The Shoemaker’s Tale
When Mark Ari unlocked his mother’s womb, he fell to soft vinyl where he lived under another name and the kitchen table. Women with round faces bent down to pinch his cheeks. Grandpa made Egyptian poses on the landing at the top of the stairs, nodding and winking and making a great show of brushing back invisible hair with his fingers. Mother opened her mouth and sighed: ah-ah-ah-ah.
By the time the leaves on the trees were dry and beautiful—orange and cream and chocolate—he planted his feet, and the world got littler. He did not notice. Then he did, and when he did, he could read French and Spanish but spoke only a stutter of English. So, he made shapes with his lips and stenciled words on the air. This has made all the difference
Mark Ari was born in Brooklyn and now lives on the edge of the sea between Jacksonville and the Ancient City. This is his website.
Ari is editor and producer of EAT, a publisher of digital albums and audio chapbooks, including various series: EAT Poems, EAT Flash, EAT Song, and EAT Specials.
Ari and students from his Fiction Workshop at the University of North Florida founded Flock, a literary journal originally called Fiction Fix. He continues to serve the journal as Creative Nonfiction Editor and Editorial Advisor. He also advises the student-run journal, Talon Review.
Ari publishes fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, music journalism, and hybrid works. He’s the author of The Shoemaker’s Tale, a novel (Zephyr Press), as well as the poetry chapbook, Bloodshot and Blue (Stony Brook Free Press) and Death-foot Ha! Ha!, a chapbook of writings and drawings.
As a performing singer-songwriter, Ari has appeared in venues through the United States and internationally. He wrote and performed three one-man shows: Flatbush Serenade (premiered at the Maryland theater in Hagerstown, MD), Blue Babies (premiered at the Paramount Theater, NYC,” and Songs for the Waste Laboratory, commissioned by The Living Theater (premiered at The Living Theater, NYC.)
Ari has been an active visual artist for decades, exhibiting work in group and solo shows, including at Westbeth Gallery (NYC), Broome Street Gallery (NYC), Southern Vermont Art Center (Manchester Vermont) El Jueves Gallery (Seville, Spain), Giralda Center (Seville, Spain), Gallerie La Pantographe (Lyon, France), Museum of Contemporary Art (Jacksonville, Florida).
Ari received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony (3X), Ragdale Foundation (2X), Fundacion Valparaiso, Ucross Foundation and, most recently, from the Hermitage Artists Retreat).
Asst. Professor and Coordinator of Creative Writing at the University of North Florida, Ari won the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (2019, 2013, 2009, and 2006), Outstanding Service Award (2016), the Professor Empowerment Award from the Disability Resource Center (2012, 2011), and a Distinguished Advisor Award (2003).