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Local poet releases first book

By Laura Ray/For the Sentinel

MURRAY – Charley Allen-Dunn makes her literary debut today with a collection of original poetry entitled “The Scar It Leaves.” A native of Pottsville, Kentucky, Allen-Dunn attended Graves County High School and studied poetry at Murray State University. She now serves as the university’s director of web management and digital marketing.

When one winds up with a scar, there’s usually a story behind it. Such is the case here, as Allen-Dunn “chronicles the ways scars are created and reveals how we unlearn and re-learn the lessons derived from those scars,” according to local writer and fellow poet Constance Alexander.

Allen-Dunn’s new anthology captures the spirit of western Kentucky, evoking scenes of its rural beauty as well as cracks in its culture. A member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Allen-Dunn offers a unique perspective from an otherwise underrepresented demographic in the region. Her work also draws attention to issues that affect many in the area, namely, opioid addiction and the impact it has on families. 

“My hope is that it’s something people can connect with on some level, and that at least one of the poems resonates with their experiences in a way that helps them feel seen or not alone,” says Allen-Dunn. 

The book is available for purchase here. For those who cannot wait for the delivery, here is a little taste of what is to come:

There’s a poem in this place

There’s a poem in this place

where the crops roll green into the tree line,

where the ghost of a city rests beneath the lake,

where the storms take houses down past the studs,

where the factories shut down,

where the lightning cracks like a whip,

where the trees twist and turn around barbed wire,

where the people who leave don’t come back,

where the people who stay wear the past like shackles to their feet

There’s a poem in this place

where we grew up in shadows,

where the gospel bloomed like ragweed,

where the secrets sprouted like dandelions,

where the whispers always came after the smile,

where we learned loving wasn’t always right

There’s a poem in this place,

where the sky some days is a blue so pure it makes you forget,

where the sun sets so red-orange-purple it takes your breath to see it,

makes you want to reach out your hand to share it

but still believe it was meant only for you. 

The community is invited to attend Allen-Dunn’s book signing at the Murray Art Guild on Friday, Feb. 2, from 6-8 p.m.

Sentinel Staff

Jessica Paine
I’m Jessica Paine, founder of The Murray Sentinel. You may know me from my time as a citizen journalist, running the Calloway Covid-19 Count page on Facebook, or you may be familiar with my more recent work for another local news outlet. Being that I’m “from here,” you may have known me since I was “knee-high to a grasshopper,” although you knew me as Jessica Jones. But whether you know me or not, I’m glad you found your way here.


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