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.

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Allison Grayhurst is a full member of the League of Canadian Poets. Four of her poems were nominated for “Best of the Net” 2015/2018, and one eight-part story-poem was nominated For “Best of the Net” in 2017. She has more than 1200 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

In 2018, her book Sight at Zero, was listed #34 on CBC’s “Your Ultimate Canadian Poetry List”.                                                              

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; Existere; The Toronto Quarterly; Fogged Clarity, Boston Poetry Magazine; Decanto; White Wall Review.  

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img432Over 1200 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:  https://allisongrayhurst.com/links-to-poems-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: 

https://allisongrayhurst.com/free-pdf-download-of-books/ 

https://issuu.com/allisongrayhurst

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Allison Grayhurst’s completed published work prior to 2018 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

www.dianebarbarash.bandcamp.com 

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/dianebarbarash3 

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/river-songs-from-the-poetry-of-allison-grayhurst/id1293420648

 

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CBC -Ultimate Canadian Poetry List #34

http://www.cbc.ca/books/sight-at-zero-1.4618370

http://www.cbc.ca/books/your-ultimate-canadian-poetry-list-68-poetry-collections-recommended-by-you-1.4613146

Amazon Author Pageamazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

UK Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B001KIWQUS

Amazon.ca: http://www.amazon.ca/s?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Allison%20Grayhurst&search-alias=books-ca

The League of Canadian Poets:  https://leagueofcanadianpoets.wildapricot.org/Sys/PublicProfile/41491211/4321598

Poets&Writers: http://www.pw.org/content/allison_grayhurst

Goodreads Author: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1937690.Allison_Grayhurst

Issuu: https://issuu.com/allisongrayhurst

E-mail: allisongrayhurst@rogers.com

Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group) Author Page: http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/allison-grayhurst-.html

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Words

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Words

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I

 

The words came

and killed the hostages,

killed the ghosts stuck

in crevices of crow’s feet eyes

and in the long book of regrets and what ifs.

 

The words came and said:

the greatest indication

of spiritual immaturity

is the lack of gratitude.

 

The words were singular, pounded their plurality

into one soft mass, or like pieces of glass

heated, liquified, blending smoothly

the dangerous edges.

 

The words came as two hawks hovering

in surreal stillness and then came again

in the small measles-scar of someone I knew

as a child, seen again as an adult, flooding me

with a memory and an affirmation

 

that the spaces between

this time and that time

do not exist, not as a ladder, not as fossil bones

but those spaces somehow existing, contain

the intrinsic value of eternity.

 

 

II

 

The words came

and were excellent company – said:

 

hear the melody while joining with each note,

be absorbed into its specific portrait.

 

The words said: pause,

brought me into the sun rising over the field,

out of the dark forest that was covered with bramble

and dead rooted trees.

 

I found a way out, I held a hand, briefly,

but long enough to be healed.

I saw the old cat smiling on the mat,

the old dog as happy

as he was when he was young,

a house embroidered with the harmony

that comes after journeying

through the trapped corridors of hell.

 

 

III

 

I am on horseback with my chestnut-red friend,

galloping near the round edge, certain of our flight –

both of us embodying a perpetual exhilaration,

 

          and where, where are we going? so fast?

          so in tune? – no words now –

          just a sweet-nectar symbiotic flow.

 

Call these words a dream. Call them bohemian.

Back away. Throw the stone. Seal them.

 

All bars and walls are purgatory-spent,

blown over

(lick your lips, let the spider live)

 

blow it over, behind.

 

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© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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First published in

 

 

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

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A Glimpse

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A Glimpse

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There was a glimpse

of a sunrise, a dazzling ending

and wild grass, lush and life-filled

to walk towards, into, barefoot and perfect

as God’s grace is perfect, reducing the darkness

unnameable and innocence, reclaimed.

 

There was a moment

when I could see like a prophet sees

or a sorcerer, flexing joy in dimensional

vividness, dilated, stripped of

my armour, tension and dread.

 

Army on a hill, hungering for the water flowing

downstream. Woman on a ship, surrounded

by the sea with a kicking babe in her expanded belly.

Is there land? Is it heaven or just a dream?

 

If I risk, I risk it all

with nothing to risk it for in sight.

If I stay, I am a drowned clover,

no different than the meat-eaters,

the non-shapeshifters and the drones.

 

 

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What do I say to the arrested vision,

the backward plucking?

I had a glimpse, a gift

of jewels overflowing.

Am I mad, believing? I think I am,

trapped in this curse – hours upon years

chipping at the granite with my teeth, pushing

my way through with no end in sight, damaging

the sack around my heart,

relentlessly fulfilling my duty.

 

There was a glimpse,

something of God in a ghost-filled place.

 

Someone tells me to believe that this darkness

is ending, that the gamble is launched

and victory is already

in my hands.

 

 

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If I could astral-project, I would go

to that place I glimpsed, just to be sure it was there.

