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Book Review: Stars at Naught

Stars at Naught. Owen Patterson. BREVIS Publishing, January 2, 2018, Trade Paperback, 113 pages.

Reviewed by Gail Galvan.

Owen Patterson, author of the poetry collection, Stars at Naught, does what poets do best. He uses his creative, abstract imagination to share heartfelt sentiments and expressive imagery. As a poet and hypersensitive observer, Patterson contemplates human connections and universal existential issues. With his poetry, he takes us star-gazing amid the prose.

The reader will probably often wonder if what he/she perceives is—much like or nothing like—what this author intended or perceives. Yet, his collection is another interesting literary journey for soul-searchers to enjoy and interpret.

Patterson often compares and contrasts philosophical meanderings. I think he is saying that life can be a struggle, much ado about many things, or “naught” much ado about nothing, until we struggle to overcome the nothingness. Star-gazing can assist us toward self-examination, perhaps answers, and even the capture of wisdom, not merely its pursuit.

I especially liked two of his poems about writing and writers: Block Writer’s and Buckin Star. He often does that—reverses titles; for example, he uses Block Writer’s rather than Writer’s Block.

“Save the mind

Cool art embraces

Not unkind…

And smile

And happy

And again


 Often, happily, I felt positive messages flowing through his words, sometimes not.  As usual, poets do tend to challenge readers sometimes by sharing more intense, darker concepts and imagery. From a poem titled Shadow, he writes:

“Shadow at the door

Shades from time before

Do not call its attention

Neither call its name

Choose not make mention

Nor play its lonesome game.”

Then, he retreats from melancholy sentiments and weaves humor into his literary tapestry of thoughts. From there, he goes on to give snippets of monk-like observations and advice.

I love the glossy, jet-black cover with a blue sky on the back and a colorful, starry-lit night sky on the front.      

Critiquing poetry is sometimes like talking about syntax and petty grammatical issues rather than the essence of content. So, with reservation, I’ll just add this. There are a few minor formatting details, like switching fonts, that I or others might have done differently, but I think all was intentional by the author. I’ll just leave it at that.

In summary, Patterson’s book of poems is an intriguing read. His words stir our emotions which cause us to feel and think, to zoom into our mind-filled telescopes and dare to go star-gazing, even at the risk of finding truthful unknowns. So, I’ll ask, who is ready to experience an explosion of feelings and get a stiff neck?


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