While former OHIO students reconnected with each other and campus at Black Alumni Reunion this weekend, an engineering alumnus was connecting with a whole new audience at his poetry book signing. Jesse Owens II, BSIT ’89, appeared Saturday at The Little Professor bookstore on Court Street to sign copies of his book, Chronicle of a Different State of Mind: Parallels of Life thru Poetry.
“The book is a poetic version of describing different shapes, themes and experiences in my life,” Owens said. “I talk in many different forms about different things to draw parallels for readers. I want them to think deeper and grab something to enhance their lives.”
A senior manager at eyewear manufacturer Luxottica Retail, Owens has enjoyed a career spanning warehousing, operations, computer-assisted design, and distribution, all built on the foundation of his industrial technology degree. He joked that while many would consider the book unrelated to engineering, he thinks poetry serves as a wonderful complement to his professional field.
“Poetry is an abstract and eclectic way of thinking,” he said. ”I think it actually helps me create, because I do have a structure in which to deliver.”
Owens spent his undergraduate years at OHIO juggling engineering classes with athletics. While not related to the 1936 track Olympian – except for his father being named after the running great – he earned letters all four years and three All-Conference honors playing tailback on OHIO the football team.
“Being a student athlete is very challenging for individuals coming in to college,” said Owens, whose brother studied business at OHIO.
He says his experiences naturally led him to study the seasons as a theme for his writing, which he’s been doing creatively since junior high school and more seriously over the last six years.
“How the seasons change is indicative of how we change as people,” he said. “You have to identify with the routine and that pattern in order to change. Some of the poems are about the things that allow you to have breakthroughs.”
In addition to the paradigm shift he encourages through his poetry, Owens encourages future engineers and technologists to find ways to immerse themselves in practical applications that align themselves with classroom study. “When you draw those correlations, then you understand and can apply the methods you learned in coursework,” he advised.
Owens visits campus a few times a year to see another generation of Bobcat play the field: His son, Jesse Christian Owens, is a fourth-year business major who holds the defensive line.