Quotes/Reviews about Allison Grayhurst’s poetry

Quotes/Reviews 2012/2013/2014/2015/2016/2017:

 

“It is our great pleasure to announce that Allison Grayhurst’s ‘When the City Speaks’ is our 100th publication! Grayhurst’s poem is a paradigm example of the tone and theme that The Bees Are Dead set out to promote. It presents modern urban living as a dystopia already contrived – where class is a predator, red in tooth and claw; an airborne sickness. Where ‘opportunity’ is but a taunt. 
Grayhurst’s lines are snappy and frantic, reflecting the anxiety of her city’s skittish citizens. Her imagery is bleak yet with a surreal beauty coaxed up by zoomorphic and East Asian references. A classic grayscale poem with flashes of luminous iridescence…

We are fortunate to have two more pieces from this great poet locked away safely in our hive’s vault, and we look forward to sharing these with you in the not too distant future…

– P.A-B.”

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“Her (Allison Grayhurst’s) pieces (poetry) have a tribal and timeless feeling, reminiscent of the Biblical commentary in Ecclesiastes,” Cristina Deptula, editor of Synchronized Chaos, 2017.

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In response to the 16-part poem – Walkways:

“This is brilliant! Brilliant. Reminds me of when I first read Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”. And I wanted to stand up on the city bus and exclaim aloud: “Listen to this!” A comprehensive capturing of human earthly experience in all its dimensions without missing a beat – beyond the conscious mind – dancing with the levels of our knowing and sensing – that we feel but do not always recognize, and rarely, oh so rarely articulate. Clearly, Grayhurst’s poetic journey has taken her to the mountain top,” Taylor Jane Green, registered holistic talk therapist and author. 

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“We’ve recently received the work of Toronto poet Allison Grayhurst, a collection of vivid imagery and gripping enjambment that puts the reader in a spiralling world of despair. By using language to express the human conflicts of inner turmoil and the way in which our past burdens interact with the subconscious, the self and the world around us, Grayhurst sculpts poems that are revealing and confessional, as well as technically adept in their formatting and diction,” David Eatock, The Continuist, 2014.

 

The Continuist 1The Continuist 2

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“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 of Swan Wheeler: A North American Mythology, Swan – A Planetary Mythology, and The Rise of Eros, 2014.

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Reviews of  books “Into My Mortal”

and “The River Is Blind”:

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“Her (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, 2014.

(full reviews from Anne Burke further below)

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 Reviews of  ‘Journey of the Awakening’:

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“Journey of the Awakening is the first book of poetry that I have read of Allison Grayhurst. While reading it began to sound familiar, the comment to myself was “She is as good as Sylvia Plath”. When I finished the book I read comments from others who referred to her as “In the style of Sylvia Plath”; Ms Plath, one of my favorite poets had no match until Ms Grayhurst’s work. Congratulations to her on her achievements, I am already a ‘fan’, the love of her work will continue to grow,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet and author.
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“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. This, and other Grayhurst poetry volumes are highly, highly recommended,” Tom Davis, poet, novelist and educator.
Reviews- Journey of the Awakening

“I have many of Allison Grayhurst’s books and this one (Journey of the Awakening) is well worth a read. There is a spiritual element to the poems that have a lifting aspect as you read each poem. I highly recommend reading The River is Blind, I have this in paperback and come back to it time and again when I am looking for inspiration. I don’t think you can go wrong with dipping in and out of all her books of contemporary poetry and I am sure you would enjoy them all,” Bruce Ruston, poet, photographer, founding editor of The Poetry Jar.

Journey of the awkening book eview bruce 

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Reviews of ‘The River is Blind’ paperback:

“Allison Grayhurst’s poetic prose is insightful, enwrapping, illuminating and brutally truthful. It probes the nature of the human spirit, relationships, spirituality and God. It is sung as the clearest song is sung within a cathedral by choir. It is whispered as faintly as a heartbroken goodbye. It is alive with the life of a thousand birds in flight within the first glint of morning sun. It is as solemn as the sad-sung ballad of a noble death. 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. THE RIVER IS BLIND is a must-read. ” Eric M. Vogt, poet and author.

Reviews - The River is Blind 3

“Throughout (The River is Blind), she (Allison Grayhurst) employs reiterated tropes of swallowing and being consumed, spatial fullness and emptiness, shut- in, caverns, chasms, cavities; angels, archangels, blasphemy, psalms; satiation or starved. With a conceit of unrequited sex as “my desire”, nocturnal emissions, awakening in the morning, the poet lives at capacity, uninhibited, dancing,” Anne Burke, poet, regional representative for Alberta on the League of Canadian Poets’ Council, and chair of the Feminist Caucus.

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“One of the best contemporary poetry books I have read and my favorite by Allison Grayhurst. I have this (The River is Blind) in paperback and find I come back to it often. I am very impressed that her poetry just oozes quality and in all ways gets my mind thinking. If you read poetry I highly recommend it, if you also write this is a great way to spend a couple of hours soaking in the quality and subject matters. The poems are spiritual and uplifting and I have never found any of her poems to be dull or depressing nor ever too hard to read. More life affirming each time I read one and I am always glad to have done so,” Bruce Ruston, poet, photographer, founding editor of The Poetry Jar.

River is Blind Review bruce

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Reviews of ‘The Longing To Be’:

“The contents of Allison Grayhurst’s book The Longing To Be are both personal and universal and are described in such thematic and golden terms that one can see that a lot of thought has gone into each line. The poems are written mostly in free verse throughout, with both rhythm and soul weaved into them. For some poems, the layout seems experimental, and there is definitely a playfulness in the way that the words and verses fall onto the page. Others do conform to a “norm”, whatever that is. All are dramatic and thoughtful. These are layered poems with new horizons presented to the reader in every re-read. The effect is to keep things fresh with poems that constantly surprise in spite, and because of, the number of times being read. I thoroughly recommend The Longing To Be as a poetry book to study carefully and cherish far into the future,” poet Brian Shirra.

Reviews - The Longing to Be

 

“What can I say about Allison Grayhurst and her creativity that has not already been said…she is a prolific poet. Her poetry has touched my heart and soul,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet and author.

