The Zen-influenced poetry of Frank LaRue Owen comes from a place of great emotion, restraint, and insight. His work honors the memory of his teachers, with words of encouragement that move the mind forward, while still mindful of the travails of the present. I am honored that Mr. Owen uses my music during his creative process and has shared his work with me. His short poems function much like music that wafts in and out of a listener’s consciousness, in an abstract realm of understanding.
With echoes of Tufu, Basho, Thoreau, Gary Snyder, Mary Oliver, and others, yet with a voice throughout that is authentically and distinctively his own, Frank LaRue Owen's The School of Soft-Attention gracefully incorporates many influences, both ancient and modern, East and West, Japanese Zen, Chinese Taoist hermit, Native American, to name just a few. I am moved and impressed.
These poems are a healing balm for the spirit; a beautiful map into the inner reaches of the heart. Thank you for sharing these wonderful teachings with the world, which will give many a gentle respite from the more drab aspects of living. To light another's heart is the greatest gift! They touched me deeply.
Of the ancient Taoists wandering their mountains of cloud and cave, some came to be known as the "Immortals". With this book, that term becomes apt, because we find that the deep wisdom still lives. These are reverent and revelatory poems that walk out of the mist, sit down among us on authentic contemporary soil, and offer us glimpse after glimpse of an inner-outer spaciousness we can open into. I love that the poems blend a humanness into their mysticism. They are cozy and intimate one minute, like sipping sake or tea, and in the next, they are formidable as the sitting of stone through snow.
The School of Soft-Attention will awaken thirsts you didn’t know you had. Frank LaRue Owen’s poetry comes from where any good poetry ought to: in the earth and in the breath and from drinking the tea that is found there. It cuts like a sword forged in the crucible of the heart and leaves only the sound of wind through pines, cicadas on a summer night. Drink deep.
—Jason Kirkey, author of The Taste of Water and Stone: New and Selected Poems
The following poems are a sample of those that
will be published in The School of Soft-Attention
by Homebound Publications in September 2018.
Each poem is an interweave of sound, image, and verse.