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.
ContributorsAllison Adelle Hedge Coke
ALLISON ADELLE HEDGE COKE’s books include Streaming, Blood Run, Off-Season City Pipe, Dog Road Woman, Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, Effigies, Effigies II, and Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer. Awards include an American Book Award, Native Writers Circle of the Americas, a 2015 Pen Southwest Book Award, and a 2016 Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship. She teaches for VCFA MFA in Writing & Publishing, Red Earth MFA, and as Visiting Writer for SWP Naropa.Anne Waldman
ANNE WALDMAN has been a prolific and active poet and performer many years, creating radical new hybrid forms for the long poem, both serial and narrative, as with Marriage: A Sentence, Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble, and Manatee/Humanity, and most recently Gossamurmur, all published by Penguin Poets. She is also the author of the magnum opus The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment ( Coffee House Press 2011), a feminist "cultural intervention" taking on war and patriarchy which won the PEN Center 2012 Award for Poetry. Voice's Daughter of a Heart Yet To Be Born, a prose poem meditation on William Blake's Book of Thel, is being published by Coffee House Press, 2016.