The poetry of Allison Grayhurst

“Her poems read like the journal entries of a mystic – perhaps that what they are. They are abstract and vivid, like a dreamy manifestation of soul. This is the best way, in prose, one can describe the music which is … the poetry of Allison Grayhurst.” – Blaise Wigglesworth, “Oh! Magazine: Ryerson’s Arts and Culture Voice”.

Read at your peril. You will never look at this world in quite the same way again. Your eye will instinctively search the sky for eagles and scan the dark earth for the slightest movement of smallest ant, your heart will reach for tall mountains, bathe in the most intimate of passions and in the grain and grit of our earth. Such is Allison Grayhurst. Such is her poetry,” Eric M. Vogt, poet and author.

“Grayhurst is a great Canadian poet. All of Allison Grayhurst’s poetry is original, sometimes startling, and more often than not, powerful. Anyone who loves modern poetry that does not follow the common path will find Grayhurst complex, insightful, and as good a poet as anyone writing in the world today. Grayhurst’s poetry volumes are highly, highly recommended,” Tom Davis, poet, novelist and educator.

“Grayhurst’s poetry is a translucent, ethereal dream in which words push through the fog, always searching, struggling, and reaching for the powerful soul at its heart. Her work is vibrant and shockingly original,” Beach Holme Publishers.

“Allison Grayhurst poetry has a tribal and timeless feeling, reminiscent of the Biblical commentary in Ecclesiastes,” Cristina Deptula, editor of Synchronized Chaos.

“What a treasure Allison Grayhurst is. Her gift? To unfold for us life at this intensity of feeling and revelation. Who knew truth and beauty could be so intertwined and so passionate?,” Taylor Jane Green, BA, RIHR, CH, Registered Holistic Talk Therapist and author.

“Allison Grayhurst’s poetry appears visceral, not for the faint of heart, and moves forward with a dynamism, with a frenetic pulse. If you seek the truth, the physical blood and bones, then, by all means, open the world into which we were all born,” Anne Burke, poet, regional representative for Alberta on the League of Canadian Poets’ Council, and chair of the Feminist Caucus.

“When I read Allison Grayhurst’s poetry, I am compelled by the intensity and strength of her spirituality. Her personal experience of God drives her poetry. With honesty and vulnerability, she fleshes out the profound mystery of knowing at once both the beauty and terror of God’s love, both freedom and obedience, deep joy and sorrow, both being deeply rooted in but also apart from the world, and lastly, both life and death. Her poems undulate through these paradoxes with much feeling and often leave me breathless, shaken. Allison Grayhurst’s poems are both beautiful and difficult to behold,” Anna Mark, poet and teacher.

“Grayhurst’s rapturous outpouring of imagery makes her poems easily enjoyable … Like a sear the poet seeks to fathom sensual and spiritual experience through the images of a dream.” Canadian Literature.


Allison Grayhurst is a full member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three of her poems were nominated for “Best of the Net” 2015, and one eight-part story-poem was nominated For “Best of the Net” in 2017. She has more than 1185 poems published in over 475 international literary magazines, journals and anthologies in Canada, United States, England, India, Ireland, China, Scotland, Wales, Austria, Romania, New Zealand, Zambia, Bangladesh, Colombia and Australia.                                                                                                    

Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published fifteen other books of poetry and five collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing.

Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream (1991), and four chapbooks, (Before the Dawn, Joshua’s Shoulder, Perfect Love, and Jumana), published by The Plowman, all in 1989.

Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press 2012. In 2014, her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series.

In 2015, her book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. More recently, her book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, her book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group).

