Eastern Oregon University > Academics > Renowned poets discuss nature, injustice at Ars Poetica 

Renowned poets discuss nature, injustice at Ars Poetica 

Renowned poets discuss nature, injustice at Ars Poetica 

April 26, 2022 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Drift into a poetic tale of Californian coast lines, bright blue butterflies and the incredible injustices of modern society with “Look at This Blue,” a book-length poem by renowned author and UC Riverside professor Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. 

Eastern Oregon University’s Carl and Sandra Ellston Ars Poetica Fund Reading and Conversation Series finishes out April with a remote conversation on nature and Native poetic tradition and social injustice.  

“It’s been described as a love letter to California,” Assistant Professor of English/Writing Nick Neely said. “It’s a very synthetic book bringing together natural history, social justice, and personal history. It’s a book-length poem so there are no titles … you could call it open form.”  

In the upcoming discussion, Hedge Coke, herself of mixed East Coast Native American heritage, will speak with Master of Fine Arts faculty member Abigail Chabitnoy, a Koniag descendant and member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak, Alaska. Chabitnoy is the author of “How to Dress a Fish,” which won the 2020 Colorado Book Award for poetry, and has a second poetry collection due out in the fall.

“There’s a spark that you can’t anticipate between two serious and thoughtful writers. I know Abigail has read this book closely, she reviewed it for ‘Orion’ Magazine in the Fall, which is how we hatched this plan for her to be in conversation with Hedge Coke when the book was finally released, ” Neely said.  

Moving forward, Ars Poetica will return in-person at EOU’s first Arts Festival on May 21. Arts Fest will feature a variety of student and professional art displays, literature reading music performances, art vendors, on-site crafted ceramic pieces and local catering. 

“Theater, music and English/writing are getting together to show off campus artists,” Neely said. “It will be a day of celebration over at the Gilbert Center and its plaza with readings, performances, live music, beverages from Side A, hopefully food trucks. They’ll be opening the kiln, so we’ll see some new ceramics. There will also be a crafts fair inside the Gilbert Center with vendors and artwork for sale. Students will also have the opportunity to display work, so we’re really excited for this.” 

Ars Poetica takes place at 6 p.m., April 28 over Zoom. Learn more and register at eou.edu/mfa/visiting-writers. Details about Arts Festival and other on-campus events this spring are available at eou.edu/may.

Learn more about Allison Adelle Hedge Coke at poetryfoundation.org/poets/allison-adelle-hedge-coke, and about Abigail Chabitnoy at salmonfisherpoet.com.

Written by PR Intern Garrett Christensen