Wednesday, May 1, 2024






MAY 2024

NILAVRONILL: Welcome to Our Poetry Archive, dear poet. And congratulations as the poet of this month. I would like to know your personal views on literature or poetry in general.


ALLISON GRAYHURST:   I feel literature and poetry are art forms and also vehicles to express spiritual insight. All the great poets are prophets of the human condition. We’re privileged to take part in God’s creation and announce the spiritual reality behind the things we see and experience every day.


NILAVRONILL: What are the factors that have influenced you immensely in the growing phase of your literary life. When, most probably you were not certain of your future as a poet or writer. Do you think society as a whole is the key factor in shaping up you as a poet, or your poetry altogether?


ALLISON GRAYHURST: Great artists like Rilke, Dostoevsky, Plath, Nietzsche, Rodin, Pablo Neruda and others have influenced me in the shaping of my voice as a poet. I’m greatly inspired by the authenticity of the animal world as well. I’ve learned never to think of the future as a poet.  Society has only been a key factor in my evolution as an artist in that I’ve had to learn some hard lessons in trying to survive as an artist. The struggles society has imposed have certainly informed the content and emotions contained in my poetry, yet these struggles are not unique to me.


NILAVRONILL: Is there anyone in your life, influenced you personally to develop your literary skills? Or inspire you to become a poet?


ALLISON GRAYHURST:  My parents were journalists – a very different type of writing, but still writers. In terms of ongoing inspiration, my husband Kyp Harness is a great writer, both of songs and fiction (he’s published two novels). As for the inspiration to become a poet in the first place, life did that. I didn’t want to become a poet, and in fact I resisted it.  But life, inspiration, my spiritual beliefs, and my natural inclination made me a poet.


NILAVRONILL: Do you consider your literary life as an extension of your self-existence? If so, how it is related with the time around you?


ALLISON GRAYHURST: My literary life is one and the same as my self-existence.  I seek the purity of a poetry that arises naturally from one’s life.  It relates implicitly to the time around me because I am a person of this time – striving for the eternal.


NILAVRONILL: According to you, what are the conditions to develop the creative soul of a poet in general? We would like to know from your personal experiences.


ALLISON GRAYHURST: A poet can create in any conditions. All throughout time poets have created without there being an ideal condition set up for them. All that’s needed is time, a drive that presents as necessity, and perhaps silence.


NILAVRONILL: Do you think in this age of information and technology the dimensions of literature have been largely extended beyond our preconceived ideas about literature in general?


ALLISON GRAYHURST: There are many more places to get published online and the process of submitting has been made a great deal easier than when you had to pay for postage.  Beyond that, not much has changed – time is still the great editor and decides whose work lives on eternally.


NILAVRONILL: As a poet, do socio-economy and politics in general influence your literary visions? If so how, and if not, why?


ALLISON GRAYHURST: Certainly, much pain and spiritual struggle has come about because of politics and society, and that hardship – shared by everyone on the planet – has informed my poetry.  But as for them as subjects in themselves, they have very little interest to me.


NILAVRONILL: Do you consider, your national identity as an important factor to influence your literary creativity? Is your national identity an incentive for you to find your own literary voice?


ALLISON GRAYHURST: I am not a believer in nationalism, and like the subjects above, it only has tangential importance to my work.  My poetry comes from a place where we are all part of the same spiritual existence, the same universe, rather than being part of a place or a country. Saying that, I love feeling enveloped in the starkness, the raw, forgiving beauty that can happen on Canadian winter’s early morning.


NILAVRONILL: In between tradition and modernism, which one influence you most and why?


ALLISON GRAYHURST: They both influence me equally.  I would not be who I am without the writing of the past that I’ve read.  My poetry wouldn’t be what it is without being open to all the influences of modernism any artist of her time must be.  The content of my work is informed by tradition; the style of it by modernism.


NILAVRONILL: Do you think honest literary criticism has much to do with the development of a poet and the true understanding of his or her poetry?


ALLISON GRAYHURST: Ultimately, we aren’t justified or validated by criticism or outward forces.  That can only happen within.


NILAVRONILL: I would like to know, whether your contemporaries inspire your writings in any way.


ALLISON GRAYHURST: No. In fact, I have delved further into the past where I have found my most recent literary inspiration – to Homer’s The Iliad - the first breath and fire of western literature.


NILAVRONILL: Do you believe, literature can eventually help people to uplift human conscience?


ALLISON GRAYHURST: I believe literature can help people to uplift human conscience – whether it will or not is a different matter.  There’s no doubt that inspired literature written in a pure way can, has, and always will uplift humanity.  The question is: to what degree?  So far, not enough – and that’s the human condition.  I also think writing literature that tries to uplift humanity is the quickest way to get literature that doesn’t uplift humanity.


NILAVRONILL: Humanity has suffered immensely in the past, and is still suffering around the world. We all know it well. As a poet or even as a literary person, how do you foresee the future of mankind?


ALLISON GRAYHURST: As I said, a poet doesn’t think about the future – only the present moment.  But I think to see the future you have to study the past. As well, I think it’s far too late in history to be using the term ‘mankind’ to refer to humanity.  ‘Humankind’, as used by Gorbachev, is much more appropriate.


NILAVRONILL: We are almost at the end of the interview. I remain obliged to you for your participation. Now, personally I would like to know your honest opinion about Our Poetry Archive. Since April 2015 we are publishing and archiving contemporary world poetry each and every month. Thank you for sharing your views and spending much time with us.


ALLISON GRAYHURST: I think highly of Our Poetry Archive, and greatly appreciate that all my work submitted has always been published. I am honoured to be chosen as the Poet of the Month. Thank you for this interview and for including my work.


Allison Grayhurst has been nominated for “Best of the Net” five times. She has over 1400 poems published in over 530 international journals, including translations of her work. She has 25 published books of poetry and 6 chapbooks. She is an ethical vegan and lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay;


No comments :

Post a Comment