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Book Review: Fear Naught: The Junk Drawer of Poetry

Fear Naught: The Junk Drawer of Poetry. Owen Patterson. Chicago: Brevis Publishing, June 11, 2019, Trade Paperback, 128 pages.

Reviewed by marssie Mencotti.

Fear Naught is a lovely book of poetic musings—sometimes sensitive in tone and sometimes sweet, but never mean or cruel. The six sections of the book are entitled “Flow” (the passage of time), “Silence Tucked into Clamor” (finding peace in chaos), “Art in Life” (beauty and inspiration), “Paradox” (things are not always what they seem), “Posts” (from blogs and thoughts of the poet), and finally, Coda (the poet putting together his philosophy and musings at the end of the book).

Owen Patterson has worked as a tutor, special ed paraprofessional, and behavioral health counselor. He has been writing poetry and short stories since childhood, but only recently published his works. He brings much of his experience and caring nature to this book, which will appeal to those who appreciate thoughtful discourse through the discussion of poetry. Each poem contains a conversation intended to be had with someone whose opinion you value.

There were several poems that I will never forget. One is “Pebbles and Flow” (Flow) because it perfectly captures interpersonal changes we can make to one another and their subsequent consequences. We flow around one another and change each other through erosion, but one of us will always “flow around” past us. There is another musing on the impermanence of love, written in Spanish (with translation), entitled “To Dream of the Beautiful Lady” which permanently touched my heart. 

I found favorites in every section. Patterson watches the world and shakes it down to words we understand. Don’t miss reading the poem “Abandoned,” the entire section entitled “Posts,” and the poem “Look Back,” which is a sweet and simple reflection on the permanence of our planet. “Look Back” opens with the line “a Hammer . . . everything looks like a nail.” This tiny hidden gem discusses gun control and guns in the hands of those who do not understand the consequences of that mindset. So succinct, yet so powerful.

There isn’t an untouched area of poetic musing in Fear Naught. The poet brings light to many of his inner reflections regarding faith and politics, home life and universal experience, personal affection for the world and his beloved Karinn, and thoughts that come straight from the heart for each of us to consider. Try on the emotional punch of “The Shady Maybes,” a poem that unveils human indifference to people in pain. Owen is an honest un-sugar-coated poet of his truth who has something to say to us in every poem. 

I found this collection both charming and profound. If you are a lover of poetry, this small book will give you plenty to think about and enjoy.  Every time you open it, you will find something inspirational, loving, and well done that will touch you in unexpected ways.


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