Red Zone – Author Scott Thomas Outlar

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“Red Zone” is an excerpt from my new book, Happy Hour Hallelujah, which was recently released through CTU Publishing…

Creative Talents Unleashed

The seams of this plastic earth

will melt apart like cotton candy sugar

under a wax sun

when it’s time for the Big Shift

to take the old guard

under the parting sea to meet

the wrecked remains of Atlantis.

Version 2.0 hasn’t been a big hit

up here in the Kingdom

of a lackluster Empire

where rabid dogs bark orders

to mutts that march in lockstep

with the drumbeat of war

despite hazardous health conditions

and a lack of benefits

in the retirement package.

Compassion is a curse word

in the red zone,

and empathy is a silent scream –

raging loud but signifying nothing –

when apathy plays the role of just one more

trigger warning for the eternally brokenhearted

who weep like their own personal martyrs

upon any cross they happen to find

out in the blistering blitzkrieg desert heat

where they hop aboard and hang


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Callanwolde Fine Arts Center Performance


I’ll be reading at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, October 13. If there is anyone who lives in the area, I’d urge you to swing by that evening and grab a ticket. I expect that it’s going to be a great time, and I’ll certainly do my best to put on a righteous performance. Further details about the event can be found at this link.
I’ll also be appearing with friends and fellow members of The Southern Collective Experience later in October on the next episode of Dante’s Old South which is broadcast on NPR/WUTC. For those interested in listening to the radio show, please check out our YouTube channel here where archives of past programs can be heard.
OK, this has been the first regular post here at 17Numa in the past couple of months. It’s time, I believe, to get back into the full swing of things. However, I did recently publish an interview with Johnny Longfellow for Showcase Spotlight #3, as well as an essay and two poems by Irsa Ruci for Showcase Spotlight #4. I’ll be working on a September recap soon, seeing as how I failed to do such a thing for both July and August. Or, hell, maybe I just felt as if a break was in order after having posted regularly for the past year. Whatever the case may be, expect more action in the immediate future. In the meantime, feel free to click on some of the other pages here at the site which feature links to all my poems and essays that have been published recently. Also, I did have two new books released in August and September. Maybe I should post about that? Hmmm…..
Scott Thomas Outlar

Showcase Spotlight #4: Irsa Ruci



Irsa Ruçi is an Albanian Writer, Speechwriter and Lecturer. She was born in Tirana (Albania), in 1990. Her books of poetry include Trokas mbi ajër (poems and essays), 2008 and Pështjellim (poetry), 2010. So far in 2016, her work has appeared in more than 70 print and online national and international magazines and anthologies. Among many awards, she has received the first prize in poetry, in competition “Anthology 2007”, as the best poet in Albania. A recent interview she did with Walking Is Still Honest Press can be read here.

