Highlighting CTU Authors

scott-thomas-outlarSCOTT THOMAS OUTLAR

Scott Thomas Outlar 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. What that means, essentially, is that he lives a simple life in the suburbs outside Atlanta, Georgia where he enjoys reading, writing, taking meditative walks, feasting, fasting, performing his poetry at different events, and doing whatever else he can possibly think of to remain in a constant state of impassioned inspiration.

Scott began submitting his work in 2014, and since that time over 900 of his poems have appeared in more than 200 different print and/or online publications. His first published poem appeared in the social justice newsletter Dissident Voice where he has continued to contribute a weekly piece to the site’s Sunday Poetry Page ever since.

Scott’s first chapbook, A Black Wave Cometh, was released in 2015 through Dink Press. His second chapbook, Songs of a Dissident, was also published in 2015 through Transcendent Zero Press. His poetry collection, Chaos Songs, is forthcoming in 2016 through Weasel Press.

A Review:

We live in a world of man-made realities and hypocrisy, but Scott Thomas Outlar slices right through the viscera to the bone of these falsehoods. Nobody is safe from his scathing poetic machine gun as he mows down everything from the more prominent hypocrisies to the regular Joe who does no thinking of his own while living in a world of pure materialism.

– Heath Brougher, poet; editor at Five 2 One Magazine; author of A Curmudgeon Is Born

amanda-hoppesAMANDA HOPPES

Amanda Hoppes grew up in the Midwest state of Iowa. Being born and raised in this state has made her a very passionate Iowa Hawkeye fan. Just ask her family and friends, they just love watching football games with her.

Amanda has a long history of writing. Here is her story on how she began and continues with it:

My story isn’t the most fascinating, but at least it can give you an idea about how I became so obsessed with writing (maybe obsessed is a little over the top, but it works).  The first time I ever wrote anything besides something to do with homework was a poem in second grade about a hot air balloon ride. If I could find it, I would definitely share it with everyone! It would be great to look at where I began and compare to where I am now.

After second grade, I laid a little low and did not pick up the pencil to actively write until I was in junior high and I found out my Mom had breast cancer. That is when the poems and short stories started flowing. I wrote about everything from love, hate, anger, happiness, friendships; you name it, I tried it. Then in high school I wrote some poems for class assignments, which the teachers did not really like because they were not about butterflies and puppy dogs. The year I graduated I actually got a poem published. It was a satisfying moment in my life.

As I got older, I stopped writing as much. After my mother passed away when I was 18, my attitude was to just live life and have no worries. This attitude changed though a few years ago. I finally found out who I am and how much I missed writing! Not only is it fun for me; it is very therapeutic. Also, my mother wanted to publish children’s books, but never got that chance. I decided that I want to publish a book for her, whether it be children’s books, poetry book or an adult fiction book. She was the reason I wrote all the time- she encouraged me to keep at it, because she saw something amazing in me.

I’m pretty sure she would be proud of me for getting this far.

Amanda is currently working on her second book of poetry and a fiction novel that she hopes to finish up sooner than later.

A Review:

From Midnight to Moonlight is an amazing collection of poems depicting emotions ranging from darkness to light. It embodies a plethora of feelings that truly grasp the reader’s attention and deals with the reality of living life in a world filled with dark and light. I am most fond of Amanda’s ability to deal with the depths of pain, yet soar to greater heights of positivity and perseverance. Congratulations Amanda Hoppes, job well done!!

– Kion

william-wright-jrWILLIAM WRIGHT JR.

William Wright, Jr. is an ambitious young writer from San Diego, California. He is the son of two Navy veterans, Margo Wright and William Wright, Sr. He is also the youngest and the only boy among his two siblings, China Wright and Casaundra Camille Robinson, nee Wright. It took him some time to discover his talent for writing poetry, and to this day there are still many lessons for him to learn. As a child, William originally dreamed of becoming a naturalist and of traveling the world with his childhood friend, Jason Nivens. In middle school, he dreamed of becoming a historian and of having his own TV show on the History Channel. In high school, William’s dreams shifted towards becoming a comic book artist, and no matter what his family and friends told him, he was going write comic books with his best friend, after graduating high school. Once again, circumstances had changed and yet another aspiration had taken his full attention.

However, this aspiration remained with him far longer than the rest. After a difficult first semester of college, William fell into a deep depression and felt as if he had no true purpose in life. He was not sure of who he was or who he wanted be. There were so many questions swirling around in his mind that he became overwhelmed, and just had to find a way to purge them from his thoughts. He would relieve his frustrations by writing anger-fueled rants into a notebook every day. These rants were about feeling alienated; they were about his anxiety and his seemingly endless search for a place and a purpose. Over time, the long paragraphs of these rants were shortened and he began to insert more poetic imagery into his sentences. The shortened paragraphs of these rants, were broken up into stanzas and slowly they evolved into poems.

Through constantly writing, he discovered a new passion for words and for the incredible power they wield. People were quick to lend compliments for his eloquence and the vivid imagery employed in his poetry. He always accepted and appreciated their kind words, but kept in mind that there was always room for improvement. William devoted most of his days to writing, which often resulted in him neglecting his pursuit of a higher education. Through his hard work and dedication to writing, he was featured in his first publication in May of 2012, in an anthology titled: “The Survivor’s Guide to Bedlam.” It was welcome and exciting news but it was quickly overshadowed by a steep decline in his grades. William dropped out of college a year later, and devoted his time to finding employment and searching for more publishing opportunities. In the years following his departure from college, he self-published five poetry books, which received little to no feedback and sparked a long period of depression and great uncertainty. After two years of contemplation, temporary jobs, a series of failures and poor decisions, and a few poetry anthology features, William decided to re-enroll in college and to continue working toward a degree. He registered for the spring semester of 2015, and today he is still in college, maintaining a 4.0 GPA in his pursuit of a degree in English. He is still searching for his voice as a writer, and is even stepping out of his comfort zone of poetry, to try his hand at writing a novel. Even through the hardship, the humiliation and the months of self-doubt and self-destruction, William Wright, Jr. has held true to his dream. And thanks to the people at Creative Talents Unleashed, that dream is fast becoming a reality.

The Slums of Nightfall is a collection of poetry that covers a wide range of topics. Most of the poems revolve around the subject of mental health, specifically the author’s ongoing struggle with anxiety and depression. The book is not about a literal slum. It is about a state of mind a person can reach, when they lie awake at night, contemplating the world around them. It is about the wee hours of the morning, when your home has fallen silent and you are left to be wide awake with your memories. Each poem is a part of larger story; a story about wrestling with your fears and insecurities, and the slow and gradually journey toward loving and accepting yourself.

By: Donna J. Sanders

Donna is a freelance writer and blogger in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of Ataraxia, Cardboard Signs, and Devour Me.

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Photo Credit: © CTU Publishing Group

Categories: Creative Talents Unleashed

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