Words from a member

You and the entire membership of Netwest have been an inspiration to me in my writing life. The group is a welcoming & encouraging gathering of like-people. Thank you for all you've done for others. It does not go unnoticed.
Nancy Purcell

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Our friend, Scott Owens, has a new poetry book. Order now for discount

Scott Owens from Hickory was a regular instructor at Writers Circle around the Table for many years. We loved his poems and learned from his classes how to improve our own poetry. Now he has a new poetry book and I just ordered my copy.  This is what Scott has said about this book:
My forthcoming book of poems, Counting the Ways, has taken the longest of any of my books to be written. I started the collection, without knowing I was doing so, as an undergraduate at Ohio University.

The poem, "Breakings," built on the various manifestations of brokenness in my childhood and its lingering presence in adulthood, served as the seminal poem, the model, if you will. But I didn't understand that for another 35 years.

I picked up on the possibility of motif poems about 5 years after writing "Breakings" and dabbled with them for another 30 years or so, even conceiving the idea of a collection of them some 10-15 years ago, but I didn't see the relation to "Breakings" until just a few years ago. In any event, here is the poem "Breakings"

You can still get the Advance Order discount on the book at https://mainstreetragbookstore.com/…/counting-the-ways-sco…/

There were always bottles in the well house,
lined up on 2 X 4s, piled in boxes, hidden
above the door. He hung them, bottoms up,
on the sticks he planted in the pasture.
Sometimes he used coffee cans, milk jugs,
a red-lined slopjar, anything to make a noise
as it swallowed the rocks or took the blows
hard against its side. But nothing could match
the sounds of shattered glass, nothing
could match the thrill of breaking.

The changes came sudden but incomplete.
What was once a bottle grew into
the many faces of breaking,
mirrors and windows, stung
running of cows, frantic beating
of redbirds, cries of children.

His father went off to war
to practice breaking on other men.
He became so good at it he came back
to teach others the black magic of breaking.

His mother stayed home and broke water,
broke in husbands and children,
broke her back to hold
some fragment of family together.

The old man, his grandfather,
broke the earth, broke cows
in the pasture, chicken-bones
in his teeth, taught him to break
limbs with the red axe,
the necks of chickens and rabbits,
legs of owls in fox traps,
skulls of cows in the stable.

He saw the breaking of land,
the endless bending of backs
and knees, the big-handed breaking
of his mother’s face, his brother’s
mouth, his own shattered skin.
He heard the news of breaking,
of Attica and Kent, King
and My Lai, the fields and jungles
scattered with war, the streets
emptied through breaking of walls
and windows, hearts and heads.

He saw the night shattered
with noise and lights, a man’s body
broken open on the porch,
the life splattered on the window,
lying messy on the floor.

He wanted to leave it all
behind, to break the habits
of breaking, but even now,
he knows the hearts of those
he loves like glass.

          By Scott Owens


  1. Congratulations, Scott! Just pre-ordered--can't wait to see it! "Breakings" is a beauty. :-)

  2. I agree, Catherine. I am looking forward to holding that book in my hands.


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