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
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
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
[ portrait : steven holland ]