“El bilingüismo en el proceso de creación literaria”
Por ICARO -
Thursday, Sep. 27, 2007 at 3:02 PM
Festival de Poesía - ICARO
Instituto de Artes Contemporáneas de Rosario
invita en el marco del
XV FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE POESÍA
a un encuentro de reflexión en torno a
“El bilingüismo en el proceso de creación literaria”
con la participación de
la poeta Allison Hedge Coke (EEUU, Nación cherokee)
y el poeta Humberto Ak'abal (Guatemala, maya-k'iche')
Miércoles 3 de octubre
Entrada libre y gratuita
1 de Mayo 1117 – Casa 2
Humberto Ak’ Abal nació en Momostenango, Guatemala en 1952. Es poeta de la etnia Maya K’iche. Piensa y escribe sus poemas en lengua K’iché y los traduce al español. Publicó tres libros de poemas. Su última obra Retoño Salvaje fue traducida al francés y al inglés. Dice de él Francisco Morales Santos: La poesía de Ak’ Abal es fuerte, toda vez que entre ésta y la vida no existe límite alguno.
Otras de sus obras: Ajyuq’ El animalero (1990), Guardián de la caída de agua (1993), Hojas del árbol pajarero (1995), Lluvia de luna en la cipresalada (1996) y Ajkem Tzij . Tejedor de palabras (1996).
Y nadie nos ve
La llama de nuestra sangre arde
A pesar del viento de los siglos.
Miseria con alma,
¡Ay, quiero llorar a gritos!
Las tierras que nos dejan
Son las laderas,
Los aguaceros poco a poco las lavan
Y las arrastran a las planadas
Que ya no son de nosotros.
Y aquí estamos
Parados a la orilla de los caminos
Con la mirada rota por una lágrima…
Y nadie nos ve.
Allison Hedge Coke (EE UU, Nación Cherokee)
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke ha publicado tres libros de poesía: Dog Road Woman (que recibió el American Book Award), y Off-Season City Pipe (que recibió el Wordcraft Writer of the Year Award), ambos editados por Coffee House Press; Blood Run,(una obra en verso libre que se relaciona con un sitio de túmulos indígenas), de Salt Publications (Reino Unido); un largo poema autobiográfico, The Year of the Rat; y un libro de memorias, Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer (elegido por la AIROS Book of the Month Selection), publicado por la University of Nebraska Press.
Hedge Coke a editado seis libros de poesía y literatura, que incluyen varios volúmenes de nuevos poetas y autores; un libro sobre la supervivencia de los refugiados sudaneses, latinos y de los pueblos nativos de América, y otros estudiantes de secundaria dentro de la problemática mayor de la escuela secundaria en Dakota del Sur; el To Topos International Journal, Ahani: Indigenous American Poetry, la primera colección que representa a los poetas indígenas (multilingües) del hemisferio occidental americano (desde el Círculo Ártico hasta el Antártico); y Effigies, de Salt Publications (Reino Unido).
Hedge Coke ha ganado el Naropa Poetry Prize; el New Mexico Press Women's Creative Writing Award; varios premios y becas del South Dakota Arts Council; el Mayor's Award a la excelencia literaria; dos premios de la Community Foundation a la excelencia en la enseñanza; el King-Chavez-Parks Excellence in Teaching Award; el premio Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers National Mentor of the Year; y ha recibido un National Endowment for the Arts Project Award para apoyar su cargo como directora del Writers Voice Program. Se ha desempeñado como directora para el American Indian Registry of Performing Arts; como coordinadora de área para California Poets in the Schools; y ha trabajado para numerosos programas de artistas en la escuela, de orden nacional, con frecuencia, como literata residente por un año completo, empezando con S.P.A.C.E. en Carolina del Norte en 1982. Su trabajo voluntario ha estado al servicio de estudiantes de escritura de tres a noventa y tres años, e incluye servicios en comisiones de vivienda, una comisión estatal para supervisar las artes en la educación, y varias comisiones de servicios para programas de educación y literatura. Enseñó en K-12 por muchos años y fue quien instrumentó e inició un programa de estudios nativos en el Kilian College y el programa WINGS (tutoría para que ex presos juveniles retornen a la secundaria) en la norteña Sioux Falls.
Hedge Coke ha sido Humanities Distinguished Visiting Professor en Hartwick College, New York; fue profesora titular interina del English Department and MFA Program de la Northern Michigan University; profesora de escritura creativa en el Institute of American Indian Arts; actualmente enseña para los MFA/BFA intensivos de verano en el programa de escritura en Naropa University y conserva el Distinguished Paul and Clarice Reynolds Chair of English como Associate Professor of Poetry and Writing en la University of Nebraska, Kearney.
En los veranos de los años 2005 y 2007, ella se presentó en el más grande y significativo festival de poesía en Medellin, Colombia; y en el 2006 fue la única poeta mujer estadounidense que se presentó en el Festival Mundial de Poesía en Venezuela. Ella ha tenido una importancia decisiva en la organización de proyectos de literatura y escritura para jóvenes en prisión, comunidades marginales, y comunidades indígenas y está dedicada a trabajar por la paz a través de la poesía.
Hedge Coke ha hablado ante las Naciones Unidas, ha participado en los esfuerzos de la United Nations Women's Peacekeeping, y es becaria del MacDowell Colony y del Black Earth Institute Think Tank. Es de ascendencia cherokee (Tsalagi), huron (Wendat), franco-canadiense, metis, creek, inglesa, irlandesa, francesa y portuguesa.
Original en inglés
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke has published three full volumes of poetry, Dog Road Woman (American Book Award), and Off-Season City Pipe (Wordcraft Writer of
th Year Award), both from Coffee House Press; Blood Run (a free verse play regarding an indigenous mound site), from Salt Publications (UK); a chapbook, The Year of the Rat; and a memoir, Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer (AIROS Book of the Month Selection), from the University of Nebraska Press.
Hedge Coke has edited six volumes of poetry and writing, including several volumes of emerging poets and writers; a volume of coping by refugee Sudanese, Latino, Native American, and other high school students in a mainstream high school in South Dakota; the To Topos International Journal, Ahani: Indigenous American Poetry, the first collection representing the Western Hemisphere Americas (from the Arctic to Antarctic Circles) Indigenous poets (multi-lingual); and Effigies, Salt Publications (UK).
Hedge Coke has won the Naropa Poetry Prize; the New Mexico Press Women's Creative Writing Award; several South Dakota Arts Council fellowships and awards; an excellence in literary arts Mayor’s Award; two Community Foundation excellence in teaching awards; the King-Chavez-Parks Excellence in Teaching Award; Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers National Mentor of the Year award; and 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 merican Indian Registry of Performing Arts; as an area coordinator for California Poets in the Schools; and has worked
for numerous artists in the schools programs nationwide, oftentimes as a full-year resident literary artist, beginning with S.P.A.C.E. in North Carolina in 1982. Her volunteer work has served students of writing from three to ninety three and includes service on housing boards, a state board overseeing arts in education, and several board services for educational and literary arts programs.
She taught in k-12 for many 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.
Hedge Coke has served as National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Visiting Professor at Hartwick College, New York; was an assistant professor of the English Department and MFA Program of Northern
Michigan University; a professor of creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts; currently teaches for the summer intensive MFA/BFA in writing
program at Naropa University and holds the Distinguished Paul and Clarice Reynolds Chair of English as an Associate Professor of Poetry and Writing at the University of Nebraska, Kearney. In the summers of 2005 and 2007, she performed in the world's largest and most significant poetry festival in
Medellin, Colombia and in 2006 as the only woman poet from the United States to perform in the World Poetry Festival in Venezuela. She has been instrumental in organizing literature and writing projects for incarcerated youth, underserved communities, and Indigenous communities and is dedicated to working for peace through poetry.
Hedge Coke has spoken at the United Nations, has participated in the United Nations Women's Peacekeeping effort, and is a MacDowell Colony and Black Earth Institute Think Tank Fellow. She is Cherokee (Tsalagi), Huron (Wendat), French Canadian, Metis, Creek, English, Irish, French, and Portuguese.
Ms. Hedge Coke grew up in North Carolina, Canada, and on the Great Plains. She received her MFA in Creative Writing at Vermont college, and has an AFA in Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Ms. Hedge Coke is of Cherokee and Huron mixed-blood ancestry.
This e-interview transpired between QME editor Suzanne Sunshower and Ms. Hedge Coke, during Ms. Hedge Coke's recent travels.
Judging by your new book, “Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer: A Story of Survival”, your prose style
seems well-informed by poetics. Were you particularly conscious that you were working in a
different ‘medium’ than what I assume is your most comfortable (poetry)?
AAHC: I have always written prose as well as poetry. I have been more generous with my
poetry since it is a genre that allows you a bit more anonymity.
Was writing a prose book like trying to ‘stay within the lines’?
AAHC: Just a different approach. Not difficult due to the genre, more due to the content
You make different kinds of writing (including scriptwriting, I believe) and you’ve been involved in
other arts – do you often get questioned about your multiple efforts?
AAHC: Only by strangers. I have worked in multiple mediums and genres since childhood. I think the commercial aspect of the arts dictate compartmentalism and tunnel vision. Nature
dictates differently. I have a range of ability and of interests, all natural and all necessary to
fulfillment of separate works.
Do you feel as though there is one artistic medium, or genre, that is your primary home? Does there have to be?
AAHC : Not especially. I think the field is arbitrary and subjective.
Were you surprised, perhaps disappointed, to learn how long (years) the publication process would take for your books?
AA: No. The first time out I felt it would give me time to prepare for the aftermath. The
memoir came out quickly. I didn’t submit it until the draft had sat on my shelf for quite a while.
By the time it went in it was ready for a final draft and then off to the press. The poetry takes a while. It depends on what press you are with; my poetry press tends to be very slow but very good. They do a dynamite job of getting the book out and in great shape. Worth the wait.
The obvious next question is... don’t you find things you’d like to change in the work during that time – or do you just put the project out of mind and move on?
AAHC: You have an option to change things until the final press date. I edit up until that time.
You earned the American Book Award for "Dog Road Woman" (poetry) and were nominated for the Puishcart Prize (poetry). Do writing awards matter to you?
AAHC: Of course. I thought my 64 unit MFA diploma would hold the most esteemed place on the wall forever, being that I was the first to ever receive a grad degree in all of my relations literally. The American Book Award took the spot immediately.
Does it matter from whom an award comes – say, being honored by Indigenous people vs. the
Caucasian literary powers that be?
AAHC: Sometimes it is from both, ie: the American Book Award. Mine was nominated and voted for by Indigenous people and non-Native people at once, and there are Indigenous people on the board that selects this award. The Mentor of the Year Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers & Storytellers is a favorite. I enjoy and am honored by both.
Life as Art...
Your new book chronicles your difficult early life in the wake of your family’s coping with your mother’s mental illness. Were you apprehensive about opening up your family members to life as art – in that it is their lives, too, revealed in the book and the picture isn’t necessarily flattering; in fact, potentially embarrassing?
AAHC: I am never embarrassed by happenstance in life. I didn’t give my mother schizophrenia and it wasn’t her choice either. We were just kids coping and not coping. My folks did the best they could. My mother gave me her blessing in the telling, before I submitted it for publication.
That’s all that mattered to me, her opinion and her feelings. The work was composed to enable other people to visit into the world we came from, and to alleviate the prison of silence imposed upon those who are suffering in life. It [the book] intends to empower those living in shame and silence, and to open doors for understanding.
You’re editing a couple anthologies... “Children of the Chronically Insane” and “Working-Class Indigenous”. Do you think that writing about certain life experiences can be therapeutic, as well as informative for others?
AAHC: I teach therapeutic writing for all ages, master classes and graduate writing programs
nationwide. I teach my own creative process, my bag of tricks. Coupling the beautiful and
horrendous allows one to cope. Writing in general is therapeutic. Sometimes dangerously so. It took me years to get over what I divulged in this telling. By the time I got over reeling, I submitted the work.
Do you have any conscious desire to politicize your work – or do you feel it is politicized by virtue of who you are and your experiences?
AAHC: The latter. Definitely.
Are you involved with groups overtly connecting art and politics such as “Poets against the War”, or Indigenous groups which connect art and action?
