Biography (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
Linda (Henderson) Hogan was born on July 16, 1947, in Denver, Colorado, the daughter of Charles and Cleona (Bower) Henderson. Her mother was a white woman from Nebraska, but Hogan identified more strongly with her Chickasaw father and his family, who lived in rural south-central Oklahoma. She and her parents frequently visited Oklahoma; in one interview, the poet stated that Oklahoma felt like home to her, a place where she was loved, “cared for, wanted.” She was nevertheless a solitary child, choosing to spend much of her time alone outdoors.
Hogan’s grandfather was a bronco rider, and her grandmother, descended from a nineteenth century head of the Chickasaw nation, was what Hogan calls “a caretaker of the people.” During the 1930’s, her grandparents lost their allotment land, which they had farmed, to foreclosure. To support themselves, her grandfather worked as a janitor for a church, and her grandmother sold eggs in town. This family experience helped Hogan to understand how American society blames victims for their own poverty and hunger, a common topic in her work. From her grandparents, Hogan also learned that there was an alternative to her working-class city lifestyle: She learned, she has said, “better ways to love, to take care of life,” to appreciate the beauty of nature as well as how to survive poverty and hardship.
During Hogan’s childhood, little value was placed on formal education, because her American Indian family had different values from those of the dominant white society. Although she did not read much as a child, she grew up in a strong oral tradition, encouraged by her father, her uncle, and her grandmother, all of whom were...
(The entire section is 733 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Biography (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
Hogan gracefully reconciles her activist obligations with her spiritual outlook. A major device that occurs in nearly all of her work is the identification of herself or her people with aspects of the natural world such as bees, horses, birds, turtles, or the moon. As she stated in one interview, she has “a heart made out of crickets,” by which she means that she feels loyalty to all life-forms and acts as a spokeswoman for the animals. Hogan’s work is based upon her strong sense of tribal history and spirit of place, and she uses her words, her wit, and her humor to stand up for those who, like the bees, have no voice in their future.
Biography (American Indians (Ready Reference series))
Born of a working-class Chickasaw father and a white mother of an immigrant family, Linda Hogan learned the history and legends of her people through oral narrative. She received a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Colorado and was associate professor of American Indian and American studies at the University of Minnesota before turning to full-time writing. In 1989, she began teaching creative writing and American Indian studies at the University of Colorado.
Hogan’s first novel, Mean Spirit (1990), set in an Oklahoma Indian community during the oil boom of the 1920’s, describes the devastation that results from the greed and corruption of non-Indians. That Horse (1985) contains several of her short stories.
Hogan has published several volumes of poetry. Her first, Calling Myself Home (1978), includes many poems about family and Indian identity; as she has said, “A lot of my poems come from family stories.” Daughters, I Love You (1981), reprinted in Eclipse (1983), is a protest against destruction of the land. Both Seeing Through the Sun (1985) and Savings (1988) include numerous poems about a kinship with nature and a speaker’s (Indian’s) interaction with it. Like her novel, which describes especially the plight of Indian women during the oil boom, Hogan’s poetry often includes feminist perspectives.
Allen, Paula Gunn. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston:...
(The entire section is 699 words.)
Biography (Critical Survey of Poetry: American Poets)
Linda Hogan’s ancestors include pioneer workers and farmers who had settled in Nebraska and Winchester Colbert, a nineteenth century head of the Chickasaw nation. Growing up in Denver and later Colorado Springs, Hogan also spent much of her childhood on her grandparents’ farm in Oklahoma. The former experiences introduced Hogan to a multicultural, working-class environment, the latter to rural poverty and hardship as well as the beauty of nature and strong ties to the land. Leaving school at fifteen to begin work as a nurse’s aide, Hogan worked at a series of low-paying jobs before and during her first years in college. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and master of arts degree in creative writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder (1978).
During the period of her self-education and formal education, Hogan began to write, looking for a sense of pattern and significance in her existence. Since publishing her first book in 1978, Hogan has been an active writer and teacher: as a poet in the schools in Colorado and Oklahoma (1980-1984) and as a member of the faculties of the University of Colorado (1977-1979), Colorado Women’s College (1979), the Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute of the University of Denver (1979-1980), and the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (1984-1989). Since 1989, Hogan has been a professor in the American Indian Studies Program and the English department at the University of Colorado.
As well as writing on issues relating to colonialism, other forms of oppression, and human rights, Hogan has been politically active. The mother of two adopted daughters, she participated with her family in an antinuclear encampment in the Black Hills of South Dakota during 1980, an experience later commemorated in the poems collected in Daughters, I Love You and reprinted in Eclipse.
Since the late 1980’s, Hogan’s work has focused increasingly on environmental and spiritual issues and on the nature of the animal-human connection. She seeks to reintegrate her Native American heritage and call to her readers’ attention human beings’ shared responsibility for the stewardship of the earth.
Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
The Chickasaw poet and novelist Linda Hogan is a leading figure of the American Indian literary renaissance. Hogan came from a working-class background, and her childhood was divided between Denver and rural Oklahoma, where her family possessed deep roots. During the time her father was in the military she also traveled throughout America and Europe.
Hogan grew up with a rich oral tradition. Her father’s lively stories later became key sources for her poems and fictions, and the knowledge of American Indians’ dislocation and disinheritance became the basis of her politics.
At the age of fifteen Hogan started working full-time. For the next ten years she did odd jobs ranging from a position as dental assistant to work as a cocktail waitress. In 1973 she received a B.A. in psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. When she was in her late twenties, Hogan moved to the Washington, D.C., area and worked as a teacher’s aid with orthopedically handicapped students. During her free time she began to write. When, soon after, she discovered the work of Kenneth Rexroth and James Wright, she was inspired to start writing poetry.
After studying with the poet Rod Jellema, Hogan entered a graduate program at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and in 1978 she received an M.A. in creative writing. That same year she bought her home in Idledale, a small village in the Colorado mountains, where she moved with her two adopted daughters, Sandra Dawn Protector and Tanya Thunder Horse, both Oglala Lakota.
Also in 1978 Hogan’s first book appeared, Calling Myself Home, a collection of poems inspired by her Oklahoma experiences and by the tensions between her white and Indian heritages. Although the work received scant critical attention, Calling Myself Home did establish Hogan as a poet of merit.
From 1978 until 1984 Hogan held a variety of creative-writing teaching positions in the Denver region; she taught at Colorado Springs’ Colorado Colleges Institute, and she was writer-in-residence at several Colorado and Oklahoma high schools....
(The entire section is 906 words.)