Allison Seay has published poems in Harvard Review, Mississippi Review, Poetry, and other jourrnals, and is the recipient of fellowships from the Ruth Lilly Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.
In her debut collection, Allison Seay portrays a world fraught with the powers of its own harrowing imagination—a world intermittently real and imaginary, with unforgettable characters conjured subliminally as a young woman's saviors from a deathly sadness. Achingly personal, To See the Queen describes one woman's psychological wilderness, then blesses us with the story of its population, regrowth, and ultimate transcendence. Seay's poems "do not shy away from anything" (Robert Wrigley, Quarter After Eight: A Journal of Experimental Writing); their publication marks the appearance of an illuminating poetic spirit.
"Inhabiting the poems in To See the Queen, Allison Seay's haunting, spectacular debut, is a voice in communion—magically intimate and distant—with an other that sometimes takes the form of a specter-like Liliana, sometimes God, sometimes 'the sadness,' and sometimes the part-entity, part-figure she calls 'the figment.' The rooms and towns that make up this volume's landscape reflect an ordering of pain, the aftermath of emotional trauma, and contain quintessential expressions of despair, which Seay makes entrancing and beautiful. Even when the world seems 'too far away to touch, or is as a fantasy,' Seay recreates it so that it 'returns in a different form—this time as an avalanche, a ledge of snow, slipping / from the roof of a warehouse into even more snow.'"