Love between Poets
The fragile heart of the poet, the love that hath flair…
Poets create special words which contain a power that can heal souls. They breathe between thoughts, view the world through the eyes of feelings, and understand reality as perceived by pure ideals that are born with intensity. They are the only beings who, like turtles holding their shells, keep upon their shoulders the weight of their strings and verses.
A poem is the product of frenzied emotions crashing through billows of truth, as a whirlwind swirls between rampant imagination, exceeding seven mountains and swimming across the seven seas. A poet does not live in time, does not recognize the conditions of physical space; they are racers upon the track of their own madness. Not content to talk about the ordinary aspects of existence and the common monotonies of life, the poet spreads wide their wings to soar with the wind and touch the heights of freedom; they see daily life as a reflex of wishes on which are built the foundations of humanism.
The love of a poet is the pure light that drips from the sky to ignite all the stars within the spirit of each being that is touched; for them, Prometheus stole the fire of love, burning with an intense passion that became divine, never extinguishing through the ages. This torch of flames was donated to the world so as to warm hearts with the most magical feelings of perception; thus was inherited the “hunger for love” in the form of this first legend with which mankind originated.
They sanctify the flesh of the person whom they adore; they kneel down and worship at the altar of the lover who has kidnapped their soul, performing a ceremony meant to enshrine immortality; they perpetuate between strings the name that has been carved in the crust of their heart. If you love a poet, you will be gifted a convoy of lines that flow toward the gates of eternity … exactly to this point, a poet, when in love, does not talk about life in this world, but rather that of the eternal journey which the spirit follows. This highest form of bliss is blessed by these angels that have come down from heaven to dwell upon the earth; from them is born the light that opens up the magic of love which penetrates down to the very marrow of bone-warming sensations.
They love each other like a cult; they sense holiness at the core of the other’s life, and so spend the hours of each day watering the seeds of their time spent together so as to cultivate and enhance the conditions of their shared future with absolute dedication and selflessness.
Poets are constantly in search of life’s highest ideal, that elusive particle of perfection which, when found, they preserve like the treasure of human breath. They can often become desperate when unable to find in the sediment of reality the absolute beauty that they see through the eyes of poetry.
Two poets in love live to share the holy spirit together, to breathe in synchronized rhythm upon this land at the peak of happiness that springs up in their chests and touches every sense, burning ever-hotter, pleading to connect with one another with the strength of magnetic attraction. They sing melodies of contentment in the realms of heaven for those who sow the fields of paradise on earth.
Poets are mad in their idealism, they are wise in their sophism, they are free in their poetry, they are imprisoned deeply in their love, they are just as mortal as anyone else on this earth, and yet they are also enshrined eternally through their verses that get left behind.
The love felt among poets is magical, almost having no relation to reality. Events between them do not take place on earth, feelings do not flourish with the rhythms of normalcy; everything is a grove of angels filled with the fruit of paradise, inspired by the sacred scent of flowers that bloom anew in each season, blessed by the hand of God centuries ago when their souls were originally connected together in an unstoppable way. This supernatural merger causes them, throughout each epoch, to seek each other again and again, to look always in each lifetime for the resonating source that wrote and wove their destinies together while still granting them freewill in this world to once more locate their similar half. They find their soulmate, even while drunk from each other’s verses. While reading each other’s poems, the lofty sky of their heart is revealed upon the earth, and meanwhile the purity of their motive flows smoothly like honey from the love they feel within.
The love between two poets is an inextinguishable volcano which creates from scratch the ignition of humanity’s purpose with the same force every new millennium. Their love is illuminated with an intensity that can never be erased; they live to be immortalized in the sanctification of each other’s love…
Love among poets is the greatest truth that has been given to mankind!
Because of the pure heart of a poet, poetry of love is born in the world!

I Bring My Soul to You
You create love from the foundation,
sanctifying the word with a new dimension,
haunting the trails where your reflex
catches the light that emanates from my eyes.
You are the spring that I birth with a single breath
while morning dew still sits on my eyes.
Pollen spreads over fields that boom with your presence;
you are everything nature perfected, creating the motive of dreams.
Thinking of you, the world shrinks into a tear
that stems from the eyes of joy;
I call you, and each wave of the sea provides strength for the soul;
you have forever been my saga of salvation;
I seek you, dipping into the garden of paradise
where the blessed fruit of angels is held in their hands;
come and bite these traces of love
that are born in an instant, never to be quenched.
You are the word that writes the future as a poem,
and I am a silver cup from which you drink wine.
The heat of thoughts were lit upon the hearth of life
when God knit our destinies with archers,
and, in that magic moment, we sang to hope.
I cook my feelings only for your heart
and feed them with honey that flows from love;
because when I whisper your name
my soul transcends the scales of eternity.
When You Sing for Love
When your voice is singing with love
the walls of this world collapse
and build new connections without borders
using musical notes;
a place where peace prevails throughout the land
and people speak through song
to fall in love from the first verse of poetry
as we both did!
When your voice is singing with love
birds gather atop wires in the choir
and whisper a few words in your ear,
helping to compose serenades for your spouse:
birds for each other
and you for me …
And when your voice is singing with love
I feel the breeze of spring
which brings your sound,
and I close my eyes to hear your heart call my name.
6000 milliard tons this earth weighs
but now that I have you in my heart
the weight of the soil is only a feather in the air,
incomparable to the weight of our love.
That same power which erupted
to create the earth 4.57 billion years ago
was instantly recognized anew by our eyes
when reading the first poems of love.