AAHC: I have organized PAW readings locally since Sam Hamill wrote a note to me asking me to do so, pre this war. I have published on their [PAW} page, and I am included in the 234 poems gleaned from the 10,000 poems on the site for a hard copy publication. I may be the only South Dakota writer in the book form collection. I have been involved with Indigenous alliances, organizations, convergences since my mid-teens. I have spent twenty-five years using art (literary, musical, visual, and performance) as a connective base to teach and bridge humanity, and empower youth and adults. I served on the national caucus of Wordcraft Circle, was a director for the American Indian Registry for the Performing Arts, and numerous other venues of association. It’s a natural connection. I’ve been active, and actively informed, since childhood. The beginnings are in the memoir.
The Face of Art...
You mention in your website’s poet’s statement that you enjoy the works of Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan, and Zora Neale Hurston. Do you find that the young people whom you mentor are familiar with these women writers of color? Need we be vigilant about educating readers of all colors and ages to these writers?
AAHC: Usually not [familiar]. I teach exercises of creative process and strategy and utilize the works of the writers mentioned and others, to teach from and educate. I definitely push the works of many writers.
Do you advise writers and poets of color to become particularly involved in the artistic
organizations founded within their own ethnic groups, or based upon your own experience, do you think there can be found enough satisfying inclusion and career opportunity within majority-Caucasian literary communities?
AAHC: I am rarely involved with majority European descent art associations, except on the
parameters/fringes. I do serve on the state Arts Alliance Board (overseeing arts in education),
which is majority white, but we only meet once or twice a year so it’s not so restrictive. I also serve on the Sioux Falls Housing Corporation Board, which is also almost all white. If there is work to be done and I can assist with the program and benefit all (including Indigenous and other communities of non-white distinction) then I will offer a hand. Hey, they need help at times more than we do. Without us, who would provide the voice they [whites in power] need to attend to?
As you travel your own artistic road, are you satisfied that you see enough representation by
(specifically) Indigenous peoples at the various levels of the literary arts? By this I mean –
represented through public readings; getting published; getting inside the publishing industry; being seen on TV or heard on radio; getting paid...etc?
AAHC: I am mostly involved with other Indigenous writers. Most of whom are premiere US and Canadian writers as well. They work constantly, as do I. I feel there needs to be more of us to fill the huge gap of representation, and I have worked most of my life to foster a new generation of writers/artists to do so.
Do you want to be simply a writer, as opposed to an Indigenous writer? Could it even be possible?
AAHC: I believe the work of Indigenous writers belongs on the specific genre shelf with all
writers in that genre. Extra copies could be shelved on the (usually tiny) shelf for Native American, or multicultural. So few people look for the specific shelf necessary to find our works that we remain unknown to the unfamiliar reader. A crime of compartmentalization. If an Irish writer is confined to a shelf specifically for Irish literature, how many people would normally browse that shelf, upon a short bookstore visit? We [Native writers] are invisible enough.
Visibility is a deserved end of the publication world. I was born Indian and I’ll die that way.
Being included with other poets and writers doesn’t change my identity a bit. It merely allows me new readership.
Thank you, Allison!
AAHC: Bless you!!
They curse themselves
each time they approach this place.
The sentiment of animus
winds round puffed heads leaving.
No rest will come to those who
take the troves this place embraced.
No rest, no peace, no honor
follows those who rob these stores.
The chevrons in their pockets still able.
In their blindness,
they presume concocting Story
of wild men, wild women,
our home as wilderness,
elevates stature. Yet,
they imprecate themselves
Hermana del clan
Ellos se curan a si mismos
cada momento en que se aproxima el lugar.
El sentimiento de animo
ronda las cabezas llenas
No habrá descanso para aquellos que
toman las canaletas abrazados a este lugar.
Sin descanso, sin paz, sin honor
sigue a aquellos que roban las tiendas.
Los cabrones en sus bolsillos todavía pueden
En su ceguera
presumen hacer la historia
de hombres salvajes, mujeres salvajes,
nuestro hogar en la soledad
denigra el realismo
elevan la estatura. Pero aun
ellos se maldicen así mismos