Sienna

The high-maintenance girls run by
my minivan, fuel-efficient, 8-seated,
15 cup-holdered, easily-cleaned conveyance,
as I balance keys, cellphone, and morning
cup of coffee, a venti breve latte
with shots of Irish cream and crème de cacao,
a Becky’s Mozart they call it at Taste Full
(2 words) Beans Coffeehouse (1 word)
the owner reminds me again. I wonder
at the price of plastic and lycra, at hands
that make the shape of perfect cups,
only bigger. I hear their voices,
watch the bounce of tight ponytails,
smell Obsession, even this time of day,
even while jogging, and, carried away
by sensual delight, I imagine they might
speak to me, siren-voiced, circe-eyed
muses of beauty arousing a moment’s
inspiration until I notice the dampness
from the dew-wet door has soaked
through the cotton-poly blend
shirt covering the flaccid flesh
of my slightly protruding middle-aged paunch,
and then, even my hatchback magnet
proclaiming “Real Men Drive Minivans”
is not enough to convince me
they care at all for my domesticity.

The Word for What Only
4-Year Olds Can See

Today my daughter made up a word,
effluctress, to explain why I couldn’t see
the rainbow bird outside the window.
Effluctress, she says, are things
that can only be seen by 4-year olds,
soda trees, people with wings,
trains that turn into trucks and drive away.

Not the first words she has made up,
for sure, but the first to contradict
what the world tells her can’t be,
dragons and dinosaurs, blueberry towns,
her grandma sitting beside her.

How to Make Okra
Fill left side of sink
with warm water. Toss in
measuring cup, funnel, favorite
spoon. Surround with towels.
Carefully set baby in water.
With hands suddenly free,
think of sitting down,
having a beer. Do neither.
Move quickly. Wash
okra in right side of sink.
Take out cutting board and knife.
Cut off tips and place
in bucket for compost.
Slice into knuckle-
sized pieces. Roll in egg,
cornmeal, salt and pepper.
Drop in hot oil until golden.
Control impatience, anger,
childhood memories, all the while
singing I-N-G-O, I-N-G-O,
stamping feet instead of clapping.

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