 

The Longing to Be Review

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Reviews of ‘Pushing Through the Jelly Fire’:

“This, (Pushing Through the Jelly Fire) is my second favorite book of poetry by Allison Grayhurst. I have it in paperback. I read a lot of poetry across a lot of blogs but Grayhurst’s work stands above the crowd and is of tremendous quality. I highly recommend this and The River is Blind. Her quality of writing is of a high standard and never ceases to lift my spirits as I turn pages in paperback or kindle,” Bruce Ruston, poet, photographer, founding editor of The Poetry Jar.

pushing through the jelly fire review

 

“Another Grayhurst masterpiece, Allison’s work has inspired me to continue creating and reading poetry,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet.

pushing through the jelly fire review 2

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Reviews of ‘The Many Lights of Eden’:

        “When I started to read Allison Grayhurst’s collection of poetry entitled ‘The Many Lights of Eden’, I was expecting it to contain verses of the highest quality. I was expecting it to be a journey through spirituality. I was expecting this book to speak of God. I was not disappointed.
        “Yes, it is a journey: a journey of the heart through youth, anguish, struggle, spiritual awakening, grief, death, love, loss, guilt, struggle, despair, hope, surrender, God, sensuality, imperfection, motherhood, aging, the vanquishing of the devil, indeed, many devils, the inevitable fall from perfection and the casting off of old wineskins for a new one.
        “Perhaps speaking of this book as a chronicle of spiritual maturing would be more accurate, the realization that there is spirituality within imperfection and that handmade temples cannot hope to compete with the spiritual temples within each of us. By the end of the collection there is a spiritual ascension, a victory over demons of the past now slayed. There is height in Love and Forgiveness in guilt. There is an embracing of the chaos of life and a positive hope for the future. And, I believe, the realization that God is higher than chaos and the Creator is more permanent than perfection.
         “This journey touched me. It is a journey that every person makes at sometime in their life. And this trail we trod does not end. There is beauty in the trail and its many aspects just as there is beauty from every vantage point of the admirer of a diamond.
       “‘The Many Lights of Eden’ is a diamond. It is a beautiful collection of insights and I appreciate the many nuances of meaning to Allison Grayhurst’s poetry. Her thoughts and writings are a deep well. Drink from it, for the water is clear and crisp. This collection is a MUST-READ,” Eric M. Vogt, author of Letters to Lara and Paths and Pools to Ponder

Reviews - The Many Lights of Eden 3

 

“I have been slow at responding to reviews for Allison Grayhurst due to summer’s busy days, however she brings life to each poem, heart to the images and everyone should have a collection of Grayhurst Poetry,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet.

The Many Lights of Eden review

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Review of ‘For Every Rain’:

“Great collection, once again outstanding creativity,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet.

For Every Rain review

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Reviews “Trial and Witness – selected poems”

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“The title was well chosen for this collection of Grayhurst’s poetry. Many of her poems eloquently elucidate the interweaving of setting and role suggested by “Trial and Witness”. What’s more, the breath of roles covered is exceptional. Even poems covering similar perspectives are able to express subtle distinctions, distinctions which add depth to the collection’s larger themes. This cohesive psychology of the poet is clear, allowing for long reads and re-reads,” Patrick Linsenmeyer.

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“A painting in words …. excellent. I am short on superlatives,” Brenda-Lee Ranta, author.
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“Some superb poems in this book. I would highly recommend it,” Mark Heathcote.

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Other Reviews:

“Allison Grayhurst’s poetry is so exquisite that one cares hardly about the meaning of the words as they fall so perfectly on the surface of the subconscious mind. Meaning is clearly innate and yet the poetry of the sheer aesthetics of the word formations is enough. No one in my experience, captures and creates artistry of emotions like Allison Grayhurst,” Jane Marin, poet and author.

Jumana and Perfect Love cover 3

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“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.

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“Allison Grayhurst’s poetry combines the depth and dark intensity of Sylvia Plath, the layered complex imagery of Dylan Thomas and the philosophical insights of Soren Kierkegaard, taking the reader on a fearless journey through the human condition, delving with honesty into death, grief, loss, faith, commitment, motherhood, and erotic love. Grayhurst intertwines a potent spirituality throughout her work so that each poem is not simply a statement or observation, but a revelation that demands the reader’s personal involvement. Grayhurst’s poetic genius is profound and evident. Her voice is uniquely authentic, undeniable in its dignified vulnerability as it is in its significance,” Kyp Harness, singer/songwriter, author.

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“Allison Grayhurst is the Queen of Catharsis. Allison Grayhurst’s poems are like cathedrals witnessing and articulating in unflinching graphic detail the gritty angst and grief of life, while taking it to rare clarity, calm and comfort in an otherwise confusing world of deception, mediocrity and degradation. Allison Grayhurst takes the sludge of life, and with fearless sharpness of eye and heart she spins it free of maggots with the depth of honour and passion. Allison Grayhurst’s work is haunting, majestic and cleansing, often leaving one breathless in the wake of its intelligence, hope, faith and love amidst the muck of life. Many of Allison Grayhurst’s poems are simply masterpieces booming with thunderous insight begging to be in Bartlett’s Quotations, lines such as “I drink necessity’s authority.” Nothing is wishy-washy in the realm of Allison Grayhurst. Allison Grayhurst’s work is sustaining, enriching, and deepening for the soul to read… a light of sanity in the world. As a poet, Allison Grayhurst is a lighthouse of intelligent honour… indeed, intelligence rips through her work like white water,” Taylor Jane Green, BA, RIHR, CHT, Registered Spiritual Psychotherapist and author of Swan Wheeler: A North American Mythology and The Rise of Eros.

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“A river is in Allison Grayhurst’s poems. Sometimes it rages over boulders hidden beneath rapids. Sometimes it is as calm and placid as a summer day reflecting skies so blue they are as unusual as a Stellar Jay’s wings. Sometimes it is as unpredictable as the rhythm of clouds gathering before a storm. Made up of words, emotions, thoughts, thoughts crystallized into ideas, this river, like most rivers, is unforgettable. One poem cascades after another into a flood of poetry. As in the poetry of Wallace Stevens, Allison Grayhurst’s work can be dense with meanings hidden beneath the flowing surface of words. The emotions in her poems sear with the power of Sylvia Plath. One layer reflects light over another layer of thought and emotion that leads to yet another layer. This is as serious a poet as is writing poetry today. For those adventurous enough to venture into a river wild, deep, calm, beautiful, shadowed, light, filled with moods and emotions of both an inner and the earth’s landscape, then this is a journey worth taking. It leads to experiences that have the texture and substance of life,” Thomas Davis, poet, educator, scholar, playwright, and novelist.

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Reviews of  books “Into My Mortal”

and “The River Is Blind”

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“News from the Feminist Caucus, by Anne Burke

 

“This month, the case of York University and its handling of a male student’s

request to be excused from attending a study group with female students on

religious grounds. With reviews of Allison Grayhurst’s Into My Mortal

and The River is Blind.

 

Allison Grayhurst is a full member of the League of Canadian Poets. She

has more than 290 poems published in over 170 international

magazines/journals/anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published

by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995.

Since then she has published ten other books of poetry and four

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 recently published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press

December 2012. The reviews were written from uncorrected proofs.

http://abovegroundpress.blogspot.ca/2012/12/new-from-aboveground-press-river-is.html

 

Grayhurst admits,” I don’t have the patience to write a novel. I wanted to be

a writer, not a poet, but the poem is what is best for me. I’m too impatient to

put in all the cushioning that a novel needs around it to get to the point.

I just want to get right to it.”

 

And get to it she does, “If you’re a writer, you’re not going to let anything

stop you from writing. I wake up every morning at five-thirty to do my writing.”

Her poetry is beginning to reflect her spiritual growth or journey, in a new title

“Journey of the Awakening” (in Oh! Fall 1996, pp. 9-10.) In “The Poetry

of Allison Grayhurst”, by Blaise Wigglesworth, a third-year journalism student,

we are told,

           Her poems read like the journal entries of a mystic – perhaps

           that’s 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….

