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Visiting Scholar Allison Hedge Coke to Read Works at Wayne State College

 

WAYNE, Neb. (Sept. 10, 2008) - Visiting scholar Allison Hedge Coke will present a reading at 2 p.m. Sept. 16 in the Humanities Building student lounge at Wayne State College. While at WSC, Prof. Hedge Coke will visit classes and present a public reading of her poetry.

 

Her books include: Dog Road Woman, American Book Award, Coffee House Press, 1997; The Year of the Rat, chapbook, Grimes Press, 2000; Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival, University of Nebraska Press, 2004; Off-Season City Pipe, Wordcraft Writer of the Year for Poetry, Coffee House Press, 2005; Blood Run, Wordcraft Writer of the Year for Poetry, Salt Publications, UK 2006-US 2007; and To Topos Ahani: Indigenous American Poetry, Oregon State University, 2007.

 

Of her book Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival, Booklist has written: "This is a harrowing book. Statistics about alcoholism and family violence among dispossessed American Indians fail to show the sheer human suffering it causes and the personal heroism of those who struggle through to an integrated life. Prof. Hedge Coke writes in a stately, unashamed manner of beatings and binges, always connecting her personal sufferings to the larger questions of how Indian people can reclaim their cultural and personal pride and authority."

 

Poet Joy Harjo has said, "What I've always admired about Allison Hedge Coke's poetry is her astounding courage. And the ability to seamlessly weave the tobacco fields of childhood with the stark plains and hills of South Dakota. And more than all that-the shining spirit of compassion."

 

Hedge Coke is a MacDowell, Black Earth Institute Think-Tank, Hawthornden Castle, and Center for Great Plains Research Fellow, and holds the Distinguished Paul W. Reynolds and Clarice Kingston Reynolds Endowed Chair in English as an Associate Professor of Poetry and Writing at the University of Nebraska, Kearney. She is a core faculty in the University of Nebraska MFA Program and Visiting Faulty of the MFA Intensive Programs at University of California, Palm Desert and Naropa University.

 

She has won the Naropa Poetry Prize; the New Mexico Press Women's Creative Writing Award and several South Dakota Arts Council fellowships and awards. An excellence in literary arts Mayor's Award winner, she has also earned two Community Foundation excellence in teaching awards; the King-Chavez-Parks Excellence in Teaching Award; and the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers National Mentor of the Year award. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts project award to support her directorship of a Writers Voice Program. She has served as a director for the American Indian Registry of Performing Arts and worked as an area coordinator for California Poets in the Schools.

 

Her volunteer work has served students of writing in all age groups and includes service on boards overseeing arts in education, educational and literary arts programs. She taught in K-12 for years and was instrumental in initiating a Native Studies program at Kilian College and the WINGS program (mentoring formerly incarcerated juveniles returning to high school) in northern Sioux Falls.

 

In the summers of 2005 and 2007, she performed in the world's largest poetry festival in Medellin, Colombia; in 2006 as the only woman poet from the United States to perform in the World Poetry Festival in Venezuela; and in fall of 2007 she will perform as the only United States poet in the Rosario International Festival of Poetry in Argentina.

 

A speaker at the United Nations, she has participated in the United Nations Women's Peacekeeping effort. She is Cherokee (Tsalagi), Huron (Wendat), French Canadian, Metis, Creek, English, Irish, French, and Portuguese.

 

For more information, please contact Gretchen Ronnow at 402-375-7097.

 

 

 

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