Photo by Dr. Marie Alohalani Brown
This week’s show features the poetry of Allison Adelle Hedge Coke from her improvisational sound art album, titled Streaming. This album showcases Kelvyn Bell on guitar and Laura Ortman on amplified violin joining her on a project she dubbed Rd Klā.
BIO: Allison Adelle Hedge Coke is an American Book Award-winning poet whose books include The Year of the Rat, Dog Road Woman, Off-Season City Pipe, Blood Run, Burn and Streaming as well as a memoir, Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer. She is the editor of the anthologies Sing: Poetry of the Indigenous Americas, Effigies, and Effigies II. Hedge Coke grew up in North Carolina, Texas, Canada, and the Great Plains region and is of Huron, Metis, French Canadian, Portuguese, English, Irish, Scot, and mixed Southeastern Native heritage. She is a poet, writer, and educator. She left school to work in the fields as a child and later attended North Carolina State University, Estelle Harmon’s Actor’s Workshop, Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics Summer Writing Program, and earned an AFAW in creative writing from the Institute for American Indian Arts, and an MFA from Vermont College. We were so fortunate to have her as our Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa, in 2014. You can connect with more of her work at her website, http://www.allisonhedgecoke.com/.
Inspiration + Method: When I asked Allison what inspires her work, she said, “I work with a combination of witnessing, temporal shifts, and musicality as techniques within my poetic. Both of these poems carry quite of bit of these elements. My process begins with the music, then tone, the content follows and is often an experiment in the making as the poem occurs, not unlike the Black Mountain Poets from NC, to a degree anyway.”
Playlist from Streaming
Note: Because the sound poetry I’m playing on this week’s show is available for purchase, I won’t be sharing it for free here as I normally do when authors do straightforward recordings of their works. The good news is that when you buy Streaming (Coffee House Press, 2014) and/or Burn (MadHat Press, 2017), you get the Rd Klā album download! The Streaming album is also available on iTunes and CD Baby.
- “The Last House Creeley Left”
- “Harp Strings” (coda)
Author’s Notes on These Tracks: “Last House Creeley Left” was written on residency at Marfa, Texas. When I was offered a residency I asked to stay where Creeley had last lived and promised to write something for him. I felt his presence would help me in my work there. Of the finished pieces, this tribute kicks off a much longer witness of the fires enraged on the desert scene during my stay, “Burn.” Creeley took me there in many ways. “He was a poet with ties in NC when I was a kid in NC. I met him several times in my emerging years. Sat in on his lectures. He was a necessary and wonderful presence in the poetry world. Many of us miss him still. That house is in a sacred state for a lot of reasons. His presence there was pretty incredible.
“Harp Strings” was written at HJ Andrews Experimental Forest. I came to a NSF/OSU sponsored think-tank of a field symposium called Dragonfly Eyes. I stayed on, witnessing old growth, considering ways of interpreting forest fire and multiple ways of seeing. Some hummingbirds were on the porch with me in the rain, reminding me of players on harp strings and it became apparent a palindrome was the measure of the witnessing and morning meditation.