 

I had the opposite reaction. Her 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.

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Review of Into My Mortal, by Allison Grayhurst

(Edge Unlimited Publishing, 2004)

111 pp paper.

 

Although the iron mask resembles that of the Count of Monte Crisco,

she expresses the poetic nutrients that keep her/mind’s eye vivid (“It is told again”),

and declares, “I am thirsty, still/a poet” (“Desperation/Affirmation”). This collection

is primarily devoted to the conception, gestation, delivering, and raising of children.

 

A foremost wish “as we walk, born as one” (“Vacant Underground”) for a home

of three turned into four” (“SomeOne New”). As she makes room for the newborn,

she learns laughter from an unborn child (“I Do Not Try To Understand”), feels a kick,

does not fear “the boy you will be” (“Under My Skin”) or a babe that

needed constant tending (“In The Name”). Rather, she welcomes the

infant sound (“New Tree in the Garden”), harkens “little boy, welcome”

(“Six Months Pregnant”). However, she feels the weight of preparation

(“For Life”), as with a child and another child

(“Kind Escape”). There is a child’s mind: “One little girl”, “One little child”,

“One little heart” (“One Little Heart”). Elsewhere, a child is peering (“Storm”),

there are nursing infants (“Listening to the Talk”, and the hands of a child

(“Pure and Plastic”). I spot some children (“Tribe), when hope

feels like a new body (“Legacy”); children weeping (“On this Dock”),

playing games (“Mustard Seed”), changing body (“Overpass”), like my children

(“I see the things”). Birth contains the death that brings rebirth (“I Sleep

in The Rain”), “to be alive with you there (“Always There”), a child’s gift

(“Slice the Pony”), a perfect lullaby (“A Place For You”), a child watching

(“Learning Temperance”). At your stroller side (“Little boy born”),

my children (“Dad, I think of you”), and of “Siblings”, a thousand parents but

their only child (“Turned”. My children autumn born (“Into My Mortal”),

a baby’s teething (“The Bane of My Hypocrisy”), the smell of my baby’s neck

(“Just Believing”), a baby’s mouth (“What Can?”). A child surging (“Friend”),

my happy family (“Happy Summer Coming”), the thrashing of children”

(“Junkie”), the bloody aftermath (“The Thing Ahead”), children wait (“Weather”),

third birth (“The Hand That Came”), my children (“A Better Life”), two children

(“Because”), funerals and baby births (“The Flood”)

 

I would recommend “Six Months Pregnant”, “Born” “that wondrous child”,

“Days Before Birth” of a wonderful new creation. “Little Boy Born”,

“Son, Almost One” infant glory, and especially “Daughter Almost Five”,

a friend like no other.

 

Allison Grayhurst. lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, two children,

two cats and a dog. She also sculpts, working in clay. Some of these poems

have first appeared or will be appearing in: The Greensilk  Journal; Beatnick;

Pirene’s Fountain; Studio Journal; PoeticLicence; Bursting Plethora of Rainbow

Colors; Extract(s.)

 

Contact the author: allisongrayhurst@rogers.com;

http://www.allisongrayhurst.com

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Review of The River is Blind, by Allison Grayhurst

(Edge Unlimited Publishing,

2012) 99 pp. paper.

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This poetry is private, about women who can be “brutal”, “like a smile”,

as well as “gloriously giving”, razor sharp, but “androgynously/beautiful”.

In “What face?”, the embryo appears as if “you are neither/masculine

or feminine.” Throughout, she employs reiterated tropes of swallowing and

being consumed, spatial fullness and emptiness, shut-in, caverns, chasms,

cavities; angels, archangels, blasphemy, psalms; satiation or starved.

With a conceit of unrequited sex as “my desire”, nocturnal emissions,

awakening in the morning, the poet lives at capacity, uninhibited, dancing.

(“Deep Breath In”) She personifies a star as having “sweet blood” but plugged

and unwholesome. In “this prevails”, she seeks a sponge to saturate.

 

The extended conceit of death, using the metaphor of “a stream” which,

paradoxically, the poet must “undress” in order “to know its cool wetness”

(“Body of Water”) she implores the muse to rescue her from “this drowning”,

to be released from sleeplessness. Her lover abandoned her, sick, with sensations

of choking, near death, in a cave. She needs to soothe her despair,

mid-day, as a serpent emerges.

 

In “It starts”, “where water sinks or where water concentrates, “either way,

[it] falls/but does not flow.” In “Claimed”, she wants more space in

which to swim, “between clouds”. In “Box”, there are “tossing waters”,

wet breath, a stream. In “Will you keep me”, drink me, stream through

rainclouds. In ‘Seamless”, there are raincoats and rainy seasons, past

is an outpouring. In “Desires traversed”, my liquid garden. In “I turn

the corner and “wet river stones and floating. “Intimacy” is but “chilled water”.

“Our Time” involves “melting waters together.”

 

In “Emptied”, “a wave never crests.” In “I heard a poet say”, one sees God

everywhere, even “in the swimming pool while treading water.” In ‘Yes”,

the acts of weeping, showering, and dripping are linked. A squid’s tentacles

are “pulled from pulsing water”. (“Our Light Cannot Always Burn Whole”)

 

 In “Matrimony” she explores the “wavelength”. In “I wait for you”,

the words are “like lard”, but “I have sky-dived into a torrent wave for you”,

now she is “drenched”. In “Surrogate Dharma”, she believes she could be

transformed as a fish, “weaving with one full-body stroke.”

 

She sets the scene of a phallic steeple which enters the sun’s skin,

in order to liberate “a liquid radiation”, an act which is “brutish”,

“pillaged”, “frozen”, emaciated”, “seeping”. (“Open Valve”) The same poem

culminates with “overflowing, so overflowing”

“drowns”, and “downpores”, “currents and currents”.

 

In “Quagmire”, the known becomes “blindness”, a drooling city,

with fluid boundaries. In “Changing Skins”, we learn that “lust is water”,

but more than lust “is worth every star.”

 

She confronts the afterbirth, with “a growing, encroaching wave”,

while she rests on a raft, the fish are curiously contented swimmers,

under seawater. (“Thirst”)

 

In damp places she observes tree bark as living wood, but she insists

on a new geography, with a private island (“I would not thirst”).

In “Myth”, outpourings are “insatiable”. The body as garden, is capable

of “rich waters”, “curvy undercurrents”, a mirage, drained of

natural oils, and, ultimately, unsatisfying due to

“this thin-stream garden hose”

(“Trickle”)

 

The path to tranquility is paradoxically through mania:

 ” of our mutual exposure. I will speak in your ear and you

 will step into my voice

 like stepping into a river

 (“River”), ” 

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Anne Burk, poet, regional representative for Alberta on the League of Canadian Poets’

Council, and chair of the Feminist Caucus.

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http://poets.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/FemCaucusReportFeb2014.pdf

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Review of  ‘The River is Blind’ chapbook 2013 :

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““He came. He is what everyone needs
But the pavement is thick
the ground beneath is rich
saturated with worms,
moving
thick
with worm motion
moving
at worm speed.”
 
