Alli-March 2019-by Thomas Calder-1

Photo by Thomas Calder

Alli Marshall is a poet, fiction writer, and performer. She’s interested in moving writing beyond the page, seeking the golden in the mundane, finding the intersection of art and social justice, and reconnecting with mythology — both ancient and modern.

Learn more about Alli here.

Impossible meetups (a tanka series)

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 3.01.42 PMEvery day I get an email from Meetup.com suggesting a new group I might want to join. Young Republicans. Future Farmers. Martial artists and stay-at-home moms and people considering becoming travel agents (is that even a thing any more?). None of them are my tribe. Meetup’s web-tracking technology clearly has room for improvement.

But the absurdity of the suggestions has inspired a tanka (a poetic form related to haiku) series. The titles are the actual meetup group names and first line or two of each tanka is taken from or inspired by that particular meetup’s description. Here’s the first installment:

WARRIORSAGE DOJO
WarriorSages
keep one foot planted in the
material world.
It’s a delicate balance:
meditate or masturbate. Continue reading

The songs of gentrification and capitalism and ghosts and loss

This is a poem I’ve been working on for a couple of months. It names a number of Asheville, N.C.-based landmarks, characters, and artists, but my hope is there’s something of the universal. So many of us are witnessing the loss of our communities to the juggernaut of development and wealth, neither of which ever do much to forward the arts or the creative culture.

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The Merle performing at Vincent’s Ear.

THE GHOST OF GAVRA LYNN

The man took the temperature
of this neighborhood and decided
in his boardroom that, yes, it’s time
to capitalize on what the artists

built. The ambiance of ingenuity mined
from the rubble. Construct a hotel
to tower over the coffee shops and dive
bars, over the thrift stores and book stores, over Continue reading

WOLF’S CLOTHING

wolf's clothing

Image from Pinterest. No artist attributed.

It’s been a terrible week of world news. Terrorist attacks on a mosque in New Zealand, Israel launching air strikes at Palestinians in Gaza, a plane crash, refugees denied asylum at the U.S. border. I feel the heaviness and also I know I’m okay. I’m infinitely blessed and comfortable. I know this, but it doesn’t make me happy in light of the greater global sorrows. This poem, I hope, speaks to that. It’s personal. It’s a microchosm. But it’s also about the larger collective effort of rising and staking claim.

 

LAMBING SEASON

What do I know of triumph, anyway? I
spent the summer sweating in
an oversized sweatshirt to hide
the shame of my traitorous torso
when I should have flown
my name like a banner, like a kite — not
a child’s toy, but a bird of prey. This Continue reading

THE RECLAIMED HYMNAL

Inspired a ukulele made from repurposed church pews by the artist Zeke Leonard at Pentaculum 2019 — a craft and writing residency at Arrowmont School.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo by Dan “Soybean” Sawyer

Say an instrument is born with all of its songs
intact, DNA in the material from which
it’s forged. A ukulele fashioned from repurposed
church pews, the wood still holding ghosts Continue reading

Dec. 5 reading event

Culminating my year as the UNC Asheville Ramsey Library Community Author Award recipient, I will be giving a reading on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 6-7 p.m. Local musician Heather Taylor will accompany me. There will be snacks.

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Photo Adam Taylor

Much of the work I’ve been focused on for the past year has been around themes of women’s wisdom, the mythology and archetypes of femme-identifying people, and social justice. I’ll be sharing pieces from a collection about the Oracle of Delphi (and my contemporary interpretation of that phenomenon) as well as a new piece that seeks to weave the mythology of the Appalachian/Cherokee Wampus Cat with that of the 16th century Mayan jaguar goddess Ixchel. There will likely be an f-bomb or three.

More details here.