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Book cover of poetry book Dream Interrupted by poet Ashley Kuhn with a bird on that cover at night

Twenty years
of poetry

In her debut poetry collection, Ashley Kay offers an authentic and accessible glimpse into two decades of introspection. With evocative and elegant language, her words resonate, exploring themes of innocence, shadows, identity, and growth. Delve into life's struggles and exquisite beauty through Kay's captivating reflections in Dream Interrupted.

Praise for Dream Interrupted

Through beautifully crafted poems, Ashley Kay dives into her inner unconscious world to blossom into a world of nature. A must-read!

-Victor Velez, author of The Triduum of All Hallows and A Quest for Answers: A Personal Journey

Ashley Kay deftly employs archetypes to filter poetic themes into an intriguing collection. In Dream Interrupted, the poet explores self-knowledge through Jung’s prism that can “melt down the shards into the shape of a kite.” A concrete poem constructed in the circle of a python devouring its own tail is echoed later in a section about wisdom— “At last light swallowed, the powers sit satisfied and say, All be well, silent, and dark.” Water imagery, wordplay, and short forms render well-crafted verse into “…watercolors bleeding at the edges, focused and effortless.”

-Roberta Schultz, author of Asking Price and Underscore

Author's Note

These poems span two decades of my life, from around the age of eighteen to thirty-eight.

Each section of the book is represented by an archetype, depicting an aspect of my psyche or experience. Carl Jung described archetypes as universal symbols or patterns residing in the collective unconscious of humanity. While the scientific merit of this concept is debated, I noticed distinct voices developing as I sifted and sorted through twenty years of poems. After a few years of reflection, revision, and more contemplation, six archetypes and thirty-nine poems emerged.


The nature child symbolizes innocence, hope, and connection with the natural world. This section contains poems that evoke a sense of whimsy, a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature, and authenticity.

The shadow represents the darker and hidden aspects of the self. The poems within this section explore themes of shame, addiction, and body image.


The lover embodies themes of passion, romance, and the intensity of emotional connections. This section contains poems that delve into love, desire, heartbreak, and the complexities of intimate relationships.

The persona reflects the masks or roles we adopt in society. This section contains poems that explore themes of identity, self-discovery, and acceptance.


The wise old man represents wisdom, insight, and the accumulation of life experience. This section contains poems that reflect on the passage of time, mortality, grief, and other hard realities.


Lastly, the great mother symbolizes nurturing and the life-giving force of nature. This section explores the idea of nature as a mother, celebrates life cycles and growth, and considers other mother figures.


I do not propose to speak to the entirety of the human experience, which is varied beyond my knowing. As you read, I invite you to reflect on the themes and frameworks of your own life. May these poems accompany you along the way.

-Ashley Kay

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