This stanza, snipped from the tail-end of “In the Thighs”, illustrates an existential curiosity that courses through Allison Grayhurst’s latest collection. We’ll get to the “He” part in a minute. But first, it’s Grayhurst’s physical constraints that comfort us: a box sitting at the top of the stairs, housecats in states of wakefulness and sleep, the “snails and moss” that preoccupy her. Indeed, The River Is Blind situates itself firmly in the familial but imbues those relationships and domestic touchstones with a disembodied calm. Ambition and disenchantment linger along the fences of Grayhurst’s property but she remains candidly in the present:  embracing “the comfort of sweaters and knitted socks” for “First Snow of Winter”, “the child sitting and staring and waiting for the coin” in “Wallpaper Stars”.
 
In lesser hands, muses such as these might’ve resulted in verses of weak-kneed contentedness. But Grayhurst’s voice remains one of detachment, webbing daily pleasures into greater meditations on love and God – the “He” that churns The River Is Blind’s family soil. Through spiritual lens, poems like “Everything Happens” and “Flies” counteract steadfast faith with insights on the material world, a separate world; a place where people grind flowers for honey. From “Flies”:
 
“What faith was plucked with the flowers
as all their little tongues reached out to pocket
the short-term scent?””,
Ryan Pratt, Ottawa poetry newsletter, January 30, 2013
Review- Ottawa 1Review- Ottawa 2
 
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Somewhere Falling back-of-the-book quotes 1995:

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Somewhere Falling has a richness of imagery and an intensity of emotion rare in contemporary poetry. Drawn in sharp outlines of light and darkness, and rich shades of colour, with a deep sense of loss and longing and the possibility of salvation, this is an unusual book by a gifted young poet. Grayhurst’s voice is one to which we should continue to pay attention.” — Maggie Helwig, author of Apocalypse Jazz and Eating Glass.

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“Responsibility and passion don’t often go together, especially in the work of a young poet. Allison Grayhurst combines them in audacious ways. Somewhere Falling is a grave, yet sensuous book.” – Mark Abley, author of Glasburyon and Blue Sand, Blue Moon.

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“Biting into the clouds and bones of desire and devotion, love and grief, Allison Grayhurst basks the reader, with breathtaking eloquence, in an elixir of words. Like lace, the elegance is revealed by what isn’t said. This is stunning poetry.” – Angela Hryniuk, author of no visual scars.

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“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.

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Other older quotes/reviews:

“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, 1996.

Blaise

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“Rich images and complex, shifting metaphors drive Allison Grayhurst’s poems. She focuses on sexual love and interior landscapes, widening to include the heart, eternity and all.” – Next Exit

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“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

Can Lit 2Can Lit 1coomon dream book reviewcoom dream book review 2common dream book review 1 common dream book review 2 common dream book review 3

 

 

http://canlitweb.arts.ubc.ca/full-issue/?issue=134-letters-other-connections

http://canlitweb.arts.ubc.ca/article/uncommon-dreams/

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“Allison Grayhurst is a poet whose work is characterized by startling imagery and uncompromising emotion, whose pieces have appeared in prestigious magazines. Lights, darks, colors, and passions intertwine throughout the pages of her work,” – Louise E. Allin, Literature and Language

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“A talented poet, Allison Grayhurst has created two books of richly imagined poems: Common Dream and Somewhere Falling from Beach Holme. As well as a sculptor, she is ‘a grave, yet sensuous writer’ combining grace with deep emotions.” – The Kingston Artists Association, 1996.

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“Allison Grayhurst’s Common Dream is a massive book by a talented and enthusiastic young writer, with a feel for descriptive, meaningful verse. Philosophical and very deep,” Paul Rance, editor of Eastern Rainbow, U.K.,  spring 1993.

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 Her poem Childhood Cracked won Bewildering Stories’ The 2011 Mariner Award for Short Poetry

Bewildering Stories Childhood vracked award 1. jpgBewildering Stories Childhood vracked award 2. jpg

http://www.bewilderingstories.com/anthologies/AR11.html

“I really like Allison Grayhurst’s poem “Childhood Cracked.” There is something ethereal about it — the words and phrases attract me in a mysterious way. In particular, the second line “a lucid slumber of inarticulate words like a dew drop on ice.” Whew, the phrase pulls up images and feeling of being verbally locked, having something overwhelmingly important to express yet being frozen, unable to speak. And, “Into this autumn / the doll fell” brings thoughts of fractured memories from childhood. The poem gives me a raw chill but not in an uncomfortable way. The images stay with me a while. I enjoyed it greatly,” Bewildering Stories, 2011 – American poet Thomas F. Wylie, 2012.

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Reviews of Jumana, Before the Dawn and Perfect Love chapbooks:

Jumana was published in 1989 by The Plowman, written by Allison Grayhurst under the pseudonym of Jocelyn Kain.

Reviews below of Allison Grayhurst’s chapbook “Jumana”  were published in the “The Plowman – A Journal of International Poetry” 1989:

“After reading Jocelyn Kain’s Before The Dawn, I was so impressed by her unique talent that my expectations were high when Jumana came along. It is difficult to describe Jumana. Sometimes it is reminiscent of a long soliloquy, and at other times, the impression is that Kain has used patches of her finest poetic lines and strung them together in order to create prose, then at other times, Jumana has the flavour of a personal memoir. There are times when her personal obsessions are laid bare before our prying eyes, and Kain titillates and seduces us. There are often times when this work creeps fairly close to the boarders of sanity and insanity.  Clearly, her voice is strong and passionate. She often grabs hold and confesses. Kain’s poetry is among the finest I have read, her being a master of imagery,” poet Bernadette Dyer.

“The images in Jumana, this excellent book of story-prose are intense and provocative. They are often disturbing, but only because some of us may find we are able to position ourselves in Kain’s experience and reality. Which is, in fact, the goal and purpose of good writing. There is little doubt that these ten segments are autobiographical and with startling insight, Kain shares the depth of her vision along a journey of self-exploration. Her words are catharsis for the lonely, the sad, the uncertain, anyone, everyone. Only one who has endured great pain, bordering perhaps on the brink of madness, and emerged triumphant, can articulate such intensity while exploring the inner paths of heart and soul, too often veiled from public view. Definitely well worth a read,” poet Melody-Ann McCarthy-Smith.

Jumana and Perfect Love cover 3

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Before the Dawn was published in 1989 by The Plowman, written by Allison Grayhurst under the pseudonym of Jocelyn Kain.

Reviews below of Allison Grayhurst’s chapbook “Before the Dawn”  were published in the “The Plowman – A Journal of International Poetry” 1989:

“Throughout these 54 poems there is a ring of truth, an honesty few poets inject into their writing. I hope there is a follow-up to the book, because it leaves one with the desire to hear more, to know what will happen next, to discover the net result of the woven pattern of emotion and intensity that will come from the pen of this stirring author,” poet C.F. Kennedy

“Jocelyn Kain’s chapbook Before The Dawn, is thick with mixed images of rain, smoking cigarettes, the sea – images that appear in other poems, but in Kain’s poetry, the images come alive in a melancholic dance of the soul. This book is fresh, emotional, quality poetry. If Kain’s talents continue to improve, she will someday prove to be a noteworthy literary figure,” poet Davy Wood.

