INTERVIEW WITH ALLISON GRAYHURST
BIO: Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, she has over 850 poems published in over 380 international journals. She lives in Toronto with her husband, two children, a dog, two cats, two rats and a bird. She is a vegan for the animals. She also sculpts, working with clay;www.allisongrayhurst.com
Link to an old TV interview:
Link to reading a poem and accompanying video by Ava Harness:
Welcome to Scarlet Leaf Review!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I grew up mostly in Montreal by the St. Lawrence River. My parents were both journalists, and my father and mother moved my brother and I to Spain when we were young so my father could write a mystery novel. My father read often, his favorite was Shakespeare, who he would read to us over the dinner table. My mother and I would write short stories together. She was the first person I shared my poems with.
Q: So, would you mind telling us what you have written so far?
In 1995 my book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then I have published twelve other books of poetry and seven collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Before the publication of Somewhere Falling I had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. My poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. In 2014 my chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. Then in 2015, my book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. More recently, my book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, my book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group).
Q: Where can we buy or see them?
Most of my books are available to buy in paperback and kindle on amazon:
US Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/allisongrayhurst
UK Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B001KIWQUS
People can also read most of them for free on Issuu at: https://issuu.com/allisongrayhurst
Q: What are you working on at the minute? What’s it about?
I am not working on anything right now. I am in a bit of a stasis right now. I am just writing poems or pieces of poems. I write longhand with a pen and tuck the paper in a drawer. I have about six months of writing, which I will eventually type in, and most of it I will throw out. I am not sure if any of it will amount to anything at this point.
Q: When did you decide to become a writer and why? What was the principal reason for taking up a pen (metaphorical speaking) and write that first sentence?
I never decided to be a writer/poet. It was actually one of the last things I wanted to be. For me, it wasn’t a choice, but an acceptance, which at almost 50 years old, I have mostly come to terms with.
Q: Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
When and how I write has changed over the years. I use to write in donut shops, then when walking. The early mornings have always been the most sacred and creative times for me. I am a full-time poet, because for me being a poet isn’t a career or job, it is just part of who I am, something I carry with me always.
Q: Where do your ideas come from? Or is it just the spur of the moment, a special feeling you experience or a specific conjuncture that offers you inspiration?
My inspiration comes from animals, children, people, trees, love, inner dread, spiritual longing – all of it ultimately, if it is worth anything, comes from God.
Q: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I don’t know, because it seems to always be evolving or changing. There are times when I feel very confident with creating and other times I feel like an amateur with no ability whatsoever. Writing poetry for me is not an intellectual endeavor and it is not purely emotional either. Those aspects are involved, but only secondary. It has always been for me an act of surrender - clearing myself to receive, trusting what I receive, and then recording it.
Q: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I proof read and edit all of my writing many times over. When I feel done, my husband Kyp Harness, singer/songwriter, author, and cartoonist reads it over, whose artist opinion I trust implicitly.
Q: Tell us about the covers of your books. How did it/they come about?
The first nine books I put out in 2012 were very clear visions I had for fifteen years before putting them out. I knew I wanted my sculptures on the covers and I knew which one I wanted on which book. The books I self-published since then were the same. They have all of my work in them that I want to share. I wouldn’t do it any other way.
Q: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I like self-publishing books with createspace as it gives me absolutely control over the look and content, as well as any changes I want to make at a later date. I also love that I can do it at my own pace, which is usually very quick. I have been published by publishers and often (not always) I have been at the mercy of their time-frame. The first book I got published took two years from when I started sending it out – a year to be accepted and another year before it was in print. The main drawback with self-publishing is that a larger publisher has the machinery in place to promote the book, get reviews and interviews which is lacking when self-publishing. As well, having a book published by an established publisher gives the author respect and credibility.
Q: Which famous persons, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Jesus, first, although he is alive now and I have met him.
Dostoyevsky, second, because he is my mentor.
Jane Goodall, third, because she is my hero.
Q: How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Allison-Grayhurst/e/B001KIWQUS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1343255960&sr=8-1
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
To bring joy to readers everywhere.