A Poetry Collection of Authentic Expression
Author: Allie Gravitt
Are the things that break us also the things that free us? I’ve thought about this notion before. After reading Allie Gravitt’s collection, Prisonbreaks, the answer is obvious: YES. Allie’s short, bittersweet, and to-the-point poetry debut is broken into two sections- Incarcerations and Emancipations- alongside illustrations by the author to provide an added experience.
“Working harder/ Burned through my years/ It took too long/ To find another way,” Allie writes to her audience in one of the very first poems entitled “Divergence.”
I read these lines, and I see a woman on overdrive without knowing when to hit the breaks, fearful it may be too late. I feel the defeating uncertainty of that woman- because she is me. That is the magnificence of poetry: it connects us. Allie’s honesty runs deep beyond her soul on the page and to her readers through shared human experience.
“Like a tree in the storm,/ your branches bend under my weight/ Maybe it’s only a matter of time/ Before you’re uprooted.” In her poem “Collateral Damage,” Allie establishes pacing with her imagery that keeps us on the journey with her across intense metaphor.
While there are moments of confusion, there is clarity in the knowing- even the parts of ourselves we rarely pride. She exerts this theme effortlessly, showing readers that there is strength to be credited just in admitting the “raw moments in our lives where we cannot figure out what the next right thing could be,” as she mentions in her introduction.
As I read on to the second half of the book, Allie’s poem “Canceled” questions, “What does your truth say?/ Does it look like mine?”
Oh, such poignant questions asked while explore the mind of a woman who knows the only way to reach past “the hurts that have gone unhealed” is to reveal all its forms. There is no healing without seeing. Many times we will not like what we see- or know what we see. But how do we break free?
I feel confident that the conjuring of thought that rests on the forefront of my mind while engrossed in Allie’s poetry is not my sole experience. Her words are universal for women who, like Allie, felt forced into reflection through the slow-down and fear of the pandemic. Streams of consciousness run rampant within the pages of Prisonbreaks; some pieces were harder to swallow than others.
There are poems like “Saturn Spins,” however, where Allie gives us every pocket of the light within her heart that she sees- through the eyes of her children.
“So I wake with you/ And talk about Jupiter’s moon/ Finding our moments/ And learning our space/ A universe icy and burning and new.”
There is not much more comforting than a mother who knows that while this world is cold, uncovering moments with her child will relay the warmth she needs to see another morning. “She was/ Voices and words and pain/ love and rage and shame/ anyway,” is how Allie wraps up her collection in her closing piece, “Anyway.” However, Allie’s elements have far greater of an impact than just the descriptors she uses here. She is a tone of the frank vulnerability that we have so much potential to grow through if we let it see the light of day.
I was fortunate enough to get to know Allie as she prepared to release this book, having found her through a community she is building for moms who write. I feel pride holding this collection in my hands and gratitude for being let into her world in this way. What Allie Gravitt will do next is sure to be nothing short of authentic expressiveness, as she has so well encapsulated in Prisonbreaks.
CEO, Our Galaxy Publishing
More on Allie Gravitt:
Purchase Allie’s debut poetry book here.
Follow Allie’s Journey on Instagram by clicking here.
Check out Allie’s website for more of her content here.
Find out more about Our Galaxy Publishing here.