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bonnie macallister portrait on

p o e m s

:  b o n n i e   m a c a l l i s t e r

elegy of a bend

synchronicity of a tangent

in tone nation


déjeuner sur l'herbe

the future starts here?

"I still haven’t told my stories to myself," Bonnie MacAllister titters in her machine-gun-like laugh. "I have always felt the renegade. My undergrad senior thesis at Albright College in Reading (Pennsylvania) was a deconstructed, transgressional analysis of Kathy Acker. I identified with her and Antonin Artaud. It didn’t matter to me that I graduated suma cum laude.

"I thrive on breaking diction and syntax patterns into atomic bits. I emphasize the seedy underbelly, the oft neglected components. I unfasten them and relegate them into something else.

"I’ve been performing at poetry readings since the age of thirteen. I was the little girl at whom people gaped, wondering how those syllables could possibly fall from her tongue. I was fearless—I walked up to the older, more experienced poets and tried to elicit meaning from them. Then I generated my own illicit meanderings and maintained my place there, all the time lurking on the periphery. "

At the age of 17, MacAllister won her first poetry slam at The Great New Hope Poetry Slam at Karla's Restaurant, in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Since then she has won five US slams and one in Paris, France when she was a post-graduate student in Women’s Studies and Cinéma at l’Université de Paris, Sorbonne in 1997. She has been a featured reader at over forty venues including Robin's Bookstore, Berks Bardfest (a month long celebration in Pennsylvania), Princeton University cabarets, le Cat Cat Club (Paris), and Albright College post-graduation. Most recently she has read in the Verve series at the Friends' Center and during the Philadelphia Fringe Festival at the Philadelphia Ethical Society.

Her documentary and non-narrative films have appeared at Berks Filmmakers Festival, Fleisher Arts Memorial, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has collaborated on pieces that have appeared on WYBE and WHYY and which have won awards at the Columbus Film Festival and the National Muse Awards through her production work with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

A self-taught oil painter, MacAllister depicts the images she cannot render in verse or in prose, "I create clitoral/literal landscapes in abstraction—sometimes it is an image of an unexpected flower bed at Alcatraz, a window in illuminated aluminum. Often times, the poems form the soundtracks."

MacAllister maintains membership to the Underground Literary Alliance and the Women's Caucus for Art. She is currently the Arts & Society Managing Editor for

[ portrait : steven holland ]


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