Friday, March 12, 2010

Paternity, Scott Owens' new book is wonderful!

Paternity Paternity by Scott Owens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm entranced with Scott Owens’ latest book, Paternity. After three readings, my admiration only grew. The core subject of his book is his relationship with his daughter, Sawyer, but poems are also included about his stepsons as well as his father’s bad parenting. I’m not a parent, but I don’t need to be in order to enjoy both the expert craftsmanship of these poems as well as their magic. It’s both a book of the love of a father for his daughter and at the same time, a type of atonement for his own father’s failings. By being a better father, Owens walks away from the ghosts of his past into a better now of his own creation.

From On The Days I Am Not My Father

I don’t yell. I don’t hold inside
the day’s supply of frustrations.
My hands stay open all day.
I don’t wake tired and sore,
dazed from senseless, panicking
dreams. On the days I am not
my father I hold my son
when he cries, let him touch my face
without flinching…

A poet friend, after reading this book, wrote me that he would assign Paternity as a textbook for poetry students were it up to him. I completely agree. Every word, every phrase, every break is carefully thought out. And the poems sing, just as Owens describes singing to Sawyer on his cell phone to the amusement of passers-by.

This passage from The Word for What Only 4-Year Olds Can See is moving:

Today my daughter made up a word,
effuctress, to explain why I couldn’t see
the rainbow bird outside the window.
Effuctress, she says, are things
that can only be seen by 4-year olds.

I would recommend this book to parents and non-parents, lovers of good poetry. The first group will identify. The latter will be inspired to be better people. Both will aspire to become better poets.

From The Hours 7 PM

I no longer bathe with you.
No Gary Snyder, I grow self-conscious
as you fixate on differences,
but I still hold on to this time
of washing things away.

Scott Owens has published five poetry collections before Paternity and is editor of The Wild Goose Review. His work has received numerous awards and two Pushcart nominations. Paternity was published by and can be purchased at Main Street Rag.

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Shelli said...

Wonderful! I am going to have to get a copy myself. I used to write poetry all the time, before I began to doubt myself. I really don't know what makes poetry good or bad, but I know that this speaks to me. Thanks for your recommendation!

Pris said...

You're welcome. I'm sure Scott will be pleased, too.

mister jim said...

Great examples. Saying it well, and
knowing what's worth saying
are so key. How to maximize a few
words. Like between Haiku and
prose. High eloquence stripped
off. I'm guessing he spends
a lot of time on the thought before
even writing the first word.

cfswarrior said...

Thanks for posting this. wonderful quotes!

It is inspiring to me that you have found so many other interests (I can't think of the correct word) other than this illness.

Pris said...

Jim, Scott is so good at wordsmithing. Yes, I would guess he spends time first and I know he revises thoroughly.

Good to see you. I know Scott will appreciate both of you commenting. When I write or read poetry I can leave being ill for a little while. It's one of the many reasons I like it so much.

Emma said...

Im a newbie to this blog and think it's beautiful.

I love this post. I remember talking to a friend about a conversation he had with his four year old son. They were talking about the meaning of the word success, and the son's definition was, 'Success? That's just something that comes along.'

Still makes me smile.

I'm looking forward to more posts. Congrats on the publication of your book - no mean feat for anyone, let alone someone with CFS. (I have it too. Blerg.)

Daniel Dragomirescu said...

Dear Madam,

The independent and multicultural magazine C&LH has now a new available website.
The link to our website is the following:
It will be a pleasure for us if you become a constant reader of „Contemporary Horizon” magazine. Thank you!
Best regards,

Daniel D. PEACEMAN, editor of CH Magazine


We invite you to contribute to CHM with your writings. Thank you!

Pris said...

Hi Emma,
Thanks for visiting my blog. I'll pass your comment on to Scott Owens, and yes, writing anything when you have CFS is hard. Sorry to hear that you have it, too.

I don't click on links posted in comments but I'll be glad to google the magazine and take a look.