Unto the Generations – Author Scott Thomas Outlar

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An excerpt from my book, Happy Hour Hallelujah, which is available now through CTU Publishing…

Creative Talents Unleashed

a poem

is born from a seed…

like everything else

a generation of ideas…

begotten this, begotten that –

the point is:

a poem is an explosion…

like everything else

© Scott Thomas Outlar

Happy Hour Hallelujah front cover draft

Excerpt from the book

“Happy Hour Hallelujah”

Seated (Visions of Verse)About the Author

Scott Thomas Outlar resides in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia where he spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever-changing currents of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life’s existential nature. He hosts the site where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, and interviews can be found. His poem “Poetic Points” was nominated for Best of the Net by The Mind[less] Muse in 2015. Since beginning to submit his work in 2014, he has had more than 800 poems appear in over 200 print and/or online venues, both in the United States and internationally. He has been a weekly…

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Interview with YCR


This is an interview that originally appeared at Yellow Chair Review in September of 2015. The questions were posed to me by Alexzan Burton. After noticing that it is no longer available at that site, I decided to post it here for posterity. I am tempted to do a complete overhaul on the transcript because some of the information is outdated, but in the interest of keeping the original integrity of what was going on at the time, I’ll leave things as they first appeared. For the most part. A few minor edits have been made where I felt it to be absolutely necessary.

My book, Songs of a Dissident, is mentioned at one point as being in the works. It has since been published through Transcendent Zero Press. Two other books have also been released recently. Further information about each title can be found here.

Alexzan Burton: When did you start writing? What prompted you to do so?

Scott Thomas Outlar: I recall having written a few short stories based around Nintendo characters, as well as some rather silly song lyrics, back when I was in elementary school, so I suppose the initial seed was always there from an early age. It wasn’t until years later, after graduating from high school, that I began writing again. At that time it was mostly journal entries and bad, abstract lyrics…basically a way to flush out many years of angst and depression onto paper. I continued in this vein for a few years, filling up notebooks with what I now would refer to as being absolute gibberish. It was in 2003 that I realized I wanted to start writing books. That is the moment when I really began dedicating myself to the craft. It took several more years before I began writing anything decent…a few short stories here and there. I always knew that I wanted to eventually publish, but I was going to make sure that I was completely confident in my work and ready to put 100% effort toward the process before I took the dive and began submitting.

AB: What is it that inspires your writing?

STO: Inspiration can come from just about anywhere for me. I might wake up with an image from a dream rolling around in my head and write about that. Music, of course, is always a driver of creativity. I might be reading another poet’s work when some word or phrase they use could trigger my mind off on a tangent that turns into a poem of my own. Nature inspires me. The search for truth inspires me. The madness of this American society inspires me. Spirituality, literature, philosophy, psychology, politics, science…there really is no end to the well of possible inspiration (thank God).

More specifically, when I look over some of the pieces that have appeared in Yellow Chair Review, I would say this about “To the Fascist Fundamentalist Editor”: the basic inspiration this poem sprang out of was not necessarily based on any actual experience I’ve had, but more from the general idea that some people have about what a “real” poem should be. It is a response to different schools of thought based on form and structure that might have a tendency to look down on free verse or abstract poetry. Personally, I find that there is a place for all forms of art, be it poetry, music, painting, or whatever else. So I tend not to get hung up on how a “proper” poem should be presented. All that being said, I also enjoy being purposefully provocative and writing things that I know will get a rise out of some people. So this poem was written from a sarcastic bent, with tongue placed firmly in cheek. One of the mottoes I often use when it comes to my words is that my writing should always be taken with at least two and one-quarter grains of salt. A glass of wine and a smoke aren’t a bad idea, either.

There is never a lack of inspiration to draw from when it comes to the decadence and corruption in this world. I don’t make any secret about the fact that I’m an anarchist at heart, and I have a rebellious streak in my soul that runs about six miles deep, so I am constantly breathing fire with a loaded tongue against the institutions of government, public education, the military industrial complex, Big Oil, Big Pharma, what I refer to as the medical industrial death machine, some of the more fringe aspects of dogmatic religion, the Federal Reserve, revolving door bureaucratic cronies, and fascism in all its myriad shapes, sizes, fashions, and forms. I tackle these topics in much of my work, but where they are examined most closely is at Dissident Voice. My archive at this social justice newsletter probably contains around 80 essays and poems at this point. The editor there, Angie Tibbs, was the first person to ever accept one of my poems just over a year ago, and I’ve been publishing a weekly piece at the Sunday Poetry Page ever since.

