Cover image for Rock, ghost, willow, deer : a story of survival
Rock, ghost, willow, deer : a story of survival
Hedge Coke, Allison Adelle.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiv, 198 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3553.O4366 Z474 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer is Allison Adelle Hedge Coke's searching account of her life as a mixed-blood woman coming of age off reservation, yet deeply immersed in her Huron, Metis, and Cherokee heritage. In a style at once elliptical and achingly clear, Hedge Coke details her mother's schizophrenia; the domestic and community abuse overshadowing her childhood; and torments both visited upon her--(rape and violence) and inflicted on herself (alcohol and drug abuse during her youth). Yet she managed to survive with her dreams and her will, her sense of wonder and promise undiminished.

The title Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer refers to life-revelations guiding the award-winning poet and writer through her many trials, as well as her labors in tobacco fields, factories, construction, and fishing; her motherhood; her involvement with music and performance; and the melding of language and experience that brought order to her life. Hedge Coke shares insights gathered along the way, insights touching on broader Native issues such as modern life in the diaspora; lack of a national eco-ethos; the threat of alcohol, drug abuse, and violence; and the ongoing onslaught on self amid a complex, mixed heritage.

Author Notes

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Central Oklahoma, is a Great Plains Fellow at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is the author of The Year of the Rat , Dog Road Woman (winner of the American Book Award), Off-Season City Pipe , and Blood Run , and she most recently edited Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas and Effigies .

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

This is a harrowing book. Statistics about alcoholism and family violence among dispossessed American Indians fail to show the sheer human suffering it causes and the personal heroism of those who struggle through to an integrated life. Hedge Coke was endowed by her Cherokee father with insights into the Indian way of life, but the pressures of prejudice and her mother's insanity drove her into years of drug and alcohol abuse as well as into abusive relationships. She writes in a stately, unashamed manner of beatings and binges, always connecting her personal sufferings to the larger questions of how Indian people can reclaim their cultural and personal pride and authority. A tragic loss ends the book's story, but far from making it a tale of failure, this final death confirms, through Hedge Coke's presentation, her growth into a profound witness to Indian culture and its deep-rooted spiritual and philosophical values. --Patricia Monaghan Copyright 2004 Booklist

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
1. Of Seedsp. 1
2. From Windsp. 15
3. When Fire and Water Meetp. 45
4. Ashesp. 69
5. Back to the Landsp. 95
6. Oceans, Riversp. 123
7. Crossingsp. 161