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Native American poet and filmmaker Allison Hedge Coke to present at UHMC

By Staff | Feb 20, 2020

A distinguished professor at the University of California at Riverside, Hedge Coke is of mixed indigenous and European ethnicity, and many of her writings powerfully explore her heritage and coming of age working in fields, factories and waters.

KAHULUI – Award-winning poet, writer, editor and filmmaker Allison Hedge Coke will be reading and speaking in a series of public events as the Spring 2020 Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals.

Hedge Coke will present a reading and talk at the University of Hawaii Maui College. Titled “Measuring Up,” she will discuss a moment for understanding our measure in life through contemplation, dedication, active living and application of creative ways in balancing innovation and activism.

Free and open to the public, the event is set for Thursday, Feb. 20, at 6:30 p.m. in UHMC ‘Ike Le’a 144. Free parking is available on campus.

Hedge Coke’s books include poetry collections “Year of the Rat” (1993, 1996), “Dog Road Woman” (1997), “Off-Season City Pipe” (2005), “Blood Run” (2007), “Streaming” (2014) and “Burn” (2017); a memoir, “Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer” (2014); an animated poem; and a play, “Icicles.”

As an editor, her works include “Ahani: ToTopos” (2006), “Sing: Poetry of the Indigenous Americas” (2011), “Effigies” (2009) and “Effigies II” (2014), and “Effigies III” (2019).

She most recently guest-edited World Literature Today (Autumn 2019).

University of Hawaii Associate Professor Brandy Nalani McDougall, originally from Kula, describes Hedge Coke as “among the most important environmental and social justice poets, thinkers and activists of our time.”

“Her literary contributions of poetry and other writings and documentary filmmaking over the past 25 years, as well as her work to create spaces for marginalized voices and to protect plants, animals and sacred sites, have been tremendous both in scope and impact. Our communities will gain so much from her being here and sharing her thoughtful, generous and healing work.”

Hedge Coke and McDougall are co-teaching Indigenous Lands and Waters at UH Manoa this semester.

Recent honors include an honorary credential from China for Excellence in Foreign Poetry, the First Jade Nurtured SiHui Female International Poet (2018), a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native Writers Circle of the Americas (2017), the Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellow (2016), and Distinguished Writer in Residence at UH Manoa (2014).

Current projects include a film, “Red Dust: Resiliency in the dirty thirties,” a new CD, a VA NCA Legacy Program-sponsored community project called Among the Chaparral, new poems and prose.

In addition to her presentation Thursday evening, Hedge Coke will also be leading a writing workshop with students at UH Maui College called “Writing the Beautiful and the Horrendous.”

For more information, contact Jocelyn Romero Demirbag of the University of Hawaii Foundation at 984-3471.

Established in 2005 by the UH Board of Regents, the Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals brings significant figures to Hawaii to foster public discourse regarding democratic ideals and civic engagement.

The program honors U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and his wife, Maggie, for their lifetime of public service.

The chair is housed in the Department of American Studies in the College of Arts and Humanities and the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Manoa.