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21 Writers, a Pile of Shoes, and a Fire

What do you get when you blend 21 writers, a pile of shoes, and a fire? Believe it or not, that’s not the first line of a joke. What you get is one of the most interesting anthologies that has come out in a long time.

The Shoe Burnin’ Anthology and CD available now for pre-order from River’s Edge Media (Order here) includes poems, stories, essays, and songs from Chuck Cannon, Susan Cushman, Joe Formichella, Ed Southern, Michael Reno Harrell, Suzanne Hudson, Shari Smith, Scott Owens and a baker’s dozen more notable Southern musicians and literati based on the premise that “Any pair of shoes has a story to tell.”

The first Shoe Burnin’ occurred on a cold winter’s night some years ago in Alabama; when the firewood ran out, a box of old shoes provided the assembled group of friends and artists with the fuel they needed to stock the hearth and share stories and songs late into the night. The bond forged that night began a tradition of fireside Shoe Burnin’s, and in remembrance, many stories and songs shared since have involved shoes — all the places they trod and the myriad experiences of those who wore them. “The Shoe Burnin’, Stories of Southern Soul” is a collection of those works.

Grammy Award winning musician, Rodney Crowell, says “Homicidal librarians, French twisted, stilletto’d and on the lam, flip flop shod Bessie Smith wannabe’s and cowboy booted, beauties out to prove that to get gone a woman doesn’t need fast footwear; good-ole-boys sporting Red Wing lace-up’s and an emergency medical trained aversion to Converse wearing co-ed’s pulling volunteer duty on a cat-4 tornado cleanup crew; guilt ridden bird-dog lover’s and holders onto of life’s half-forgotten keepsakes: all this and more from a coalition of wordsmiths, story-tellers and song-swappers whose whiskey whetted forebears first stumbled onto the notion that on a cold winter’s night in the deep south, it’s better to burn shoe leather than brave a trip to the woodpile.”

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Eye of the Beholder Discount Extended

So, the bad news is that the release date for my new book, Eye of the Beholder, has been postponed to mid-November.

The good news is that means the pre-publication discount will available throughout October. Scroll down through a few recent posts to see what Kay Byer, Philip Dacey, and Sandra Beasley say about the book, or follow this link (Pris Campbell Reflection)to read the first review.

You can order a copy at the discounted price through PayPal by clicking on the cover image below.

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Ridgeline Writers Conference Program

Here is the program for the upcoming Ridgeline Literary Alliance Workshop where I’ll be teaching a workshop along with Michael Diebert, Steven Harvey, and Darnell Arnoult. Should be lots of fun!

Ridgeline 2013_Conference_Program

Excerpt from Ron Moran’s Review of “Shadows Trail Them Home”

Here is an excerpt from Ron Moran’s Review of Shadows Trail Them Home (my recent collaboration with Pris Campbell) in the Fall 2013 issue of South Carolina Review. For anyone interested in the book, I still have a few copies of my own, or you can order them from Clemson University Press. You can subscribe to South Carolina Review here

Shadows Trail Them Home is both a compelling and an important book. Although it is published as a collection of poems in four parts, its characters and consistent plot make it read much like a work of fiction, except for its dynamic and functional use of tropes and, more important, its fluid movement between lines.
. . . . . . . . . .
Particularly at the onset but even until the end, sexuality orders this collection, although it is never present to serve prurient ends, but, rather, to demonstrate what Norman and Sara have in common and why Sara led a promiscuous and meaningless life both before and after (for a long time) her interlude with Norman, as well as to illustrate that, despite how physically drawn one may be to another, an abusive past may very well, as it does with Norman, prevent a relationship from going beyond the physical level, even though there is little doubt that each of the partners loves the other.”

On the Cover of Poet’s Market

I am thrilled beyond expression to be mentioned on the cover of the 2014 Poet’s Market. I have an article and poem inside, along with poems by friends and colleagues Nancy Posey and Helen Losse. Here is a link to the cover on Amazon:

2014 Poet’s Market Cover.

The poem is one of the selected pages available for viewing on Amazon as well.

Former NC Poet Laureate Kay Byer Endorses Eye of the Beholder

Here is what former NC Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer says about Eye of the Beholder:

“The eye in Scott Owens’ “Eye of the Beholder” is the passionate “I” of the poet, watching every turn and gesture of the beloved and speaking from it, sounding the lineaments of desire in each poem and pulling the reader into its embrace. Over the years, Owens has ranged widely in subject matter and style. This is his most intimate book yet, his voice tender, full of longing and anticipation. He beholds what he loves, whether woman, blossom, or falling leaf, all of it gathered up in the world’s body, the ultimate beloved, after all, that he renders in finely tuned lyrics.”

