Five years ago, William Owens found himself at a crossroads after his nearly 30-year marriage was divorced.
Owens, a five-month resident of Montgomery, said he knew he would either get better or bitter depending on which direction he went.
“By the grace of God I have improved,” said Owens. “This situation brought me closer to God. As a result, I just learned words that came from my heart. It was poetry. ”
Owens, the author of 15 books and an evangelist, is known as America’s poet. He continues his journey with the spoken word through a new film “The Poetic Expressions of Love, Hope and Forgiveness”.
“This particular production puts it in the context of what is happening in our nation,” said Owens. “So far, the people who have seen it have really talked about how timely it is, what’s going on. These are the things we need most right now. “
The two-hour film, which Owens describes as a concert, premieres in front of a personal audience on December 17th at 7pm at the Capri Theater in Montgomery. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only about 50 participants can participate. Owens will be there and the film will be followed by a live performance and Q&A session.
While December 17th is described more as a VIP event on the red carpet with starters, a free registration has been set up on eventbrite.com.
Owens said a public afternoon matinee screening is also being considered. A date and time have not yet been set.
But even if you don’t see it in person at the Capri, you can watch Owens’ film streams online at americaspoet.com. It was made available on Thanksgiving.
For a donation amount determined by the viewer, Owens says guests can simply watch the video, watch the video and receive their Poems for America e-book, or watch the video and receive a printed copy of the book. Fifteen percent of the proceeds go to charity.
“What you pay is a contribution of any amount you choose,” Owens said. “So God put it in my heart to do it.”
Getting started with ‘The Poetic Expressions of Love, Hope and Forgiveness’
While settling in Montgomery, Owens said it was the perfect place to continue producing his film.
But Owens admits he needed help getting his words onto videos.
“I shot this at first, but I wasn’t happy with it at all,” said Owens.
A mutual friend joined Owens with Jackson Cole two months ago. Cole, 19, has his own Montgomery company, RJC Production Films. Cole agreed to lead the project and produce together.
“The goal of the film is to lead people to Christ, or to strengthen people’s relationship with Christ through poetry and the spoken word,” said Cole.
“He saw some of the poems, and (Cole) was like in right away,” Owens said. “I told him about the vision and we started right away.”
Owens said the film takes a documentary view of Owens’ journey and is hosted by longtime radio personality Larry Stevens.
“(Stevens) interviews me and talks about what I’m doing throughout the event,” said Owens. “It’s not flat in terms of poem by poem by poem. It’s embedded in the context of conversations, discussions, and contributions that make the poems even more relevant. ”
What Owens hopes viewers will take away from the experience is the knowledge that love is possible.
“We were made of love because God is love,” Owens said. “We allow ourselves to become cold and indifferent. We choose who we love, and don’t resort to the simplest ways to love – whether it’s a friendly smile or a helping hand. Unfortunately, we tend to wait for excessive circumstances. ”
That includes being kind to yourself.
“A lot of people have held themselves captive for so long. They are upset about things that happened, whether it was their fault or not, “Owens said. “People are very unforgiving to themselves, and if they can’t, they will never forgive others.”
A life on the street with his words
Owens’ life and travel are affected by more than one divorce. Along with his own five years ago, Memphis, Tennessee, parents divorced when he was 13 years old. He then spent his childhood traveling between Tennessee and California.
After high school, Owens attended Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma and then joined the Air Force. Later as a civilian, Owens started a family and worked as a photographer. He is also a musician who plays different types of drums, including the djembe (an African drum).
“I never expected to write poetry,” said Owens.
Now he never expects not to write personally and share with people across the country.
“After writing poetry in the past five years, over 1,100 pieces, all of my poems speak of pretty much three things – hope, love, and forgiveness,” Owens said.
When he’s not in his new home in Montgomery, Owens travels the country full time in his RV. He also did a 1,000 mile bike ride from Nevada to Texas.
“Write and explore,” said Owens. “Find out more about who I was on this trip.”
It’s also about making connections with other people and listening to them. He shares poetry and the gospel at events, on street corners and in bars. Sometimes it’s one-on-one poetry for people he meets.
“Hear your heart and understand your pain,” said Owens. “Words are the platform through which we connect with others. Words are important. Unfortunately, we live in a time and day when people use words to destroy themselves and others. It’s words. They are the most powerful weapons. ”
They are also the medicine that can heal others in ways that nothing else can. Owens uses his words to change his mind and bring understanding in these confusing times.
Keep up to date with Owens on his website americaspoet.com.
Above America’s altar
America’s Altar is a not-for-profit organization founded by Owens. Her mission is to present an altar in public places so that people can present their hearts to the Lord in prayer.
“America’s Altar is about meeting us at the altar so we can pray for our country, pray for ourselves, and pray for others,” Owens said. “We are historically at a serious crossroads. Only God can help us control this moment. “
Visit americasaltar.org for more information.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Shannon Heupel at [email protected]