Walkways cover 2Some of places her work has appeared in include Parabola (Alone & Together print issue summer 2012); SUFI Journal (Featured Poet in Issue #95, Sacred Space); Elephant Journal; Literary Orphans; Blue Fifth Review; The American Aesthetic; Drunk Monkeys, Agave Magazine; JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, South Florida Arts Journal; Gris-Gris; New Binary Press Anthology; The Brooklyn Voice; Straylight Literary Magazine; The Milo Review; Foliate Oak Literary Magazine; The Antigonish Review; Dalhousie Review; Chicago Record Magazine; The New Quarterly; Wascana Review; Poetry Nottingham International; The Cape Rock; Ayris; Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry; The Toronto Quarterly; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review.  


img432Over 1185 of Allison Grayhurst’s published poems are available to read on this website. All of these poems are accompanied by Allison Grayhurst’s audio reading of the poem. Links to each poem by title:

Almost all of Allison Grayhurst’s books are available for a free reading on Issuu and/or a PDF file link to download from the page on the main menu:


Allison Grayhurst’s completed published work to date is available to read in six volumes titled The Poetry of Allison Grayhurst – completed works from 1988 to 2017, all published in 2017 by Edge Unlimited Publishing. Selected poems from this body of work are published in Sight at Zero (selected poems 1988 to 2017), Edge Unlimited Publishing, 2017. 


Allison Grayhurst also sculpts, working with clay and casting into concrete. Her sculpting body of work can be found in the published book The Sculptures of Allison Grayhurst, Edge Unlimited Publishing, 2017.













Collaborating with Allison Grayhurst on the lyrics, Vancouver-based singer/songwriter/musician Diane Barbarash transformed eight of Allison Grayhurst’s poems into songs, creating a full album entitled River – Songs from the poetry of Allison Grayhurst, released October 2017.



CBC -Ultimate Canadian Poetry List #34

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UK Amazon Author Page:

The League of Canadian Poets:


Goodreads Author:



Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group) Author Page:



Thread Count


Thread Count



Tumble down

the ocean stairs,

mounting the whales’ trail,

maneuvering depths and distances



Dream in the city at 5 a.m., accustomed

to the speech that comes just before the birds

awake and take away all formation of song.


This doorway, like a driving marked nightmare

cursing your already blooming cloud. Tomorrow

is the same leg-chain to drag behind, the same

shrinking dome to be lived under.


But tonight, I have you like a burning death,

one spot burning, one place in the house, fast

and immediate, wielding shapes

out of tall-far-away trees, from mind spaces,

fresh as newborn fish navigating

coral reefs and seeing which caves to hide in

or seeing what is hiding in –

patient predators.


Tonight, the bath water is ready, rooting

my body to its sensations.

The spell is dissolved, and clarity

becomes gold, a hailstorm of ecstasy, reaping

many more than one plateau, gliding gigantic above

these graves, loud, rudimentary, I have you,

nailing the flame

to both of our sinking thighs.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Outlaw Poetry” June 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:





The Last Say


The Last Say



Call it an infestation of worms

floor-mapping your innards.

Call it an impossible current

directing you over the crater-fall

or a whispered breath ricocheting

inside your skull that whispers “Loser!

Fool! You have never belonged!”


But you must belong, you must let it burn you out,

possess you with its electrical charge. Turn on

the microphone and scream its ownership

over you. Call it debris – plastic bags in the belly

of a dolphin. Call it hot liquid iron rising

to seal your throat, lock it so you cannot swallow.


Imagine yourself a greenhouse and store

your treasure there, place your orphaned lizards

in vegetable beds and tell them they are safe,

give them a home to thrive in.

Don’t crash or perish, but open, stay open

even as your nerves are poltergeist-haunted

and the flower you grew, counted on to keep growing

is snapped at the stem, ground-level.


How can you change it? You can’t. It is summer.

The last day of school. You wanted to harness your heart,

give it a safety net far from the rocks,

but it is all a choice – autonomous.

This is your nest, put in it what you will.

Trust in the green juice inside your branches,

don’t let the ice-melting platform at your feet prevail.

God is tender so you must be too,

keep your tenderness afloat,

even when soaked in frigid water.

Let the pressure threaten

to kill you. It won’t kill you.


Loosen the knot and climb under

the jettison cliff’s edge.

Hang upside down. It is a long way to fall,

but your arms are strong and something stronger still

is holding you in its sustaining embrace.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Outlaw Poetry” June 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:





The Field is Open


The Field is Open



Going on, unable to order

a plot of land that is not a prison pen.

Monotony spreading, reflected in

nerve endings frantic with anxiety.

