Critics Page In Conversation
ALLISON ADELLE HEDGE COKE with Anne Waldman
Anne Waldman: As a poet, how are you contemporary with your time?
Allison Adelle Hedge Coke: Awake, aware, living in time, in this time, you might, as a poet, intersect time, this moment, with memory, with futurisms, but the realness of the moment gives the meditative presence you bring to the page in running lines into composition, or the choreograph of what becomes a poem, sooner or later. Working within beats, within events taking place, coupled with here and after, with precedence, and wrapping up time with content, provides a certain musicality to drift along with into the space you wish to coordinate as page. It is all real. What brings it together is your tangle with it, the audiences breath, and the effect of the premise caused when you are immersed well. Keeping informed, enlightened, entertained and incapable of ignoring what provides the gist is essential and akin to being in time, on time, and with time. Contemporary is flushed on an as-need-to-know basis and the poet’s there to lead quick perception and to clarify. It is a poet’s task to be ready and willing to get messy in the work, to jet out on the limb, sans worry or confusion about any break that might happen, for the sake of the meaning there. The poet is the one standing ground to deliver the goods to the people, despite any rule against the reveal, maybe because of the rule. Me, I move around, read the news, listen to new music, read new poets-writers, work with emerging people, check out fresh films and videos, watch the world, talk to people, old, young, and very young, ask them about things, unless they are asking me, and then I ask them sometimes, too, even so. Face to the wind and mind to the matter. I don’t worry about yesterday and don’t plan too much of tomorrow. I like it now. Always, have. The fact of it is this, we start the ripple effect each time we take to page. Maybe it moves back, maybe forward, but it definitely moves right away, and just as definitely, means to. I live in today.