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Allison Hedge Coke
Allison Hedge Coke

Award-winning poet, writer, editor and filmmaker Allison Adelle Hedge Coke will premiere the film of her keynote address as the spring 2020 Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Hedge Coke will present a keynote lecture via Zoom on Making Our Measure, Our Motion in Life, on Wednesday, December 16, 4–5:30 p.m.

Hedge Coke will reflect on the past year through poetry, prose and guest commentaries. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Hedge Coke’s planned keynote address in the spring was postponed. In lieu of an in-person event, a film was commissioned to capture the poetry and prose of Hedge Coke. Hedge Coke’s presentation also includes the community voices of Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Hawaiian visual artist Meleanna Meyer, and UH Mānoa Indigenous poets Craig Santos Perez and Brandy Nālani McDougall.

Hedge Coke spent the spring semester at UH Mānoa, co-teaching the course “Indigenous Lands and Waters” with American Studies Associate Professor McDougall, in addition to giving lectures, workshops and readings.

McDougall said, “We were very honored to host Allison Hedge Coke, who is among the most important environmental and social justice poets, thinkers and activists of our time. Her literary contributions of poetry and other writings and documentary filmmaking over the past 25 years, as well as her work to create spaces for marginalized voices and to protect plants, animals, and sacred sites, have been tremendous both in scope and impact.”

Following the film premiere, a live discussion will take place with Hedge Coke, facilitated by McDougall and American Studies Assistant Specialist Noelle Kahanu.

Participants can register online. For more information, contact Kahanu at

More on Hedge Coke

A distinguished professor at the University of California at Riverside, Hedge Coke is of Indigenous and European descent, and many of her writings powerfully explore her heritage and coming of age working in fields, factories and waters.

Her works include the poetry books Year of the Rat (1993, 1996), Dog Road Woman (1997), Off-Season City Pipe (2005), Blood Run (2007), Streaming (2014), Burn (2017), a memoir, Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer (2014), an animated poem, and a play, Icicles. As an editor, her works include Ahani: ToTopos (2006), Sing: Poetry of the Indigenous Americas (2011), Effigies (2009), Effigies II (2014), Effigies III (2019), and she most recently guest-edited World Literature Today (Autumn 2019).

Recent honors include an honorary credential from China for Excellence in Foreign Poetry, the First Jade Nurtured SiHui Female International Poet (2018), a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Native Writers Circle of the Americas (2017), the Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellow (2016), and Distinguished Writer in Residence at UH Mānoa (2014). Current projects include a film, Red Dust: resiliency in the dirty thirties, a new CD, a VA NCA Legacy Program sponsored community project Along the Chaparral, new poems and prose.

Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals

Established in 2005 by the UH Board of Regents, the Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals brings significant public figures to Hawaiʻi to foster public discourse regarding democratic ideals and civic engagement. The program honors the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and his wife, Maggie, for their lifetimes of public service. The chair is housed in the UH Mānoa Department of American Studies in the College of Arts and Humanities and the William S. Richardson School of Law.

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