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Scott Rowan
An Invitation to Misanthropes
Mental and behavioral health problems are on the rise, according to the National Alliance of Mental Health, with depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and stress affecting more children under age 18 than ever before. While many reasons are to blame - global political tension, social media’s omnipresence, monetary woes in a gig economy, among them - there’s only one thing that specialists agree upon: the general population needs help with their mental stress. An Invitation to Misanthropes: Poetry and Verses for a Century of Dissociation and 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 in how to deal with the entire spectrum of mental health issues, such as: • Anti-social behavior (“Diarrhea ofThe Mouth,” pg 99) • Anomie (“Photo OnThe Shelf,” pg 95) • Conflict resolution (“We,The Feet ofThe Coals,” p 45) • Death of a loved one (“Kinship,” pg 127) • Depression (“The LonelyTree,” 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 (“ForThem, But Mostly Here,” pg 109) • Suicide (“Arctic of My Hear t,” 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 while 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.