If I could be more than I am, I could find peace

in the corner of this prison cell.

 

The birds say one thing, and my body another.

 

The glimpse was here and it was hope.

I will not deny its existence.

I will not fight its wound or its expectation,

but surrendering to my limitations,

into the wet earth,

I will give way, pacified.

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© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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First published in “Outlaw Poetry” November 2018

https://outlawpoetry.com/2018/a-glimpse-by-allison-grayhurst/

 

 

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

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Slipping off the Side

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Slipping off the Side

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Never holding, always holding

up, down, back

past the white-light knockout strike,

the broken dishes, the failed vision.

Always guilt as agency – sweet sun

out of reach, when reached, just a hot huge

stone that must be released. Watching the reptilian

garden diggers, the small-soul claim joy in evil,

sit on the hay stack, seeding its throne

and start a royal lineage.

 

Entire bloodlines behind bars – Children hated.

I see the same name on all my friends’ faces.

My insides have become strewed. 

I have only a guiding breath breeze in

a state of blindness, dialectics, repetitions

saying “Do not be attached”. Out of the box

then back in again.

 

I would make a casserole if I knew how.

I would connect everyone

with a wink if the power was mine, if the cracking

double-take shame would release me-

moult and moult until it was small, easy enough to crush

and smear on the pavement.

I have shed these chains twice, maybe more,

maybe their returning power is just an illusion,

a phantom captivity.

 

When I was in the blue room with an entrance to the attic,

entities ripped into my skull when I slept,

channelling their destructive vocations.

I prayed on the forest floor and burned pages and pages

of long-hand. That was when

I stopped swimming and learned how to ride horses, before

I almost joined a neighbourhood,

whizzed past neighbours on a bike, leaving a mark.

I wish I was caught in the loop of simple competition,

knew my place at the starting line,

claiming trophies at the finish line,

climbing tall chunky trees in the summer or

racing up and down fire escapes for the fun of it.

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© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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First published in “Outlaw Poetry” November 2018

https://outlawpoetry.com/2018/slipping-off-the-side-by-allison-grayhurst

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

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Girl by Allison Grayhurst

Creative Talents Unleashed

Under the willow tree a girl

was standing, lonely with

the worst of nights ahead.

They said

drink from the tar pit waters and swallow

the oysters that lost their shells.

She saw the drug the wind made

though she did not let it shift her steadfast heart.

Everywhere the notion stood

that fighting back is better than

the tender wave, better than

empathy and believing in affection.

The willow leaves have gone brown and the girl has moved

beside a cliff. She dances as though she

could not fall. And though they gasp to pity

her poor body against rocks and ridges,

she continues to move like a beautiful sound,

sure of the hand that guides her.

© Allison Grayhurst

BookCoverImage Allison Grayhurst

Excerpt from the book “Trial And Witness – Selected Poems”

$13.95 Plus Shipping ~ Available at CTU Publishing Group and Amazon.com


Allison Grayhurst About the Author

Allison Grayhurst is a member…

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Private-Parts – A Documentary Directed by my daughter Ava Harness

Please support and like the page on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/privatepartsdoc/

 

Image may contain: text

Private-Parts: A Documentary on Sex Ed and Democracy

Movie

Private-Parts: A Documentary on Sex Ed and Democracy

3 hrs ·

Private-Parts is a documentary that explores the personal effects that the Ontario sex education curriculum change has had on its’ students, teachers and parents, told from their own words and shown through their daily lives.

Doug Ford has reverted the 2015 curriculum back to the 1998 one, which excludes topics like consent, the LGBTQ+ community, indigenous culture and cyber-bullying – topics that the 2015 curriculum required to be taught.

Thousands of children are now learning that their families, their sexuality or gender are not ‘normal’ enough to be mentioned in their schooling. This film is incredibly important because it is critical to portray these families and students and give them a chance to voice their opinions.

By supporting our page and spreading the word, we will be able to reach everyone that wants to be a part of the film and we will be able to create material that showcases the heart of the problem.

If you want to have your voice heard or support the film, you can follow our page and reach out to us through it, or through our email.

We are including all walks of opinion.

Poster by Ava Denise Harness

Directed by Ava Denise Harness

 

 

I tilt back and see above

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I tilt back and see above

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a tiered canopy

that rises great heights, separating pockets of sky

– some blue, some with clouds –

layers, textures swaying in gentle phrases,

opening the hilltop-cap of grief

more like pouring in

the truth of helplessness,

setting free depths unspoken,

domed in such beauty.

 

Perfection that cannot be matched

or misplaced as mediocre or somewhat flawed,

but is flawed, not one straight line

or obedience to symmetry,

all space taken up with its fecund flesh.

 

No cell or stem rotted without reason, rotted

because of regret or the weight of culture

or the ridged mind-set of past tradition, but all the past

contained within it.

 

The ancient trunk expanded equally in the roots

and the leaf currents, intertwined with other currents

to build a blanket, thick enough to feel protected,

mesmerized by the soft motion overgrowth bloom,

a place to anchor a home, release all weapons, comforted.

