Linda Hogan

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Discussion Topics

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Discuss American attitudes toward poverty as addressed in Linda Hogan’s works.

How is the American Indian oral tradition evident in Hogan’s works?

How does Hogan address the issue of genocide?

What is Hogan saying about threats to the natural world?

Compare Hogan’s exploration of the theme of identity in two works.

Compare Hogan’s treatment of transformation in two works.

Other literary forms

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Linda Hogan has published critical and personal essays and has written or coauthored books on Native American life, culture, and literature, as well as the environment and ecofeminism. Her work has been reprinted in numerous anthologies and edited collections.


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Teaching and publishing represent major achievements for Linda Hogan, who has said that as a young girl she did not plan to attend college because, “I didn’t know what college was.” Yet by what Hogan might call a combination of love and defiance, she overcame the many oppressive conditions blocking those whom she characterizes as society’s less privileged. Hogan’s writing, deliberately aimed at readers who may lack a formal education in literary forms, often challenges accepted standards of literary taste.

Her achievement and potential have been formally recognized in her many awards: an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation (1986) for Seeing Through the Sun, a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, a Newberry Library D’Arcy McNickle Memorial Fellowship (1980), a Yaddo Colony Fellowship (1982), a National Endowment for the Arts fiction grant (1986), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1990), and a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry (1994). Her play A Piece of Moon (pr. 1981) received the 1980 Five Civilized Tribes Playwriting Award. Hogan’s novel Mean Spirit (1990) received the Oklahoma Book Award for Fiction and the Mountains (1991) and Plains Booksellers Award (1990) and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist (1991). The Book of Medicines received the Colorado Book Award and was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.


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Allen, Paula Gunn. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston: Beacon Press, 1986. Allen discusses contemporary Native American women poets and novelists, including Linda Hogan, in a context of woman-centered tribal values.

Balassi, William, et al., eds. This Is About Vision: Interviews with Southwestern Writers. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990.

Bell, Betty Louise, ed. Studies in American Indian Literature 6 (Fall, 1994). Special issue on Linda Hogan; provides multiple points of view on Hogan’s work.

Brice, Jennifer. “Earth as Mother, Earth as Other in Novels by Silko and Hogan.” Critique 39, no. 3 (1998): 127-138. Analyzes Hogan’s depiction of Native American attitudes toward and myths about the earth in Mean Spirit.

Bruchac, Joseph. Survival This Way: Interview with American Indian Poets. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1987.

Crawford, John, William Balassi, and Annie O. Eysturoy. This Is About Vision: Interviews with Southwestern Writers. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990. Places Hogan in context with other Native American writers through parallel interviews with Joy Harjo, N. Scott Momaday, and Luci Tapahanso. Hogan’s interview, by Patricia Clark Smith, includes discussion of early life, fiction, poetry, and work at a wild animal shelter.

Donaldson, John K. “As Long as the Waters Shall Run: The ‘Obstructed Water’ Metaphor in American Indian Fiction.” American Studies International 40, no. 2 (2002): 73-93. Hogan is one of four writers whose use of “obstructed water” as a metaphor for the relationship between Indian and white culture is analyzed.

Fitz, Karsten. “Native and Christian: Religion and Spirituality as Transcultural Negotiation in American Indian Novels of the 1990’s.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 26, no. 2 (2002): 1-15. Analyzes Mean Spirit along with Sherman Alexie’s Reservation Blues.

Jaskoski, Helen. Review of Calling...

(This entire section contains 485 words.)

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Myself Home, by Linda Hogan. SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures 6, no. 1 (1986): 9-10. Sees the themes of metamorphosis and transformation as central to Hogan’s vision.

Krupat, Arnold. “Facing the Page.” The American Book Review 15 (July/August, 1990). Proposes that the interconnection of the spiritual and material is the key to Hogan’s work.

Rainwater, Catherine. “Intertextual Twins and Their Relations: Linda Hogan’s Mean Spirit and Solar Storms.” Modern Fiction Studies 45, no. 1 (1999): 93-113. Analyzes Hogan’s use of the image of twins as a representation of collective existence and spiritual connection.

Smith, Patricia Clark. “Linda Hogan.” In This Is About Vision:Interviews with Southwestern Writers, edited by William Balassi, John F. Crawford, and Annie O. Eysturoy. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990. Provides good background on Hogan’s early life and her view of her craft and her role as a writer. Includes discussion of her early life, fiction, poetry, and environmental work.

Walter, Roland. “Pan-American (Re)Visions: Magical Realism and Amerindian Cultures in Susan Power’s The Grass Dancer, Gioconda Belli’s La Mujer Habitada, Linda Hogan’s Power, and Mario Vargas Llosa’s El Hablador.” American Studies International 37, no. 3 (1999): 63-80. Hogan is one of four writers whose use of Magical Realist techniques is analyzed.


Critical Essays