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Allison Seay

Poetry has always been a dreaded subject of mine but after reading Allison Seay’s collection of poems, To See the Queen, I have never been more inspired. ‘Room of Held Breath’ was one of the many poems I could not help but read again and again. I must have read the collection in its entirety over two or three times and each time I found myself stunned by her words. Sometimes I even found my jaw embarrassingly dropped, having to take my locked eyes off the page to close my mouth and see who might have been watching.

Seay has a true gift of twisting one’s interpersonal sadness into beauty. In ‘Room of Held Breath’ she writes eleven lines to conjure a lifetime’s coming of age, pinpointing the first step out of innocence and into awareness (although we are completely unaware of this beautiful curse at the time).  “It was the last summer we were young–artless, afloat,/ our eyes like opals./And then the world’s beautiful torture began–/ the resurface, the sting, the coming/ back gasping, mouth-high in love.”  The thing I think is most beautiful, yet devastating, is that this event is provoked by a young girl’s first love. That first love is just the beginning of a lifetime full of relationships, but it is the end of so much more, because once you have felt what is it like to be in love, you are forever doomed with that unexplainable feeling.

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