This is one of those wonderfully gratifying moments a writer can only hope happens: when a poet whom you admire almost beyond words endorses your own work with a perceptive and intelligent evaluation. One of my goals as a writer has been to avoid limiting myself in regards to subject matter or “voice,” and I am thrilled that Kay comments on that very element in my writing. I am also thrilled that what I hoped would be the underlying feeling of the book is as it reflects how I feel about the world is perceived and stated so clearly in Kay’s words.

If you haven’t already ordered a copy, you can still get the pre-publication discount by ordering with PayPal at http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product/eye-of-the-beholder/, but since the release date has been moved up to mid-October, it won’t be available at that rate much longer. Please give it a shot. For $9 how could you go wrong?

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It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This

When I hear good news about one of the poets I admire, I’m always excited to share it.

And when I read intelligent commentary on the state of poetry today, I’m also excited to share it.

Hickory’s own, and truly one of my mentors in poetry, Tim Peeler, was recently invited to read his work at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. As a lifetime fan and historian of baseball on every level, Tim was of course, thrilled to accept.

Now the gentleman who invited him, George Mitrovich, has published an article about Tim, along with three excerpts from his poetry, in The Huffington Post. In the article, Mitrovich correctly assesses the wonderful quality of Tim’s work and also correctly comments on the relative and unfortunate obscurity in which most poets, even fantastic, inspiring ones like Tim Peeler, labor.

Mitrovich says, “The literati among us are reasonably knowledgeable about poetry and poets, but even at that there are thousands of poets whose works we have no knowledge of – poets perhaps like Tim Peeler.

It’s a damn shame.”

The rest of the article is just as engaging, and just as spot on. You can read it here.

Sandra Beasley Endorsement of “Eye of the Beholder”

Here is what award-winning poet and teacher, Sandra Beasley, said of Eye of the Beholder:

In EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, Scott Owens explores the shaping of partnership, singing the body in all its passioned curvatures. Absence proves as intoxicating as presence; in one standout sequence, “This moon knows how I feel, / to be held apart from its sun.” Yet there is a grounding vernacular–rose petals fashioned into a sandwich, beans pickled for the jar, a bed whose headboard and frame resist alignment–that keeps one foot, pleasingly, in the everyday. Owens’ warm, sensual images are in the tradition of Pablo Neruda, Marc Chagall, and other artists of “this coupling, / this circumstance we call love.” This is a heartfelt, bold, and energizing read.
~Sandra Beasley, author of I Was the Jukebox

I love that both she and Philip Dacey (read his endorsement here) see Neruda’s influence in the book.

The book is still available for a limited time pre-publication discount at Main Street Rag (click link), but thanks to the number of pre-orders, the release date has been moved up to mid-October, so the discount won’t be available for much longer. In other words, order yours now.

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Getting Poetry to the People

I have posted a new essay on my blog this morning at www.scottowensmuings.com. It’s all about what I do to “get poetry to the people” and touches on local efforts like Poetry Hickory, Writer’s Night Out, The Art of Poetry at the Hickory Museum of Art, and the “Musings” column as well as larger things like Wild Goose Poetry Review and the North Carolina Poetry Society. I am archiving a link to the essay here under the “Essays” tab. Thanks for taking a look.

New Issue of Wild Goose Poetry Review

The new issue of Wild Goose Poetry Review just went live with outstanding work by Tim Peeler, Phebe Davidson, Al Ortolani, Larry Schug, Jim Zola, Karen Douglass, and many more.

There is a strong Hickory, NC, contingent in this issue, including not only Peeler but also Monday Night Writers Kelly DeMaegd, Akacia Robinson, Patricia Deaton, Brenda Smith, Mel Hager, and Betty O’Hearn.

There is also a strong NC NetWest contingent with Glenda Beall, Maren Mitchell, Lucy Cole Gratton, Staci Bell, and former member, Barbara Gabriel.

And there are reviews of wonderful new books by Michael Diebert, Collin Kelley, Hilda Downer, Malaika King Albrecht, Carol Matos, Robert S. King, Maren O. Mitchell, Jo Barbara Taylor, and Carole Richard Thompson.

Help spread the news by posting links and sending emails to anyone you think would or should be interested.