Interviews with Six Native Women Writers, Part 1: Allison Hedge Coke & Arigon Starr

November 27, 2017

On October 9, 2017, World Literature Today sat down with six writers (in three groups of two) during the 25th anniversary “Returning the Gift: Native & Indigenous Literary Festival” held that week at the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus. The theme for the festival was “Gathering at Our Headwaters,” and water was a prominent element in the May 2017 “New Native Writing” issue of WLT, to which all six authors contributed. 

We’ll run all three interviews over the next few months. The first two writers featured in the series are Allison Hedge Coke and Arigon Starr.

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s books include The Year of the Rat; Dog Road Woman; Off-Season City Pipe; Blood Run; Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas; Effigies I & II; Rock, Ghost Willow, Deer; Burn; and Streaming. Awards include an American Book Award, a King-Chavez-Parks Award, an NWCA Lifetime Achievement Award, and a 2016 Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship. She directs the Literary Sandhill CraneFest in Nebraska and is currently Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. Her essay “Streaming” was featured as part of the Puterbaugh Essay series in the May 2017 issue.

An enrolled member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, Arigon Starr is an award-winning musician, actor, playwright, and artist. Super Indian, which began as a radio comedy series, became a web comic, then printed graphic novels. A 2017 Tulsa Artist Fellow, she’s based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Vital Kinships,” her interview with Susan Bernardin and Eric Gansworth, appears in the May 2017 issue.

Amanda Elvira Cuellar is a PhD student in the Department of English at the University of Oklahoma, studying with Dr. Kimberly Wieser. Her dissertation focuses on the work of Gloria Anzaldúa.