Allison Hedge Coke, renowned American poet and literary activist, will be the first guest for the relaunched Center for Poets and Writers at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa on Nov. 9.
The reading begins at 7 p.m. at the Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 N. Greenwood Ave. The event is free and open to the public.
As a woman of Cherokee, Creek, Huron, Metis, French Canadian, Lorraine, Portuguese, Irish, English and Scottish heritage, Hedge Coke addresses issues of indigenous rights, the environment, peace, culture and prejudice through her poetry and other works.
“We wanted to set the bar high for the re-introduction of the Center for Poets and Writers and I think we have accomplished that with poet Allison Hedge Coke,” said Dr. Lindsey Claire Smith, OSU associate professor of English and interim director of the Center of Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa. “As a poet and an instructor, she understands the vision of the Center for Poets and Writers to interact with the community and enhance writing education in schools.”
The Center for Poets and Writers is being relaunched in keeping with the OSU-Tulsa’s land-grant mission of community outreach. The goal is to provide opportunities for writers to develop their craft and to strengthen partnerships with local arts and humanities organizations.
‘An Evening with Allison Hedge Coke’ is sponsored by the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa, the Tulsa Artist Fellowship, the American Indian Quarterly and the Oklahoma Indigenous Studies Alliance.
Hedge Coke is the 2016 Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellow and author of four collections of poetry, including Streaming, Blood Run, Off-Season City Pipe, Dog Road Woman, The Year of the Rat and the memoir Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer. She is the recipient of the American Book Award, an Independent Publisher Book Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.
She has won prestigious fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the MacDowell Colony for the Arts, the Lannan Foundation, the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities and has held endowed chairs at the University of Nebraska and Naropa University.
She was Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and is a founding faculty member of the Vermont College of Fine Arts Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Publishing program. She also served as Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California at Riverside and was most recently a mentor for Oklahoma City University’s Red Earth Master of Fine Arts degree program.
Currently, she is director of an oral history film Red Dust: Resiliency in the Dirty Thirties, which explores the experience of Native Dust Bowl survivors and their resilience in dealing with past climate change.
Hedge Coke’s acclaimed poem, America, I Sing You Back, was inspired by her father, Robert Hedge Coke, and poets Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes.
Free parking will be readily available at Greenwood Cultural Center, which is adjacent to OSU-Tulsa.