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.