I know some people don’t think of street art as art at all, but trash: destruction of property, evidence of gangs. But where I live, in the foothills of Appalachia, a place of shuttered brick factories and an old insane asylum, a place of trailer doors kicked in for drug raids, of weeds and of rust—graffiti does not consist of gang signs so much as life signs, evidence of a searching consciousness, of a struggle. And where I live, graffiti is not plastered on active subway cars or cared-for houses so much as abandoned buildings, desolate alleys, places of neglect and waste and sorrow—places that are already scarred.
Alison Stine is the author of two books of poems: WAIT (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011), and OHIO VIOLENCE (University of North Texas Press, 2009). Her essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Better, Diagram, and Southern Humanities Review, and her nonfiction books have been finalists in the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Book Prize. She makes her home in Appalachia.