Look At This Blue
Author: Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
Publisher: Coffee House Press (2022)
Interweaving elegy, indictment, and hope into a love letter to California, Look At This Blue examines America's genocidal past and present to warn of a future threatened by mass extinction and climate peril.
Truths about what we have lost and have yet to lose permeate this book-length poem by American Book Award winner and Fulbright scholar Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. An assemblage of historical record and lyric fragments, these poems form a taxonomy of threatened lives—human, plant, and animal—in a century marked by climate emergency. Look at This Blue insists upon a reckoning with and redress of America’s continuing violence toward Earth and its peoples, as Hedge Coke’s cataloguing of loss crescendos into resistance.
“Allison Adelle Hedge Coke is one of the most important and innovative environmental writers of our time. Look at This Blue urgently asks us to see the wondrous biodiversity of the planet amidst the violent ravages of colonialism, capitalism, and ecological imperialism. Throughout, this cyclical poem sows dreams of a ‘bettering world’ where our relationships with the earth and more-than-human species are replenished through justice, protection, and love.”
—Craig Santos Perez
“Allison Adelle Hedge Coke sings California with a garden of images, all life, named and splendidly watered by bewitching words—but this is no romantic paean. She documents genocide, massacres, slavery, arsons, lies, the laments of the pushed out and knocked down. Here’s the hardest truth, wrapped in lyric.”
—Luis J. Rodríguez
“Look at This Blue is a fiercely pulsating journey of love and despair. The earth crackles, the body heaves in these wrenching snapshots of personal, historical, and environmental disasters. You want to look away, but you can’t, as Allison Hedge Coke chronicles all the ways we are broken, our bone-deep griefs. Above and beneath these losses, she offers us singular joys: the trill of sandhill cranes, a girl with ‘eyes the green of August,’ small porpoises that ‘undulate in air.’ A list of resources at the end urges us toward the work of survival. We are still on the hook.”