Repetitive motion, futility rises, and also that voice

that wants to turn even this into a ceremony,

but can’t, can’t stomach the steps, the one-by-one steps

of petty materialism that must be endured, focused

on, taken so seriously. Going on, like a torturous

continuance, swelling the mind with mealworm madness.

Going on, with no way out, a lifetime sentence,

a sorrow that has metastasised into despair.


Dig out, dig me out, let the miracle rise and cover

my home. Multiplying buds – at the entrance, entering,

side-stepping this sinister fate, slicing

the circle, cleared of the heavy shadows, cleared

to name a new street and walk down it.


Receiving like birds receive

music, breaking the ethereal framework,

dissolving the rut grime delusion,

peeking over the top, peace

taken into the mouth, peace

that is grace, that is receiving,

fastened freely to the flow.



 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Outlaw Poetry” May 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:






Treading Water


Treading Water



I hear hummingbird’s wings

figure-eight beneath my skin.

Too many bitten sandwiches, people

walking by, containing

their anguish.

The wordless hymn

is a waterfall, pouring

through the smoke: not a dry ocean,

but, rejoicing. But this mind

is like an axe, slaughtering my joy

with world-worn concerns.


Who craves the contradictory high? Do I?

Do I love for nothing but death and bramble?


To be blinded by ecstasy,

to hunt again for the colossal Self.


I walk through the dust-ridden morn.

The wind splits my shell like a labouring woman:

It enters. It expels. It knows




Copyright © 1995 by Allison Grayhurst




Published in “Synchronized Chaos” June 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:








The man on the corner curb,

knees bandaged and bloodstained,


each passer-by

with a wink from his drunken


Long hair like seaweed

glued around his neck and shoulders.


of a tortured past, says he sees miracles

looking into storefront windows.


ignore him, only children notice,

tugging on pant legs with defiance and


Says he plays cards with leprechauns,

has lived through an avalanche which fractured his


into two. Unravels his bandages and shows

his wound: can’t remember how it happened.


floods his open hands.

His mouth, catching drops like




Copyright © 1995 by Allison Grayhurst




Published in “The Pangolin Review, Issue 3.5”, June 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:



Ambush Your Rage


Ambush Your Rage



Savour the shock

that makes a weak person perish.

            Savour the shape

of abandonment in an old man’s eyes,

the grit of bitterness that taints the forgotten,

the pinpoint range of hurt

which lasts beyond

all means of distraction or comfort.

            Savour the fruit of your

awareness, its fierce caress and symbolism.

            Live long along the roadside’s edge. Let

the ants weave your shroud.

            Give nothing to the canyons, to the diving

bottom-feeders while winter freezes overhead.

            Give nothing to this minnow town, these

streets of helter-skelter code.

            Let the heron guide the way as you

kneel before your destined trials

and seize the tide

to follow.




Copyright © 1995 by Allison Grayhurst




Published in “”Synchronized Chaos” June 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:



The Way of Separation


The Way of Separation



If today I cry for you

would you weep

with me, though

your paradise is found

and my life is strange to your eyes?


Blue shade in my

palm. Midnight in

my shoe. I give up

hope, give up the covers

to shield me from ruin.


If you could love me differently,

with a love not so dead to deeds,

so proud in its moral conviction,

would the moon appear different too,

and its bone-white light, could I bear it



            I learn to will my famine numb

            I learn our intimacy was hollow,

            nothing is sure but God

            I learn the way starfish see –

            slow, slow change, that none

            but the intent can observe.


                        (Mortal heart

                        that hears the

                        resonating thunder,

                        feels the owl’s burning

                        eyes. Modern heart

                        of secret logic, robed

                        in the gales of a coming




Do you remember the heat

of our stride, our anxious days

of youth, christened by our friendship?


You go into airy ideals.

I break with your walking.


You go into arms that praise your every gesture.

I look to the river.


You ask my forgiveness.

I am stronger now, enough


to bless (and I bless)

without taking.




Copyright © 1995 by Allison Grayhurst




Published in “”Synchronized Chaos” June 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below: