The Chills at Will Podcast podcast

Episode 151 with Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, National Book Award Nominee for Poetry for Look at This Blue and Renaissance Woman

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Episode 151 Notes and Links to Allison Hedge Coke’s Work 


   On Episode 151 of The Chills at Will Podcast, Pete welcomes Allison Hedge Coke, and the two discuss, among other topics, her multiracial and multiethnic and multilingual upbringing, wise words and inspiration from her family, her life of art and creativity, California as her muse, holding California to account, ideas of stewardship and environmental care, and the incredible inspirations and circumstances that brought her award-winning poetry to the world.

   Allison Adelle Hedge Coke's previous poetry books include The Year of the Rat, Dog Road Woman, Off-Season City Pipe, Blood Run, Burn, Streaming as well as a memoir, Rock Ghost, Willow, Deer. She is the editor of the anthologies Sing: Poetry of the Indigenous Americas, Effigies, Effigies II, and Effigies II and is a Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Riverside. Hedge Coke came of age working fields, factories, and waters and is currently at work on a film, Red Dust: resiliency in the dirty thirties, a new CD, and new poems.

Buy Look at This Blue


Allison Hedge Coke's Website


Allison Hedge Coke's Wikipedia Page


National Book Awards Description for Look at This Blue







At about 7:30, Allison discusses her busy and exciting upcoming weeks that include a Georgia poetry circuit and the National Book Awards, where she’s nominated for 


At about 9:20, Allison discusses her experiences with languages and reading and writing as a kid; she discusses her father’s and family’s great pride in their lineages 


At about 13:45, Allison relays a telling anecdote about her son and his crayons that speaks to the multilingual extended family from which she comes


At about 16:20, Pete reads from the beginning chapter of Allison’s memoir and Allison expands on lessons learned from those times and from her mother and father


At about 18:50, Pete notes Allison lifelong devotion to art, and she talks about her family’s background and about what it means to create for her in her traditions 


At about 20:25, Allison recounts the amazing story of writing Look at this Blue in Montenegro in a stunningly short period of time


At about 22:00, Allison describes her first encounters with California in 1980 and then future time spent in CA 


At about 26:05, Pete cites the wonderful blurbs from wonderful writers for Allison’s collection; she defines it as an “assemblage” and talks about the assemblage in connection to jazz and other music 


At about 28:00, Pete and Allison discuss the poetry’s connection to “blue,” and blue’s myriad meanings and connection to longing and fado and saudade (Pete’s obsession)


At about 30:40, Pete shares the possibly apocryphal story of Garcia Marquez’s writing a masterpiece 


At about 31:00, Allison expands upon the title’s meanings 


At about 31:45, Allison responds to Pete wondering about “catharsis” upon writing about such personal and emotional work


At about 34:00, The two meditate on parenthood and influences on children 


At about 36:00, The two discuss memory and perspective, and Pete cites the book’s epigraph 


At about 37:10, Pete provides a book summary and details the historical and personal  


At about 38:15, Allison reads from the book regarding the Xerces blue butterfly and links its story to that of California and its abuses, excesses, and displacement 


At about 43:00, Allison reads from the Prelude


At about 45:45, Allison recounts a bonkers story (adapted for the book) about the INS and her mother


At about 48:30, The two talk about extinctions, displacements, and endangerment featured in the book


At about 51:40, Allison talks about being stewards for the environment 


At about 53:15, The two detail connections made in the book to events both historical and modern and themes like racism and homophobia 


At about 54:20, Pete discusses “let” and “love” as depicted in the book

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   Please tune in for Episode 152 with Tommy Dean, author of a flash fiction chapbook, Special Like the People on TV from and the Editor at Fractured Lit; “You’ve Stopped” was included in Best Microfiction 2019. 

   The episode with this flash fiction writer extraordinaire will air on November 15.

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