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.
During this time she published two further poetry volumes, Daughters, I Love You...
(The entire section is 904 words.)