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Perfect Love was published in 1989 by The Plowman, written by Allison Grayhurst under the pseudonym of Jocelyn Kain.

Reviews of  below of Allison Grayhurst’s chapbook “Perfect Love” were published in the “The Plowman – A Journal of International Poetry” 1989:

“Jocelyn Kain’s work is interlaced with the inner spirit as it comes to terms with the decay of toxic waste, only to marvel at the landscape’s regeneration after the abominations it has endured. Her chapbook Perfect Love is a monologue in prose of physical intensity, obviously related to experience. The book gives the impression of a young person striving to come to terms with the limitless possibilities that a future may hold, all the while chained by life’s obsessions. We see here the marvellous talent of a poet seeking another source, another life paradigm to embrace, to seize hold of. In this case, one feels her quest is attainable,” poet Richard Ball.

“In Perfect Love Jocelyn Kain takes us on an epic journey of the heart and soul. Her prose is flanked with haunting images, pain, and ultimate joy. This gifted writer never fails to elevate the rest of us into unknown heady heights, leaving us tingling. Like a caterpillar into a butterfly, Kain struggles through a metamorphosis, revealing in this love letter her journey to fruition. Along the way, this memorable journey is marked by unforgettable prose, steering us into the light, showing us flashes of her vision. The poet reveals see-saw emotions with this thing called love, and tells us her true feelings. One experiences triumph when she finally realizes her goal, finally finds and accepts love,” poet Bernadette Dyer.

“Perfect Love by Jocelyn Kain is unusual chapbook. It is not easily assimilated at a first reading. It wrenches the heart and bares the soul. This book is a record of a heart, a soul wrestling with God – for God is love and God is perfect, perfect love. But Jocelyn Kain is imperfect as she seeks that perfect unity with God. There are so many good things in this book, such an exposure of reality. This place is far too small to enable me to share with you any more than a small portion of the wonder of this book,” poet Hugh Alexander.

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Allison Grayhurst listed as reference to April, 2015 Baby Name book 

Baby names book Allison coverBaby names book Allison 2Baby names book Allison

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http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Names-Girls-Jessamine-Jordan/dp/1511534036/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428890001&sr=1-1

Interviews:

Below is an interview from 2013:

 

The Muse

(An International Journal of Poetry)

ISSN 2249 –2178

 

Volume-3                               DECEMBER -2013                                    Number-2

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An E-Interview with Allison Grayhurst

Interviewed by Dr. Pradeep Chaswal

(Allison Grayhurst  has had over 280 poems published in more than 165 international journals, magazines, and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published ten other books of poetry and four 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 recently published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. She lives in Toronto with family. She also sculpts, working with clay.)

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Dr. Pradeep Chaswal:

At which age did you write your first poem? Were there any incidents in your life that made you want to write?

Allison Grayhurst: 

I wrote my first poem at the age of 13 for a poetry assignment in school. For several years before that, I wrote many short stories for school and for my own pleasure. For most of my high school years, I paid very little attention in class and occupied myself with writing poetry – not completed poems, but poetic lines, exploring words, ideas and rhythms.

I actually never wanted to be a writer. Both my parents were journalists, and my father also wrote fiction. Seeing my father’s own struggle, I never wanted to pursue that path. Least of all, did I ever want to be a poet. But I think most artists understand that being an artist is never a choice, only a necessity.

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Dr. Pradeep Chaswal:

How would you define the creative and poetic process in you?

Allison Grayhurst: 

My creative process has morphed many times over during my years of writing poetry. Most recently, my journey has led me to consciously prevent myself from creating any confines to my work – by keeping myself raw (both emotionally and spiritually) while writing, without allowing any pre-conceived ideas determine where the poem is going or what it has to say or why it exists.

I write when I am walking my dog. We stop together; look at trees, the sidewalk, the sky, squirrels, people, many birds. When walking I surround myself with what my imagination reveals, and my dog keeps me grounded. This is what feeds me for now. I just finished a 12 page long poem called Walkways. Where I am going as a poet next, I really don’t know.

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Dr. Pradeep Chaswal:

According to you what is the role and responsibility of a poet in the present day world?

Allison Grayhurst: 

Honestly, I can’t say. I read so very few poets that truly move me, but when they do, it dissolves the senselessness of this world for me, and that is everything. I think that’s what a true poet or artist is supposed to do, if only briefly, but enough to recharge a person’s spirit.

In terms of responsibility, I think a poet’s only responsibility to stay true to herself or himself, even if that means writing something that has no set place in world, or if it means never writing another poem again.

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Dr. Pradeep Chaswal:

What are your views on the contemporary scenario of poetry in English?

Allison Grayhurst: 

Not good. Most poetry I see out there is very badly written, from a literary point of view, though it often has heart. On the other side of the spectrum, there are many very well-crafted and clever poems I see that receive the recognition of greatness, but to me, more than not, they lack heart or vision. Such poems used to intimate me when I was younger. Now I can barely get through them. But I think that is the case with poetry as it is with all other art forms – it is a rare joy when a work of art or poem is able to surprise with its magnificence.
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Dr. Pradeep Chaswal:

Would you please throw light on your latest book of poetry?

Allison Grayhurst: 

My last published poetry book is called Wallpaper Stars. It is more abstract than what I have written before, but I believe it is also richer, denser with imagery and revelations. It is a reflection of my own maturing as a poet.
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Dr. Pradeep Chaswal:

What is your advice for the young poets?

Allison Grayhurst: 

Write only if and when you have to. It has to be like eating or sleeping – something that must be done even if you wish you could avoid it.

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Dr. Pradeep Chaswal:

Would you share with our readers any memorable events in your poetic career?

Allison Grayhurst: 

In 1995, I got my first poetry book published by a respectable publisher. The day I received the acceptance was one I won’t forget. Also, getting a poem published in 2012 in the well-known New York-based Parabola magazine was also a highlight.

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I stopped publishing my work for fifteen years, never sure if I would try again, although through those years I kept writing nearly every day. It was difficult and insulating. At the end of that career sabbatical, in 2012 it was very rewarding to be able to put out nine of my books – all written during that 15-year time period – the way I envisioned them through those years, even with pictures of my sculptures on the front covers.
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Dr. Pradeep Chaswal:

What message do you wish to give our readers and poetry lovers?

Allison Grayhurst: 

Thank you for reading poetry. I am actually surprised by how many people do. It is wonderful to know that poetry still retains some place and significance in the world. So again, thank you. 

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Muse interview 7Muse interviewMuse interview 2Muse interview 3Muse interview 4Muse interview 5

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This interview first appeared in “The Muse (An International Journal of Poetry)” © December 2013 

http://themuse.webs.com/dec%202013/allison%20grayhust%20interview.htm

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Below is an interview with Open Book Toronto, published December 2012:

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POETS IN PROFILE: ALLISON GRAYHURST

Submitted by Grace on December 14, 2012 – 12:53pm

Allison Grayhurst

Allison Grayhurst is the author of The River is Blind, a chapbook of poetry from innovative Ottawa publisher above/ground press.

