May 11, 2018

Janine Pickett Reviews "Across the Light" by Bruce Owens

Across the Light: New & Selected Poems

by Bruce Owens

Available from the publisher and Amazon

You can meet Bruce on Facebook: Bruce Owens Poet

Review by Janine Pickett

Across the Light is a beautiful book of poetry penned by a divinely inspired author. As the title suggests, the poems shining from these pages literally dance with light. I've turned to this book frequently during times of worry, doubt, or depression and it never fails to lift, to encourage, to fill my uncertain places with hope and light.

Published, and with a wonderful forward by David Anthony Martin, founding editor of Middle Creek Publishing, the book is well-crafted. It is divided into four sections: Light from over the Hill, Hollow with Light, Language of Light, and Minnows of Light. There are a total of 105 pages. The subjects are nature, love, light, God, and humanity. The poems are sometimes simple, powerful, profound, and sometimes more complex. Each poem is a story. It sets a scene and delivers. The imagery and lyrical structures come together to create magic. Such as this:

Old Woman Mountain
(Kodiak Island)

In the clear distance
I see mountain peaks
covered with the white shawls
old women left
when they passed from this world
into the next

Simply beautiful. And this one:


We embrace that which we do not want to let go of
If the dead could only return to our open arms
If autumn leaves aglow with the touch of earth
Would fly up to the startled branches
And once more fill the trees with emerald light
And winter light would retreat into the silence
Of the hills, where boulders break
The will of the wind

Bruce Owens is a master of poetic storytelling. Through his poetry, he weaves together worlds both seen and unseen, and invites you in. He gives you the words in rich detail and clarity to see what he is seeing, to feel what he is feeling. He doesn't tell, he shows. Vividly. And he brings you right up to that aha moment when you discover new things and new ways of thinking about old things. Like a stone, for example:

Black Stone Shining

Walking along Waddell Creek.
a rain starts to sweep in from the ocean,
I spot a small, round black stone.
It glows with its own light,
It has its own music.
There is a magnum opus
about to break out
within the black stone.
To be alone
within this black stone is to touch
the shadow of reality.
Within the stone some stars are beginning to shine
and the cosmos is slowly exploding outward.
I look up and a thin slice of rain
falls on my face.

No one knows the meaning of the black stone
lying alongside the slip of creek
with its winter drive.
The same force that formed the stone
is the same force that drives the creek.
I have been encountered just as I have encountered
I am satisfied to have known the stone,
the moment it held and this time in winter.

Owens is a poet whose voice is still undiscovered by the larger literary community, yet one who deserves to be acknowledged and read, and should be given a spot alongside similar poetic masters in contemporary literature: Ezra Pound, William Stafford, Henry David Thoreau. I urge you to buy this book and experience for yourselves the treasures inside.

~Janine Pickett

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