David P. Owen, Jr.
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Fireflies is a book about how writing poetry can help us explore memory and identity, and it is also a book of poetry that explores memory and identity. This work is an example of the “liminal” scholarship advocated in The Need for Revision (2011, by the same author), occupying a space in the academic world’s “windows and doorways,” not exactly in any one field but rather in the “spaces-between where the inside and outside commingle”; it seeks to trouble the boundaries between teacher and writer, critic and artist, writer and reader, and teacher and student in a way from which all parties might benefit. Fireflies aims for a different kind of scholarship, and hopes to offer new ways for teachers to be professional and academic. The second section of the book is a full-length poetry text— the author’s own exploration of the notions that people who teach writing should also be writers, and that poetry is more something you do than something you are. The book says we should write poems not because of some inborn gift for it, but because the act of writing poetry is good for us, and helps us understand ourselves better; it is a book written in the hopes that other books will be written. Maybe by you. “David Owen has taken his understanding of currere, the root of curriculum, to a new level with his demonstration of the value of reading and writing poetry. He argues that writing poetry develops an ‘attitude of adventure’ into everydayness. As his first chapter ‘Songs of Ourselves’ suggests, we all can be Whitman’s if we take up our pens to celebrate what lives around us as well as in us. Owen demonstrates this theory with a calendar of poems he wrote that share small frozen moments of the seasons of a year. Connecting his memories with forays into night skies and fireflies and ‘the fractals that God makes,’ David Owen’s poetic images suggest that our deep connection with Earth can be recovered if we let a little more ‘oak in the voice’ of our words.” – Mary Aswell Doll, author of The Mythopoetics of Currere