 

 

 

 © 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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Published in “Synchronized Chaos” November 2018

https://synchchaos.com/synchronized-chaos-november-2018-the-things-we-carry/

http://synchchaos.com/15244-2/

 

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

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Caesar

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Caesar

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If I am going to speak of you, I want

to speak of you properly.

 

You were not a man fueled

solely by personal ambition, but had

a drawing-in blackhole endless taking,

sucking-in-energy latched tight to your soul.

You also had

a throbbing outward force

of inexhaustible restlessness

fused with your being. You had

fortune emboldened at your side.

You risked all for all-or-nothing in countless campaigns,

taut with a certainty no person should have to bear.

You did deeds no peer had

the courage or genius to execute, and standing still

in victory, you never rested but moved to the next goal

as swiftly as you conquered the last.

 

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If you loved God that way instead of war

you would have been more than you were –

more than the high priest of Rome or a king amongst kings.

If you came at the time of Jesus, knew Jesus,

Jesus would have satiated that terrible internal void,

plugged it, infused it with his light –

then you would have known peace

and your urgent voracity for power

would have been settled, stilled.

 

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But as it were, living before Christ

you knew compassion,

were hated for your compassion,

by your own army and your enemy’s.

You offered clemency more than you punished.

All were held captive by your generosity

as much as they were by your fierceness.

You maimed their pride with your kindness, deliberately,

those nobles, senators, those rulers locked in the grinding

wheel of rotating nullifying traditions. You stood outside

of your society, no patience to give attention

to their useless squabbles of self-important entitlement,

their togas of whitewashed

formality, their ass-burns for sitting so long

in debate, on the concrete horizontal plains

of arrested progress.

 

They needed you more than you needed them.

They needed your violent push, your confident disregard

for all they held as fact, sacred and forever-lasting.

Your ego was strong,

a compulsive force of relentless potency, but

your dignity was stronger.

They foiled your many attempts to make peace.

You were isolated because you felt yourself superior

burdened with an innate drive

that surpassed all of those that stood before you,

and those that came before you too.

 

Antony was nothing beside you, nor Crassus, Pompey,

Cato, Sulla, Servilia or even Cicero,

(though you envied Cicero his literary talent as you also

wrote books, and even poetry).

 

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But Caesar, did any one love you?

They feared, admired, hated and worshiped you,

but did they love you? I think your first wife did,

and your daughter with her, Julia,

and Cleopatra – she loved you – saw herself kindred

to a man of unsurpassed charm and authority.

She too was brilliant, ruthless and magnetic and not

the great pigeonholed beauty history claims.

The two of you together went too far.

With her, you lost your isolation and gained equality.

With her, you also lost your balance.

You became too much.

 

The senate fed your fate,

created monuments and celebrations

in your honour. While you stayed in Rome,

smothered by their demands,

you organized time, created the Calendar

and planned your next siege.

 

It has been told that you were a great lover of both sexes.

That your mere presence, cheerfulness and choice words

inspired armies to win when defeat was deemed inevitable.

You gave your soldiers the autonomy to choose you,

and they always chose you.

 

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Over dinner, the night before you were murdered

the senators asked you

“what would be the best kind of death?”

and you said “quick, unexpected”

They gathered around you, 23 of them,

each taking a vicious plunge,

thinking they could backtrack, mend

what you dismantled, when instead

their calculated betrayal destroyed the Republic 

they wanted to preserve. And for you,

 

they furnished the stage of your last act,

marked even more immortal by Shakespeare,

brought to its apex by your protege Brutus.

Bleeding and overpowered,

you covered your head with your cloak, knowing

the oracle was right.

You, ancestor of Venus – died

one of the most remembered deaths in history, died

a death befitting your life, claiming your place

on par with the ancient gods.

 

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If I am going to speak of him I want

to speak of him properly.

 

This sometimes-tyrant,

this namesake of July and a comet,

this forger of the clip-clawed Libra constellation,

was like an inedible mark,

a perfect creature aligned

with inner and celestial interlocking geometry.

His impatience and discipline

grew parallel, equal in calibre within him.

In him there was nothing lethargic,

no detrimental indulgences

and nothing chaotic.

 

Crossing the Rubicon, always forward moving,

daring, leaping outside the lines

afraid more of failure than of death,

he stayed the path, never compromising,

humbled only by the voice

that stormed triumphant in his head.

 

The voice, when waking

he never spoke about, but when sleeping,

gripped him, strained, strengthening his zeal,

igniting a landmark pure devotion.

 

He was made for that point in time and space,

to enact that exact mythology, a destiny

etched like a laurel wreath into the skin around

a zenith fixed star.

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© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst

amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst

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First published in “Outlaw Poetry” October 2018

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https://outlawpoetry.com/2018/caesar-by-allison-grayhurst/

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You can listen to the poem by clicking below:

 

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