Ali Jane Smith

Ali Jane Smith’s first poetry collection, Gala was published in 2006 as part of the Five Islands Press New Poets Program. Her work has appeared in journals such as Southerly, Cordite, and Famous Reporter. She has recorded readings for audio Cd and performed in schools, universities, pubs, cafes, shopping malls and festivals.  She is the Director of the South Coast Writers Centre.





Poems as Dolly Parton: A real live Dolly


Up close you can see

the texture of my skin.

The smile that was always mine

the eyes full of thoughts

of you and the other people

I care for. Of the world

and what can be done.


If you take my hand it will be

the hand that you know.

The touch that you have grown

used to and never grown used to.


The voice most of all

shows the things that change

and never change

like a long, long love affair.


It’s easy to hear what’s been lost:

the range, the clarity, but

in my voice now you’ll hear

all the joyous moments

inspired thoughts, desolate

hours, true griefs, and loving gestures

you have known.




Poems as Dolly Parton: Only Dolly Parton album you’ll ever need


I know you love

the dirt-poor dreaming girl

who lets you forget

the hours and pains in

writing, singing, playing, looking pretty.

The show that lets you forget the business.


I know you like the stories.

You like my heartbroken women.

My happy singing women. My ruined

but still hopeful

lost and longing never despairing

picked up and dusted off

women who know the cold truth and carry it

alongside warm hopefulness.


You look at me as I

smile out at you from your tv

a photograph or the stage

when I sing and laugh and let you see

a glistening tear that doesn’t spill.


You want me to mend

your hurts and forgive.

To see the good in you, but

the pain and cruelty as well.

To know

and still love you.