"This is a wonderful book.
Anyone with a cup of coffee and a bit of sun coming in will be totally pleased."
- Nikki Giovanni, America's most award-winning living poet
An Invitation to Misanthropes:
Poetry & Verses for a Century of Dissociation & Curses
Scott A. Rowan
Mental and behavioral health problems are on the rise, with depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and stress affecting more people than ever before, especially children under age 18, according to the National Alliance of Mental Health. While many reasons are to blame - global political tension, social media’s omnipresence, automation in many blue-collar industries, and monetary concerns in a gig economy among them - there’s only one thing that specialists agree upon: the general population needs help learning how to deal with mental stress.
An Invitation to Misanthropes: Poetry & Verses for a Century of Dissociation & Curses by Scott A. Rowan is written as much as a mental guide to help deal with behavioral problems as it is a tour of force by America’s newest literary voice. The 34 poems contained within An Invitation to Misanthropes cover myriad topics, but at the core of most of them are lessons learned about how to deal with the entire spectrum of mental and behavioral health issues, such as:
- Anti-social behavior (“Diarrhea of The Mouth,” pg 99)
- Anomie (“Photo On The Shelf,” pg 95)
- Conflict resolution (“We, The Feet of The Coals,” p 45)
- Death of a loved one (“Kinship,” pg 127)
- Depression (“The Lonely Tree,” pg 105)
- Isolation (“During Commercial Breaks,” pg 51)
- Malignant narcissism (“Sociopath’s New Math,” pg 119)
- Realizing your own mistakes (“Poet’s Dilemma,” pg 65)
- Self-awareness (“Meditation,” pg. 21)
- Separation (“For Them, But Mostly Her,” pg 109)
- Suicide (“Arctic of My Heart,” pg 53)
- Taking responsibility for bad decisions (“When,” pg 23)
While the topics covered are serious, Rowan’s writing style is anything but serious. Using sarcasm and humor like Mark Twain, Rowan is able to take the sting out of the lessons learned by helping the reader laugh along the way. Combining the brevity of Emily Dickinson, the swagger of Ernest Hemingway and the street-wise knowledge of rapper Nas, Rowan is one of the nation’s most unusual literary figures. Comfortable with rap, songs, and Elizabethan sonnets, Rowan’s versatility is unparalleled in contemporary writing.
The Rowan Sonnet was invented for “Kinship,” the epic poem that discusses the difficulty in moving on after the death of a loved one. One of the most unusual aspects of “Kinship” is the perseverance the poet had in seeing the finished product through to publication. “Kinship” was edited for nearly 25 years before the final version was published here in An Invitation to Misanthropes. Popular for years in poetry circles in Europe, “Kinship” is now making its American debut - a quarter century after it was begun.
• 158 pp
• 6 x 9
• Dozens of b/w images throughout
• ISBN: 978-0-9895003-9-5
A Maryland native raised in Richmond, Virginia, Scott A. Rowan is the author of four previous books (Weaponized Baseball, The Cubs Quotient: How the Chicago Cubs Changed the World, Albert the Orca Explains Echolocation to The Super Fins, The Urban Cyclist’s Survival Guide) and the editor of two marine biology books about sharks (All About Sharks) and turtles (Today’s Dinosaurs). His publishing career began in 1995 and since then he’s been a reporter and editor at the Chicago Sun-Times, Gaston (N.C.) Gazette, Estes Park (Colo.) Trail Gazette, Laurel (Md.) Leader and Hickory (N.C.) Daily Record; worked on more than 1,500 books; and managed media relations for corporations in nine languages around the world. He currently lives in Virginia where he and his dog, Rocky, spent as much time in the mountains as possible.
In my 25-plus-year career as a journalist, international marketing director, and author, I've had millions of words published under my byline and the most important 120 of them are in "When." I've urged friends and fans that if they can understand and embody the message within "When" then they will begin to be able to take a firm grasp of the steering wheel in the careening vehicle that is their life. The message is a positive one. In the end, we can all be better humans by accepting the fact that we played a key role in the bad things that have happened to us. Sure, some bad things parachute unannounced into our personal realm and, no, you may not have caused that. But making good decisions in the wake of unexpected problems is the key to eventual happiness. Good luck.
When the stoker’s shoveling coal,
black-burnt pieces of my soul
my thoughts turn to different things
and amid the flames I dare to sing,
standing, sitting, kneeling tough
questioning, willing but...strong enough?
When I lie on leaves of grass
and hear the calls echo from the past,
I yearn to fly above the rest
willing and able to bear my breast
open, I, for all to see
a mysterious monster with no mystery.
When I see the simplest chores
impede others like closed doors,
I call my friends to make but screens
of the doors once thought of as hard things
and seeing all I hope they see
that they are the ones who made their own misery.
Backstory to “When”:
I worked as a physical and speech therapist for a brief period and my training at the hospital was handled in the head injury ward. All of the adult patients there struggled to learn how to do some of the most basic aspects in life - use a doorknob, walk unaided, button a shirt - and I knew that the next day they would likely start all over with the same lessons again. I was also forced to realize that most of the patients were there due to actions they did or did not take: the stroke patient who could have eaten better and worked out more, the motorcyclist who should have worn a helmet, the drug addict who smoked away his sanity. It was so easy to see how each patient could have avoided a horrible future by making a few small changes in their past. For most of the patients, The Universe didn’t conspire to put them in their situation, they did it to their own self even though they didn’t realize it. Refusing to offer an apology is a very similar situation: it’s a small act that, when avoided, can have horrible repercussions down the road. I try to remember that in my personal life. In moments of the greatest stress, I’ve recited this poem like a Hindu mantra to help remind myself that no matter how hard the situation I may have found myself, it was usually created by myself due to something I did or did not do long ago. It may not change the particulars of the bad situation that I’m in, but it helps me psychologically and thus emotionally to realize: nobody forced this on you, Bubba, you forced this by your actions long ago.