Form and Content

(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

Daughters, I Love You is a collection of nine poems ranging in length from thirty-two to sixty-five lines and using the rhythms and vocabulary of ordinary conversation in conjunction with bold imagery and surprising, highly telescoped syntax to develop, from a variety of perspectives, the theme of protest against the life-defeating forces that threaten the environment and all life on Earth. The poems, taking the form of meditations arising in the poet’s consciousness and phrased as her thoughts, move from the personal to the public and political spheres with an immediacy that suggests the impossibility of individual escape from the consequences of public events and the obligation of the individual, and especially the individual woman, to speak out against the madness generated by a male-dominated political order.

Hogan says that she began writing poetry in an attempt to heal the dissonance she felt between her two cultural heritages, white Nebraska immigrant and Oklahoma Chickasaw, but the Chickasaw clearly dominates the body of her poetry—though less so in Daughters, I Love You than in most of her other work. She has become one of the most widely known American Indian writers. In addition, Hogan’s commitment to the struggle to nourish and preserve life, her rejection of any kind of destruction of the land, her disillusionment with so-called development, and her long-standing awareness of the spiritual nature of women’s relationships to the land led her to the growing conviction that to remain silent is a form of dishonesty. Believing that progress has brought the world to the edge of total destruction, she has decided that if she and her family are going...

(The entire section is 692 words.)


(Masterpieces of Women's Literature)

Daughters, I Love You was published by the Research Center on Women at Loretto Heights College in Denver as the inaugural issue of a series of monographs devoted to women’s issues. Elizabeth Jameson, director of the center, writes in the introduction that it seemed appropriate to begin the series with Hogan’s poems because they speak with “the strong voice of Native American women, whose losses and triumphant strength are the beginning and the heart of women’s lives in our region.” Given the center’s desire that the monograph series contribute to “the actions of people trying to create nourishing relationships between women and men and the nature which can support or threaten life,” Hogan’s book seems a doubly good choice. In fact, in Daughters, I Love You Hogan speaks as an Everywoman, concerned especially with the welfare of her daughters and of all daughters everywhere.

The book can be seen as an environmentalist and pacifist document as well as a feminist document. Hogan has said, in an interview with the well-known American Indian writer, scholar, and feminist Paula Gunn Allen, that she grew up with visions of destruction. “What people are doing from the very beginning of the mining process all the way to the final explosion,” she says, “is that they’re taking a power out of the earth that belongs to the earth.” In its major intention Daughters, I Love You seems a plea to women everywhere to “grow closer” and to assert their political will in defense of the earth and of human life. According to Allen, because Hogan is Indian she is able to resolve the conflict between spirituality and political commitment that divides the non-Indian feminist community. Hogan does not have to choose, because in the Indian consciousness each is the complement of the other.

Hogan has received several awards, for both fiction and poetry, including a Colorado Writer’s Fellowship, a Minnesota Arts Board Grant, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and her work has appeared in major anthologies of Native American poetry.


(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Suggested Readings

Ackerberg, Peggy Maddux. “Breaking Boundaries: Writing Past Gender, Genre, and Genocide in Linda Hogan.” Studies in American Indian Literatures 6, no. 3 (1994): 7-14.

Allen, Paula Gunn. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992. Contains some critical analysis of Hogan’s poetry, placing her in a feminist, activist, and spiritual context and praising her for speaking out against global destruction.

Bruchac, Joseph. Survival This Way: Interviews with American Indian Poets. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1987. Good source of biographical information and of Hogan’s ideas about her poetry.

Hogan, Linda. “A heart made out of crickets’: An Interview with Linda Hogan.” Interview by Bo Scholer. The Journal of Ethnic Studies 16, no. 1 (1988): 107-117.

Hogan, Linda. “An Interview with Linda Hogan.” The Missouri Review 17, no. 2 (1994): 109-124.

Hogan, Linda. “Linda Hogan.” Interview by Patricia Clark Smith. In This Is About Vision: Interviews with Southwestern Writers, edited by William Balassi, John F. Crawford, and Annie O. Esturoy. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990.

Ruoff, A. Lavonne Brown. American Indian Literatures: An Introduction, Biblio-graphic Review, and Selected Bibliography. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1990. Brief comments on feminist and political aspects of Hogan’s work.

Swann, Brian, and Arnold Krupat, eds. I Tell You Now: Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987. In her autobiographical sketch, Hogan discusses in considerable detail the influences of both her white and her American Indian forebears on her consciousness, her sense of identity, and her writing.

Wiget, Andrew. Native American Literature. Boston: Twayne, 1985. Includes brief comments about the theme of nuclear destruction.