Linda Hogan

(1947 - Present)

Linda Hogan is an internationally recognized speaker, environmentalist, and writer across genres. Born in Colorado, Hogan has Chickasaw roots based in South Central Oklahoma. In the 1950s, her uncle, Wesley Henderson, helped establish the White Buffalo Council in Denver to support Indigenous people displaced by the Relocation Act. Hogan was raised by a family of storytellers and traveled during some of her childhood due to her father’s military career. However, she found community in her Chickasaw family in Oklahoma and in the Indigenous inhabitants of Denver. Hogan earned her BA from the University of Colorado–Colorado Springs and her MA in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado–Boulder. She began to write in her late twenties: while working with disabled children, she read poems by Kenneth Rexroth on her lunch breaks, and she soon found the confidence to work on her own poetry.

Hogan published her first book of poetry, Calling Myself Home, in 1978. She has since come out with nine further collections, including Seeing Through the Sun (University of Massachusetts Press, 1985), winner of the American Book Award, and The Book of Medicines (Coffee House Press, 1993), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Colorado Book Award. Most recently, Hogan has released Pulitzer Prize nominee Rounding the Human Corners (Coffee House Press, 2008); the long poem and one-woman performance piece Indios (Wings Press, 2012); Dark. Sweet. (Coffee House Press, 2014), a collection of new and selected poems; and A History of Kindness (Torrey House Press, 2020), which won the Oklahoma Book Award. Hogan’s poetry has also garnered her State Arts Board grants from both Colorado and Minnesota and a Lannan Literary Award.

As a writer and thinker, Hogan’s focuses encompass nature and environmental issues, indigenous spirituality and culture, female embodiment and power, and tribal history.

In addition to her poetry, Hogan has written highly praised novels and non-fiction works, many addressing these topics. Mean Spirit (Atheneum, 1990), her first novel, captured the experience of Osage families in the 1920s; it was a finalist for the 1991 Pulitzer Prize and winter of the Oklahoma Book Award and the Mountains and Plains Book Award. Her novels Solar Storms and Power were finalists for the International Impact Award, and her fiction has won her National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships. Hogan’s recent nonfiction includes The Radiant Lives of Animals (Beacon Press, 2020), The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir (Norton, 2002), and the co-written Sightings: The Mysterious Journey of the Gray Whale (National Geographic Books, 2002). She has also edited several anthologies on nature and spirituality.

Hogan’s many further honors include the Thoreau Prize from PEN America, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, a Native Arts and Culture Award, a Pushcart Prize, and membership in the Chickasaw Hall of Fame. She has spoken at the United Nations Forum and the Environmental Literature Conference in Turkey. Hogan was involved for nearly two decades with the Native Science Dialogues and the new Native American Academy, as well as spending time at the SEED Graduate Institute in Albuquerque. A dedicated conservationist, Hogan volunteers and consults in wildlife rehabilitation and endangered species programs. She is currently on the board of advisors for Orion Magazine, among others. Hogan has taught at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Colorado College, the University of Colorado, and Indian Arts Institute, as well as serving as writer in residence for the Chickasaw Nation. She teaches creative writing workshops for all ages and travels widely for readings and lectures.


More Linda Hogan

Text: Read four poems by Hogan at World Literature Today

Video: Watch short programs on Hogan from Chickasaw TV

Text: "Bear Fat" by Hogan at The American Poetry Review


Photo by Larry Henderson.