Some of my darker, metaphorical, abstract poetry can be found at Stephen Jarrell Williams’ blog, Dead Snakes. Stephen is another editor who has been very good to me during the past year, and I’ve been publishing fairly regularly at his site since last November. Prelude to a Reunion is a poem that was published there in January…it was inspired by the existential nature of the yawning grave which awaits us all at some point, as well as, on a more personal note, emotions I was dealing with concerning my Father’s passing last year.

I would be remiss to not also mention Guy Farmer at this point. He has been publishing my work for nearly a year now at three of his sites: The Poet Community, Poems and Poetry, and Social Justice Poetry. These venues are where some of my softer, simpler, more mild-mannered verse can be found, inspired by nature, love, and other romantic flowery ideas such as these.

This is where a problem arises as I read over what I’ve written so far. There are quite a number of editors and publications that have been kind to me and my work during this journey that I’ve begun, so I feel the urge to just start stringing a list together, wanting to thank them all. I know that isn’t practical, and so just let me say that I am very thankful to everyone who has published my words. I have an intense passion for the indie lit scene, and it is my full intention to continue doing all that I can to promote the venues that I believe in. So if I didn’t mention you here, I apologize, but just know that I have much love for you.

AB: Is your work mostly inspired by your own experiences or are there writers/artists that inspire you as well?

STO: I go through phases where I’ll write autobiographical pieces, but I look at my work primarily as being a reflection of what is going on in society and around the world. There are basic conditions and emotions that we all share as humans, so I try and draw on those as the general core of what I work outward from.

When it comes to other writers and artists that I’m inspired by, the list is long. Some of the most influential and inspirational to me have been Hunter S. Thompson, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Hermann Hesse, Friedrich Nietzsche, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, Joseph Campbell, Thich Nhat Hanh, Marcus Aurelius, Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Maynard James Keenan, Daniel Johns, and on and on…

The truth of the matter is that during the past year since I started publishing poetry, I have been reading almost exclusively the work of other contemporary poets. There are so many good writers out there that I’m almost afraid to start another list out of fear I’ll leave someone out…but, what the hell, eh? Just a few are: Irsa Ruci, Charles Clifford Brooks III, Heath Brougher, Strider Marcus Jones, Sheikha A., Don Beukes, Adam Levon Brown, Sudeep Adhikari, Laura M. Kaminski, Phillip Matthew Roberts, Sarah Frances Moran, Nana Arhin Tsiwah, Ajise Vincent, Ananya S. Guha, and Alan Britt. That’s fifteen of probably a hundred who I could say inspire me regularly with the quality of work they put out. Ye gods! There really are so many more I could list. The indie lit scene is in the beginning of a new Renaissance. I’m going to just put that on the record right now. There is a rising tide, and I’ll be right up front and honest about the fact that I want to be a drop of water in that high wave when it peaks.

Are you currently working on anything that we get to look forward to? Any little hints for us?

I have a contract for my chapbook Songs of a Dissident that I should be signing very soon. I can’t give an exact timetable on when it will be released, but hopefully it should be coming out in the not too distant future. I’ve also had some initial conversations with Scott Wozniak about putting out a collaborative book through his Flying Wrench Press. We both have a bit of a revolutionary bent to our styles, so if it should happen to develop I think it’ll be rather inflammatory when all is said and done.

However, I’m still fairly new on the scene at this point, so what I try to focus on mainly is making solid connections with editors and publications in an effort to build a foundation for potential future projects. I’m still constantly sending out submissions, trying to get my feet wet in as many venues as possible. I also keep my blog updated on a regular basis with new poetry and links to any published work that comes out. Anyone interested in connecting with me can do so at the blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter where I’m also fairly active.

Do you have words of wisdom for writers who are stuck in that period of rejection that seems to last forever? The acceptance letter is always a ray of sunshine after a dry spell. haha.

If there is one thing I’ve learned so far as a published poet it is that there is only one thing in life that never gets old, and that is receiving an acceptance letter in your email’s inbox. Now don’t get me wrong, good conversation, gluttonous feasting, and trips to the beach are always pretty epic too, but speaking on a strictly professional level, nothing beats the acceptance letter.