Today Allison speaks to Open Book about the Rilke poem that had a huge impact on her, the value of trees for writers and the best part of being a poet.

Find out what inspires, confounds and delights today’s Canadian poets by following our Poets in Profile series.

Open Book:

Can you describe an experience that you believe contributed to your becoming a poet?

Allison Grayhurst:

Three things. First, was my father reading Shakespeare’s poetry and other poetry at the dinner table in his powerful and dramatic voice. Second, was moving around a lot as a child. It was difficult to form friendships, so I had to rely on my imagination for comfort. The third experience was pivotal in accepting myself as a poet. I was living in Montreal and working at a centre that helped injured birds of prey. There I was offered the opportunity to travel and work with wildlife, which was always my childhood dream. It was in receiving my dream which made me realize it was not what I was meant to do or who I was meant to be. It was then that I reluctantly accepted myself as a poet.

OB:

What is the first poem you remember being affected by?

AG:

“There Is No Oblivion” by Pablo Neruda”. In fact finding his book Residence on Earth was like a homecoming to me. It was the first time I understood the value of poetry, that poetry could be significant. I had been inspired by many writers before, but never by a poet, until reading Neruda.

OB:

What one poem — from any time period — do you wish you had been the one to write?

AG:

I have never felt that I wished I wrote something. But reading Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Duino Elegies” was the poem that resonated, and still does, the most for me. Reading it fills me the strongest with my own voice — which I think all great art and true inspiration, should do.

OB:

What has been your most unlikely source of inspiration?

AG:

Trees. Walking the streets looking at trees, their bark — sometimes touching it, and their many shapes, towering or small. I encounter them individually, no one tree is the same, and they are not always peaceful.

OB:

What do you do when a poem is not working?

AG:

I throw it out. If the essence, the innate movement isn’t in the poem, I trash it. If it is there, but one or two lines don’t work, I sit with it, walk with it, trusting that the right line or word is already there and I just have to find it.

OB:

What was the last book of poetry that really knocked your socks off?

AG:

To be honest I can’t think of one. Books/poets who have knocked my socks off other than the ones I’ve mentioned are Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas and Theodore Roethke… loving “The Meadow Mouse” as one of my favourite poems. Recently I read Mark Strand and was inspired by the authenticity and spiritual force of his work.

OB:

What is the best thing about being a poet….and what is the worst?

AG:

The best thing about being a poet is the lead up just before the poem arrives; it builds, until it becomes a necessary expression. Then seeing it in images, hearing it in words and rhythm, writing it — that is wonderful. It is where I am the most open, the closest I’ll ever be to God. The worst part of being a poet is everything else.

Allison Grayhurst has had her poetry published in over 115 literary magazines in Canada, the U.S., England, India and Australia. Her book, Somewhere Falling, was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, two children, two cats and a dog. She also sculpts, working in clay.

For more information about The River is Blind please visit theabove/ground website.

Buy this chapbook from above/ground online via paypal atwww.robmclennan.blogspot.com or via postal mail by sending a cheque for $4.00 (add $1.00 for postage; outside Canada, add $2.00) to: rob mclennan, 402 McLeod St #3, Ottawa ON K2P 1A6.

Check out all the Poets in Profile interviews in our archives.

Link to the interview below:

http://www.openbooktoronto.com/news/poets_profile_allison_grayhurst

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TV Reading and Interview from 1995:

Allison Grayhurst also appeared as a guest poet on the Toronto TV Show Motions in Poetry in 1995.

 

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Below is an article/interview from Oh! – Ryerson’s Arts and Culture Voice, 1996

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All Quotes and Reviews:

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“Some superb poems in this book. I would highly recommend it,” Mark Heathcote. (2017)

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“The title was well chosen for this collection of Grayhurst’s poetry. Many of her poems eloquently elucidate the interweaving of setting and role suggested by “Trial and Witness”. What’s more, the breath of roles covered is exceptional. Even poems covering similar perspectives are able to express subtle distinctions, distinctions which add depth to the collection’s larger themes. This cohesive psychology of the poet is clear, allowing for long reads and re-reads,” Patrick Linsenmeyer. (2016)

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“This is brilliant! Brilliant. Reminds me of when I first read Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”. And I wanted to stand up on the city bus and exclaim aloud: “Listen to this!” A comprehensive capturing of human earthly experience in all its dimensions without missing a beat – beyond the conscious mind – dancing with the levels of our knowing and sensing – that we feel but do not always recognize, and rarely, oh so rarely articulate. Clearly, Grayhurst’s poetic journey has taken her to the mountain top,” Taylor Jane Green, registered holistic talk therapist and author. (2015)

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“We’ve recently received the work of Toronto poet Allison Grayhurst, a collection of vivid imagery and gripping enjambment that puts the reader in a spiralling world of despair. By using language to express the human conflicts of inner turmoil and the way in which our past burdens interact with the subconscious, the self and the world around us, Grayhurst sculpts poems that are revealing and confessional, as well as technically adept in their formatting and diction,” David Eatock, The Continuist. (2014)

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“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 of Swan Wheeler: A North American Mythology, Swan – A Planetary Mythology, and The Rise of Eros, (2014)

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“Her (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. (2014)

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“I have many of Allison Grayhurst’s books and this one (Journey of the Awakening) is well worth a read. There is a spiritual element to the poems that have a lifting aspect as you read each poem. I highly recommend reading The River is Blind, I have this in paperback and come back to it time and again when I am looking for inspiration. I don’t think you can go wrong with dipping in and out of all her books of contemporary poetry and I am sure you would enjoy them all,” Bruce Ruston, poet, photographer, founding editor of The Poetry Jar. (2014)

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“Throughout (The River is Blind), she (Allison Grayhurst) employs reiterated tropes of swallowing and being consumed, spatial fullness and emptiness, shut- in, caverns, chasms, cavities; angels, archangels, blasphemy, psalms; satiation or starved. With a conceit of unrequited sex as “my desire”, nocturnal emissions, awakening in the morning, the poet lives at capacity, uninhibited, dancing,” Anne Burke, poet, regional representative for Alberta on the League of Canadian Poets’ Council, and chair of the Feminist Caucus. (2014)

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“I have been slow at responding to reviews for Allison Grayhurst due to summer’s busy days, however she brings life to each poem, heart to the images and everyone should have a collection of Grayhurst Poetry,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet. (2014)

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“One of the best contemporary poetry books I have read and my favorite by Allison Grayhurst. I have this (The River is Blind) in paperback and find I come back to it often. I am very impressed that her poetry just oozes quality and in all ways gets my mind thinking. If you read poetry I highly recommend it, if you also write this is a great way to spend a couple of hours soaking in the quality and subject matters. The poems are spiritual and uplifting and I have never found any of her poems to be dull or depressing nor ever too hard to read. More life affirming each time I read one and I am always glad to have done so,” Bruce Ruston, poet, photographer, founding editor of The Poetry Jar. (2014)

