NC Literary Hall of Fame



Counting the Ways by Scott Owens

Main Street Rag
$17.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59948-820-2
October, 2020
Available from the publisher

"Counting the Ways is an invitation to witness the beauty of vulnerability. This collection of poetry is compelling with metaphors that accentuate the emotions of the poems. Insightful and heartfelt, Scott Owen’s poetry gathers the erasure and keeping of memory. These poetics are searing and tender all at once. There is story inside of each punctuated line and breath that holds, shreds, and reimagines the landscape of sacrifice, rebirth, and truth-telling. Counting the Ways takes action in transformative language. It speaks complicated, multi-faceted truth. It opposes silence and silencing. Scott Owens is a poet, to paraphrase Yeats 'who can hold reality and justice in a single thought.'"
—Jaki Shelton Green, NC State Poet Laureate

"One of the dearest characteristics for a poet is to constantly become more adept as a maker, more expansive, widening your lens to include a greater circumference of material and witness. Scott Owens’ poetry has continued to deepen, as he uses the redemptive force of his imagination to salve the cracks in his relationships to his family, his father, his art, and his community, using Wallace Stevens’ 'Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird' as his point of reference. Bob Dylan decried the ways that 'everything’s broken,' and Owens uses the broken pieces of his life to form complex pleasures, weaving taut stanzas and threads of lines to rescue golden ratios from the shards, 'a black magic of breaking' learned from generations of men breaking out of their boxes, their bodies, their temporary homes’ bold restraints and broken expectations. 'Poetry is all about the riprap of things,' Owens writes, and from the scree and barbaric glass of his life, he has built his best book yet."
—Keith Flynn, author of The Skin of Meaning and editor of Asheville Poetry Review

"In Counting the Ways, Scott Owens gives his readers a splendid and deeply moving exploration of both his own vision and the versatility of language. That this pairing is couched in the word and concept of ‘thirteen’ is neither accident or mistake, but a rich and rewarding voyage through language, symbol, darkness, and light delivered by a talented, versatile hand—and of course—the poet’s incomparable eye."
—Phebe Davidson

Scott Owens holds degrees from Ohio University, UNC-Charlotte, and UNC-Greensboro. He is Professor of Poetry at Lenoir Rhyne University, former editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review and Southern Poetry Review. He owns and operates Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse and Gallery and coordinates Poetry Hickory. He is the author of fifteen collections of poetry and recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Next Generation/Indie Lit Awards, the NC Writers Network, the NC Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of SC. He has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac seven times, and his articles about poetry have been featured frequently in Poet’s Market.

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