An Interview with Allison Grayhurst
Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Four of her poems were nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2015/2018, and one eight-part story-poem was nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2017. She has over 1,375 poems published in more than 525 international journals and anthologies.
In 2018, her book Sight at Zero, was listed #34 on CBC’s “Your Ultimate Canadian Poetry List”.
Collaborating with Allison Grayhurst on the lyrics, Vancouver-based singer/songwriter/musician Diane Barbarash has transformed eight of Allison Grayhurst’s poems into songs, creating a full album entitled River – Songs from the poetry of Allison Grayhurst, released 2017.
In 2020, her work was translated into Chinese and published in “Rendition of International Poetry Quarterly” and in “Poetry Hall”.
Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then, she has published twenty-one other books of poetry and twelve collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 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. Also, 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). Her book Tadpoles Find the Sun was published by Cyberwit, August 2020.
She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; http://www.allisongrayhurst.com
Karunesh Kumar Agrawal: Tell us about you and your background.
Allison Grayhurst: I was born in Canada, grew up in Montreal and live in Toronto now with my husband, my two grown children, and my cats. Both my parents were writers and we moved around a lot when I was young, living in Spain for a year.
Karunesh Kumar Agrawal: How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book??
Allison Grayhurst: I’ve been writing since grade school, it just came naturally to me. However, I never wanted to be a writer, let alone a poet. I wanted to work with animals. I was 19 when I realized I didn’t have a choice, and had to accept myself as a poet.
Karunesh Kumar Agrawal: What authors do you like to read?
Allison Grayhurst: Russian literature has greatly influenced me, my favourite being Dostoyevsky. The last five years or so I have been reading ancient Greek and Roman literature and philosophy. Right now, I am reading Plutarch, The Rise of Rome. But reading Homer’s The Iliad was one of the greatest experiences I had as I writer, witnessing the birth of literature, and then to follow the thread from the Iliad to all the great literature that was directly inspired by it, from Virgil’s the Aeneid, Euripides, Dante, Milton, and Sapho. My husband, Kyp Harness, is a great writer of literature and songs, and I am inspired by him daily as a poet and as a human being.
Karunesh Kumar Agrawal: How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction and non writing?
Allison Grayhurst: It is not so hard right now to be published as there are so many online magazines, many established, and many new, edgy, and open to new ways of expression. It used to cost money to mail out your work, now it is done free with just a click. However, a poetry career has no monetary reward, so that part is very difficult, and more than often, feels like an impossible life path.
Karunesh Kumar Agrawal: Your experience of writing the book Running, lightwave riding.
Allison Grayhurst: The poems in this book were about shedding outdone and harmful influences and ways of being. Mostly the shedding wasn’t by choice, but forced upon me, and the poems express my coming to terms with the losses, accepting the losses, and eventually receiving the gift of the losses.
Karunesh Kumar Agrawal: What are your future project(s)?
Allison Grayhurst: I am working on a full-length book called The Light Given, which will have three parts: Getting Out; Celebration; Stepping In.
Karunesh Kumar Agrawal: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Allison Grayhurst: Not really. I guess, only be a poet if you have no other choice. It must be a necessity not a hobby.
Karunesh Kumar Agrawal: What is your motivation for writing more?
Allison Grayhurst: Being alive. I write because I live, so as long as I am alive, I will continue to write.
Karunesh Kumar Agrawal: Thank you very much.
Allison Grayhurst: Thank you Karunesh.