But, of course, with the good there is also the bad. Thus we come to the question of the rejection notice – that villainous form letter that plagues us all from time to time (sometimes more often than others). What I would say about being rejected is, first off, it’s going to happen. A lot. It’s a catch-22 in some ways, because the more courage you have in sending out your work, the more you’re going to get rejected. Hell, there is a chance it might happen to me as I type this very sentence (though that would be a cruel twist of fate, indeed). The main thing about being rejected is to always remember that writing, especially poetry, is an incredibly subjective field. Every editor and publisher is going to have their own personal likes and dislikes, pet peeves, soft spots, and opinions on what they are looking for. The context is almost infinite when it comes to what journals are seeking. Some venues may prefer shorter pieces, while others prefer longer. Some magazines might prefer personal anecdotes, while others dig metaphorical, abstract, meandering pieces full of allusions and wild surrealist imagery. That is why it’s important to research the markets that you’re sending work to. Read the different publications to get a feel for what type of style and aesthetic they are generally drawn toward, and then concentrate your efforts on those spots that you feel your work best vibes and syncs with. Even then, you’re still going to get rejected, but try not to let it get you dejected. If you believe in your work and know it to be good, then I assure you that there is somewhere out there that’ll accept it. Remember also that editors are human just like you are; they have good days, bad days, happy days, sad days, and all the days in between. We all try to be objective in life, but let’s face it, sometimes our mood affects our decisions. So if you submitted a piece full of fire, brimstone, and apocalyptic fire, and the editor that is reading it can’t stop thinking about how in love they are with their new significant other, well, tough luck, you’re probably not going to get an acceptance this time around, Bubba. But if that editor recently went through a bad break up and has a heart full of black coal at the moment, well, ding, ding, ding, your chances with said piece are probably increased. That is just one rather crude example meant to drive home the point that it all comes down to context. The bottom line, after all is said and done, is persistence. If you have the drive to be successful and you are willing to keep sending your work out into the ethereal realms of submission land, you’ll come out alright in the end.

And writer’s block! Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? Do you have any secrets for combating the dreaded wall?

I have to say that I’ve been fortunate for quite a while now in being able to put out work consistently. The main reason for this, I think, has to do with the fact that I try my best to accept whatever type of mood or mindset I’m in at any given time. So whether I’m feeling happiness, sadness, jubilation, depression, melancholy, confusion, fear, spiritual ecstasy, existential dread, or whatever other emotion, I don’t fight against it, but instead use it as a propellant in the artistic process.

One trick that I might throw out there is to find different poetry prompt challenges and let your inspiration start from a place outside your own consciousness. Sometimes a random word, line, color, design, or picture can spur something down in the depths of your bowels that triggers the release of ink you’re seeking. Another suggestion when you find yourself in the rut of not being able to write is to try and write about not being able to write. Turn the energy back upon itself in a type of implosive jujitsu maneuver in which you shift the very force of writer’s block into a force of creative inspiration. If all else fails, throw the pen down, take your shoes off, step outside in the sun, and take a walk out in nature…forget about your work for a little while. Reconnect with the holy flow by just having a bit of playtime…before you realize it, you just might receive a little spark of something-something that flashes across the neuron synapses of your brain as the next big idea coming into form…

Scott Thomas Outlar

Thank you to Patrick Jordan for using my poem “Abandoned City” at his site, Stay Weird and Keep Writing…

Stay Weird and Keep Writing Publishing Co.

scott thomas outlar

Abandoned City

Who lived in this street?

Who died in this street?

Who wept in this street?

Who screamed in this street

about God,

about war,

about love?

Who built this temple?

Who tore it down?

Who spit on this grave?

Who rose again

on the sixteenth day

as the sun

burned, burned, burned

with its song of the ages?


Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, and interviews can be found. He has three poetry collections currently available: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015), Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016), and Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016).

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Coming of Age / Now – Poetry from SCOTT THOMAS OUTLAR

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Thank you to Kelly Fitzharris Coody and Sick Lit Mag for publishing two of my poems recently…


Coming of Age

The poet speaks of love

as an abstract emotion,

as a pure essence,

as a longing of the heart,

as a grasp toward the ineffable,

as a projection of mystery,

as a hope for better days,

as a journey through life’s labyrinthine maze,

as a path through the murky haze,

as a whisper of something whimsical,

as a passion without boundaries,

as an effort to reach a state of perfect peace.

Yes, a poet speaks of love

in this way

until love is finally found,

and then a poet learns

to speak of love

as fact,

as certainty,

as purpose,

as principle,

as absolute truth

born from eternal salvation.


I was not in love

and so I had

no one

to whom

I could write a love song

Now every word that she whispers

sends my heart into a frenzied flutter

Now when I lay my…

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