Advance Reflections on The School of Soft-Attention

Frank is a quiet master of the Way, and the world is all the better for his Presence. His words reflect that mastery, and doing his work well, he has served us with this collection of seed-planting words. May The School of Soft-Attention seed a thousand forests of other Way-walkers, stretching in the ten directions (the Field of Awake Awareness.) Meet him here, in the Field.

Ando 安道, Zen poet and artist

What I appreciated most about The School of Soft-Attention is the tension of opposites — the desire for clarity vs. the ambiguity of all important things, the summons of desire, and the reminder of the task, the search for something out there, and remembering it is already within."

Dr. James Hollis, Ph.D., author of Living An Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey

The Zen-influenced poetry of Frank LaRue Owen comes from a place of great emotion, restraint, and insight.  His work honors the memory of his teachers, with words of encouragement that move the mind forward, while still mindful of the travails of the present.  I am honored that Mr. Owen uses my music during his creative process.  His short poems function much like music that wafts in and out of a listener’s consciousness, in an abstract realm of understanding.

Forrest Fang, composer, ambient musician


With echoes of Tufu, Basho, Thoreau, Gary Snyder, Mary Oliver, and others, yet with a voice throughout that is authentically and distinctively his own, The School of Soft-Attention gracefully incorporates many influences, both ancient and modern, East and West. I am moved.

Frank W. Berliner, author of Falling in Love with a Buddha and Bravery: The Living Buddha Within You


These poems are a healing balm for the spirit; a beautiful map into the inner reaches of the heart. Thank you for sharing these wonderful teachings with the world, which will give many a gentle respite from the more drab aspects of living. To light another's heart is the greatest gift! They touched me deeply.

Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos, shakuhachi daishihan (master)


 These are reverent and revelatory poems that walk out of the mist, sit down among us on authentic contemporary soil, and offer us glimpse after glimpse of an inner-outer spaciousness we can open into. I love that the poems blend a humanness into their mysticism.

Walker Abel, author of The Uncallused Hand and Stories Dreamed from Dust and Distant Light


The School of Soft-Attention will awaken thirsts you didn’t know you had. Frank LaRue Owen’s poetry comes from where any good poetry ought to: in the earth and in the breath and from drinking the tea that is found there. It cuts like a sword forged in the crucible of the heart and leaves only the sound of wind through pines, cicadas on a summer night. Drink deep.
Jason Kirkey, author of The Taste of Water and Stone: New and Selected Poems