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“What can I say about Allison Grayhurst and her creativity that has not already been said…she is a prolific poet. Her poetry has touched my heart and soul,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet and author. (2014)

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“This, (Pushing Through the Jelly Fire) is my second favorite book of poetry by Allison Grayhurst. I have it in paperback. I read a lot of poetry across a lot of blogs but Grayhurst’s work stands above the crowd and is of tremendous quality. I highly recommend this and The River is Blind. Her quality of writing is of a high standard and never ceases to lift my spirits as I turn pages in paperback or kindle,” Bruce Ruston, poet, photographer, founding editor of The Poetry Jar. (2014)

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“Another Grayhurst masterpiece, Allison’s work has inspired me to continue creating and reading poetry,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet. (2014)

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“Great collection, once again outstanding creativity,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet. (2014)

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“Journey of the Awakening is the first book of poetry that I have read of Allison Grayhurst. While reading it began to sound familiar, the comment to myself was “She is as good as Sylvia Plath”. When I finished the book I read comments from others who referred to her as “In the style of Sylvia Plath”; Ms Plath, one of my favorite poets had no match until Ms Grayhurst’s work. Congratulations to her on her achievements, I am already a ‘fan’, the love of her work will continue to grow,” Ann Johnson-Murphree, poet and author. (2013)

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“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. This, and other Grayhurst poetry volumes are highly, highly recommended,” Tom Davis, poet, novelist and educator. (2013)

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“Allison Grayhurst’s poetry is so exquisite that one cares hardly about the meaning of the words as they fall so perfectly on the surface of the subconscious mind. Meaning is clearly innate and yet the poetry of the sheer aesthetics of the word formations is enough. No one in my experience, captures and creates artistry of emotions like Allison Grayhurst,” Jane Marin, poet and author. (2013)

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“Allison Grayhurst’s poetic prose is insightful, enwrapping, illuminating and brutally truthful. It probes the nature of the human spirit, relationships, spirituality and God. It is sung as the clearest song is sung within a cathedral by choir. It is whispered as faintly as a heartbroken goodbye. It is alive with the life of a thousand birds in flight within the first glint of morning sun. It is as solemn as the sad-sung ballad of a noble death. 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. THE RIVER IS BLIND is a must-read. ” Eric M. Vogt, poet and author. (2013)

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“The contents of Allison Grayhurst’s book The Longing To Be are both personal and universal and are described in such thematic and golden terms that one can see that a lot of thought has gone into each line. The poems are written mostly in free verse throughout, with both rhythm and soul weaved into them. For some poems, the layout seems experimental, and there is definitely a playfulness in the way that the words and verses fall onto the page. Others do conform to a “norm”, whatever that is. All are dramatic and thoughtful. These are layered poems with new horizons presented to the reader in every re-read. The effect is to keep things fresh with poems that constantly surprise in spite, and because of, the number of times being read. I thoroughly recommend The Longing To Be as a poetry book to study carefully and cherish far into the future,” poet Brian Shirra. (2013)

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    “When I started to read Allison Grayhurst’s collection of poetry entitled ‘The Many Lights of Eden’, I was expecting it to contain verses of the highest quality. I was expecting it to be a journey through spirituality. I was expecting this book to speak of God. I was not disappointed.
        “Yes, it is a journey: a journey of the heart through youth, anguish, struggle, spiritual awakening, grief, death, love, loss, guilt, struggle, despair, hope, surrender, God, sensuality, imperfection, motherhood, aging, the vanquishing of the devil, indeed, many devils, the inevitable fall from perfection and the casting off of old wineskins for a new one.
        “Perhaps speaking of this book as a chronicle of spiritual maturing would be more accurate, the realization that there is spirituality within imperfection and that handmade temples cannot hope to compete with the spiritual temples within each of us. By the end of the collection there is a spiritual ascension, a victory over demons of the past now slayed. There is height in Love and Forgiveness in guilt. There is an embracing of the chaos of life and a positive hope for the future. And, I believe, the realization that God is higher than chaos and the Creator is more permanent than perfection.
         “This journey touched me. It is a journey that every person makes at sometime in their life. And this trail we trod does not end. There is beauty in the trail and its many aspects just as there is beauty from every vantage point of the admirer of a diamond.
       “‘The Many Lights of Eden’ is a diamond. It is a beautiful collection of insights and I appreciate the many nuances of meaning to Allison Grayhurst’s poetry. Her thoughts and writings are a deep well. Drink from it, for the water is clear and crisp. This collection is a MUST-READ,” Eric M. Vogt, author of Letters to Lara and Paths and Pools to Ponder. (2013)

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“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. (2012)

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“Allison Grayhurst’s poetry combines the depth and dark intensity of Sylvia Plath, the layered complex imagery of Dylan Thomas and the philosophical insights of Soren Kierkegaard, taking the reader on a fearless journey through the human condition, delving with honesty into death, grief, loss, faith, commitment, motherhood, and erotic love. Grayhurst intertwines a potent spirituality throughout her work so that each poem is not simply a statement or observation, but a revelation that demands the reader’s personal involvement. Grayhurst’s poetic genius is profound and evident. Her voice is uniquely authentic, undeniable in its dignified vulnerability as it is in its significance,” Kyp Harness, singer/songwriter, author. (2012)

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“Allison Grayhurst is the Queen of Catharsis. Allison Grayhurst’s poems are like cathedrals witnessing and articulating in unflinching graphic detail the gritty angst and grief of life, while taking it to rare clarity, calm and comfort in an otherwise confusing world of deception, mediocrity and degradation. Allison Grayhurst takes the sludge of life, and with fearless sharpness of eye and heart she spins it free of maggots with the depth of honour and passion. Allison Grayhurst’s work is haunting, majestic and cleansing, often leaving one breathless in the wake of its intelligence, hope, faith and love amidst the muck of life. Many of Allison Grayhurst’s poems are simply masterpieces booming with thunderous insight begging to be in Bartlett’s Quotations, lines such as “I drink necessity’s authority.” Nothing is wishy-washy in the realm of Allison Grayhurst. Allison Grayhurst’s work is sustaining, enriching, and deepening for the soul to read… a light of sanity in the world. As a poet, Allison Grayhurst is a lighthouse of intelligent honour… indeed, intelligence rips through her work like white water,” Taylor Jane Green, BA, RIHR, CHT, Registered Spiritual Psychotherapist and author of Swan Wheeler: A North American Mythology and The Rise of Eros. (2012)

