"Who says my poems are poems?

My poems are not poems.

When you know that my poems are not poems,

then we can speak of poetry."

Ryōkan (1758-1831), Zen hermit-poet


Frank LaRue Owen is a poet-practitioner of a Nature-based contemplative path. His practice is influenced by the seasons, numinous experiences in forests and mountains, zazen (meditation) and hillwalking, and depth psychology.

Among his many interests are: Japanese aesthetics and artistic space awareness, the Way of Tea, the interface of shinrin-yoku and Jungian dreambody work, yamabushi practice and cosmology, ecopsychology, midlife psychology, and spiritual formation mentoring, and the connection between Nature, dreams, and creative expression.

Frank resides near the Chattahoochee National Forest, the ancestral home of the Muscogee (Creek), where he can often be found gardening and exploring the rich biodiversity of the Piedmont region of north Georgia.

"Hawk on a

Snowy Branch"

Ohara Koson

(1877 - 1945)


Frank's poetry is a blend of styles ranging from free verse and haiku to dream-poems and haibun (prose with poetry). His first three books of poetry, The School of Soft-Attention, The Temple of Warm Harmony, and Stirrup of the Sun & Moon, were all published by Homebound Publications.

In the Spring of 2017, The School of Soft-Attention was selected as the winner of the 2017 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize, and garnered a Silver Nautilus Book Award in 2018.

Also in 2018, one of the poems from The School of Soft-Attention, "The Bouquet of the Last Direction", was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Frank’s second book of poetry, The Temple of Warm Harmony, released in August 2019, was nominated in 2020 for a Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award.

The last book in the series with Homebound Publications, Stirrup of the Sun & Moon, was released in April 2020.


Frank studied for a decade with Darion Kuma Gracen (1949-2007), a spiritual direction guide who blended Nature-based practices, Zen meditiation, dreamwork, and contemplative poetics as a unified path.

He received a Master's in Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling from Naropa University in 1996, where he also studied Buddhist contemplative psychology, ecopsychology, Gestalt psychology, Jungian psychology, and organizational development. His creative studies have included Dharma art, thangka painting, and eco-poetics and haiku with the late Jack Collom.

Prior to his graduate studies at Naropa, Frank studied the full spectrum of Japanese religions academically with scholar Thomas Kasulis, author of Zen Action/Zen Person and Shinto: The Way Home.

"Zen is like soap.

First, you wash with it,

and then you wash off the soap."

Yamaoka Tesshu (1836-1888), samurai, enlightened Zen layman