Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Guest Post: Mellanie Crouell Interviews Scott Owens

Greetings, All! Today author and poet Mellanie Crouell,  an alum of The Writer's Block, is helping me with the "heavy lifting". Get to know Mellanie by visiting her blog:



1)  What is your position/title in the North Carolina Poetry Society?

I am Vice-President of the NC Poetry Society.

2)  How long have you been a part of this organization and when was it established?

I have been a member of the Poetry Society for 4 years but an officer for only the past 3 months. The Poetry Society was founded in 1932.

3)  What are some other organizations you are associated with?

I have been Vice President of the Poetry Council of NC for 3 years. I coordinate the Oscar Arnold Young Award for NC's best book of poems. I am a Regional Representative for the NC Writers' Network. I am Founder and Coordinator of Poetry Hickory; Founder and Coordinator of The Art of Poetry at Hickory Museum of Art; Editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review; Editor of 234; and Local Coordinator for 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

4)  I enjoyed your poem "All the Meaningful Noise"; your inspiration came from a visit to my hometown of New Bern. Do you receive inspiration from nature or other parts of life?

I see/hear poems everywhere. I think most of us would if we could only keep our eyes and ears open to perceive the connections that form poetry. Nature does provide a great many of the impressions that become poems, but conversation, observation, meditation, memory, reflection, and many other sources provide just as many of the ideas, images, and words that eventually find their way into a poem.

5)  How long have you been in the writing industry?

I have been writing poetry off and on since about 4th grade (1972). My first book was published in 1993. Around that same time I served as Associate Editor of Southern Poetry Review. Then I was away from poetry for about twelve years. Since returning to it, I have been broadly and deeply involved in writing, teaching, publishing, editing, and organizing things related to poetry.

6)  What do you feel is your best piece of work that represents your personality?

That would be very difficult to say. Our dreams represent different aspects of our personality, so do our poems. I doubt that any single poem, perhaps not even a single collection of poems, could be complex enough to fully represent anyone's personality, especially since I believe our personalities change over time. I suppose if I had to choose one of my books for anyone who wanted to "know" me to read, it would be The Fractured World; and if I had to choose a single poem, it would be "Breakings."

7)  What quality makes your work stand out from others?

I hope readers can answer this question better than I can. In my own mind the one thing I think I do a bit differently than many of the other poets I read, that avoid having a singular voice or style. I don't believe in deciding that I am one kind of poet or another. I let the poems tell me what form, style, or voice they want to take, and I intentionally read a wide range of work to keep from settling into one style or another. Many of my readers have commented on the accessibility of my poems. I do like to be understood but try to be careful not to minimize the reader's opportunity to experience the full emotional-intellectual-perceptual moment of the poem.

8)  Scott, you teach at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory. How many years how you been teaching?

I have been here for five years. I have taught for more than twenty years.

9)  What would you say to any aspiring writers who are working towards their big break?

Read more. I think that's what every published poet says, but it's the truth. Most "aspiring" poets simply don't immerse themselves in poetry enough to develop the fluency necessary to create good contemporary poetry. There is plenty of bad poetry out there that won't help at all, but an anthology like Poulin's "Contemporary American Poetry" is a great place to find a dozen poets that one can relate to. Then, reading those poets more widely will begin to develop that necessary fluency. If the poems are good, everything else will eventually take care of itself

10) What current projects are you working on?

My tenth collection, "Shadows Trail Them Home" (a collaboration with Pris Campbell), is due out from Clemson University Press in October. I'm teaching workshops at Coastal Carolina University (9/22) and Barton College (10/20), and giving readings at McIntyre's Fine Books in Pittsboro (8/26) and Callanwolde in Atlanta (11/14). I am working on my 11th book, a collection of love poems, which I think will be coming out from Main Street Rag in 2014. And I am working on another collection that examines how certain images define our lives over time. I don't have any sort of publication date on that one, but it's shaping up to be one of my favorites.

11) What are some contests that we can look forward to in 2013?

Poetry contest listings are available on the NC Writers Network website or in Poets & Writers.

About Scott

Scott Owens’s tenth collection of poetry, Shadows Trail Them Home, a novella-in-poetry collaboration with Pris Campbell, is due out from Clemson University Press this fall. His prior work has received 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. His poems have been in Georgia Review, North American Review, Chattahoochee Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Poetry East among others. He is the founder of Poetry Hickory, editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review and 234, and vice president of the Poetry Council of NC and the NC Poetry Society. Born and raised in Greenwood, SC, he teaches at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, NC.

His previous books are For One Who Knows How to Own Land (Future Cycle Press, 2012); Country Roads: Travels Through Rural North Carolina (with Clayton Joe Young) (Blurb, 2012); Something Knows the Moment (Main Street Rag, 2011); The Nature of Attraction (with Pris Campbell) (Main Street Rag, 2010); Paternity (Main Street Rag, 2010); Book of Days (Dead Mule, 2009); The Fractured World (Main Street Rag, 2008); Deceptively Like a Sound (Dead Mule, 2008); and The Persistence of Faith (Sandstone, 1993)

Contact Scott


No comments:

Post a Comment