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“A river is in Allison Grayhurst’s poems. Sometimes it rages over boulders hidden beneath rapids. Sometimes it is as calm and placid as a summer day reflecting skies so blue they are as unusual as a Stellar Jay’s wings. Sometimes it is as unpredictable as the rhythm of clouds gathering before a storm. Made up of words, emotions, thoughts, thoughts crystallized into ideas, this river, like most rivers, is unforgettable. One poem cascades after another into a flood of poetry. As in the poetry of Wallace Stevens, Allison Grayhurst’s work can be dense with meanings hidden beneath the flowing surface of words. The emotions in her poems sear with the power of Sylvia Plath. One layer reflects light over another layer of thought and emotion that leads to yet another layer. This is as serious a poet as is writing poetry today. For those adventurous enough to venture into a river wild, deep, calm, beautiful, shadowed, light, filled with moods and emotions of both an inner and the earth’s landscape, then this is a journey worth taking. It leads to experiences that have the texture and substance of life,” Thomas Davis, poet, educator, scholar, playwright, and novelist. (2012)

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“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 (1996)

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“A talented poet, Allison Grayhurst has created two books of richly imagined poems: Common Dream and Somewhere Falling from Beach Holme. As well as a sculptor, she is ‘a grave, yet sensuous writer’ combining grace with deep emotions.” – The Kingston Artists Association (1996)

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Somewhere Falling has a richness of imagery and an intensity of emotion rare in contemporary poetry. Drawn in sharp outlines of light and darkness, and rich shades of colour, with a deep sense of loss and longing and the possibility of salvation, this is an unusual book by a gifted young poet. Grayhurst’s voice is one to which we should continue to pay attention.” — Maggie Helwig, author of Apocalypse Jazz and Eating Glass. (1995)

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 “Responsibility and passion don’t often go together, especially in the work of a young poet. Allison Grayhurst combines them in audacious ways. Somewhere Falling is a grave, yet sensuous book.” – Mark Abley, author of Glasburyon and Blue Sand, Blue Moon. (1995)

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“Biting into the clouds and bones of desire and devotion, love and grief, Allison Grayhurst basks the reader, with breathtaking eloquence, in an elixir of words. Like lace, the elegance is revealed by what isn’t said. This is stunning poetry.” – Angela Hryniuk, author of no visual scars. (1995)

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“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. (1995)

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“Rich images and complex, shifting metaphors drive Allison Grayhurst’s poems. She focuses on sexual love and interior landscapes, widening to include the heart, eternity and all.” – Next Exit (1994)

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“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 (1993)

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“Allison Grayhurst is a poet whose work is characterized by startling imagery and uncompromising emotion, whose pieces have appeared in prestigious magazines. Lights, darks, colors, and passions intertwine throughout the pages of her work,” – Louise E. Allin, Literature and Language. (1993)

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“Allison Grayhurst’s Common Dream is a massive book by a talented and enthusiastic young writer, with a feel for descriptive, meaningful verse. Philosophical and very deep,” Paul Rance, editor of Eastern Rainbow, U.K. (1993)

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Jumana was published in 1989 by The Plowman, written by Allison Grayhurst under the pseudonym of Jocelyn Kain.

Reviews below of Allison Grayhurst’s chapbook “Jumana”  were published in the “The Plowman – A Journal of International Poetry” 1989:

“After reading Jocelyn Kain’s Before The Dawn, I was so impressed by her unique talent that my expectations were high when Jumana came along. It is difficult to describe Jumana. Sometimes it is reminiscent of a long soliloquy, and at other times, the impression is that Kain has used patches of her finest poetic lines and strung them together in order to create prose, then at other times, Jumana has the flavour of a personal memoir. There are times when her personal obsessions are laid bare before our prying eyes, and Kain titillates and seduces us. There are often times when this work creeps fairly close to the boarders of sanity and insanity.  Clearly, her voice is strong and passionate. She often grabs hold and confesses. Kain’s poetry is among the finest I have read, her being a master of imagery,” poet Bernadette Dyer. (1989)

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“The images in Jumana, this excellent book of story-prose are intense and provocative. They are often disturbing, but only because some of us may find we are able to position ourselves in Kain’s experience and reality. Which is, in fact, the goal and purpose of good writing. There is little doubt that these ten segments are autobiographical and with startling insight, Kain shares the depth of her vision along a journey of self-exploration. Her words are catharsis for the lonely, the sad, the uncertain, anyone, everyone. Only one who has endured great pain, bordering perhaps on the brink of madness, and emerged triumphant, can articulate such intensity while exploring the inner paths of heart and soul, too often veiled from public view. Definitely well worth a read,” poet Melody-Ann McCarthy-Smith. (1989)

 

Before the Dawn was published in 1989 by The Plowman, written by Allison Grayhurst under the pseudonym of Jocelyn Kain.

Reviews below of Allison Grayhurst’s chapbook “Before the Dawn”  were published in the “The Plowman – A Journal of International Poetry” 1989:

“Throughout these 54 poems there is a ring of truth, an honesty few poets inject into their writing. I hope there is a follow-up to the book, because it leaves one with the desire to hear more, to know what will happen next, to discover the net result of the woven pattern of emotion and intensity that will come from the pen of this stirring author,” poet C.F. Kennedy (1989)

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“Jocelyn Kain’s chapbook Before The Dawn, is thick with mixed images of rain, smoking cigarettes, the sea – images that appear in other poems, but in Kain’s poetry, the images come alive in a melancholic dance of the soul. This book is fresh, emotional, quality poetry. If Kain’s talents continue to improve, she will someday prove to be a noteworthy literary figure,” poet Davy Wood. (1989)

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Perfect Love was published in 1989 by The Plowman, written by Allison Grayhurst under the pseudonym of Jocelyn Kain.

Reviews of  below of Allison Grayhurst’s chapbook “Perfect Love” were published in the “The Plowman – A Journal of International Poetry” 1989:

“Jocelyn Kain’s work is interlaced with the inner spirit as it comes to terms with the decay of toxic waste, only to marvel at the landscape’s regeneration after the abominations it has endured. Her chapbook Perfect Love is a monologue in prose of physical intensity, obviously related to experience. The book gives the impression of a young person striving to come to terms with the limitless possibilities that a future may hold, all the while chained by life’s obsessions. We see here the marvellous talent of a poet seeking another source, another life paradigm to embrace, to seize hold of. In this case, one feels her quest is attainable,” poet Richard Ball. (1989)

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“In Perfect Love Jocelyn Kain takes us on an epic journey of the heart and soul. Her prose is flanked with haunting images, pain, and ultimate joy. This gifted writer never fails to elevate the rest of us into unknown heady heights, leaving us tingling. Like a caterpillar into a butterfly, Kain struggles through a metamorphosis, revealing in this love letter her journey to fruition. Along the way, this memorable journey is marked by unforgettable prose, steering us into the light, showing us flashes of her vision. The poet reveals see-saw emotions with this thing called love, and tells us her true feelings. One experiences triumph when she finally realizes her goal, finally finds and accepts love,” poet Bernadette Dyer. (1989)

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“Perfect Love by Jocelyn Kain is unusual chapbook. It is not easily assimilated at a first reading. It wrenches the heart and bares the soul. This book is a record of a heart, a soul wrestling with God – for God is love and God is perfect, perfect love. But Jocelyn Kain is imperfect as she seeks that perfect unity with God. There are so many good things in this book, such an exposure of reality. This place is far too small to enable me to share with you any more than a small portion of the wonder of this book,” poet Hugh Alexander. (1989)

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