Paula Gunn Allen


Paula Gunn Allen, Laguna, Sioux and Lebanese, is a poet, novelist and critic. She was born in Cubero, New Mexico, the middle of 5 children, having 2 older sisters and 2 younger brothers. She grew up on the Laguna Pueblo, beneath Mt. Taylor. Her early education was at St. Vincent's Academy in Albuquerque, followed by mission school in the pueblo town of San Fidel after 7th grade. She began her college education at Colorado's Womans College, but interrupted her education to marry. She had two children (1 son and 1 daughter) and was divorced a few years later. She then obtained her B.A. in 1966 and M.F.A. in 1968 at the University of Oregon. Her second marriage produced twin sons, one of whom died as an infant. This marriage also ended in divorce. While completing her doctorate, she taught at DeAnza Community College and the University of New Mexico. She obtained her Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico in 1976.

Paula spent a post-doctoral year at UCLA, and then moved to the University of California at Berkeley, where she held a postdoctoral fellowship from the Ford Foundation and the National Research Council to study the oral tradition elements in Native American literature. She has also been an Associate Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Institute. She has taught at Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO, the College of San Mateo, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, where she was the director of the Native American Studies Program, the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and the University of California at Berkeley, where she was Professor of Native American / Ethnic Studies. She retired from her position as Professor of English/Creative Writing/American Indian Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1999. Her son, Eugene John, died in 2001 at the age of 42.

"And Then, Twenty Years Later . . .": A Conversation with Paula Gunn Allen by John Purdy
reprinted from Studies in American Indian Literatures, 9(3), 1997 Fall.

Paula's entry in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 175: Native American Writers of the United States, by Ann E. Reuman (Kenneth Roemer, Editor), The Gale Group.

Annotations on Paula's poem Dear World from the Hippocrates Project at the New York University School of Medicine.

A short biography from Contemporary Authors Online, The Gale Group.

Another short biography and critique from Contemporary Literary Criticism, The Gale Group.

Contact Paula Gunn Allen

A short biography from the Internet Public Library's Native American Author's Project is available.

A list of Paula's Journal publications is available.

Writing available online

Hoop Dancer
Taking a Visitor to See the Ruins
Kopis'taya (A Gathering of Spirits)
American Indian Fiction, 1968-1983 in A Literary History of the American West


Paula received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writer's Circle of the Americas in 2001.

Paula Gunn Allen received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation in 1990 for Spider Woman's Granddaughters: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing. She also received the Susan Koppelman Award from the Popular and American Culture Associations and the Native American Prize for Literature.

In 1981 she was a postdoctoral fellow in American Indian Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles and received a postdoctoral fellowship grant from the Ford Foundation-National Research Council in 1984.

In 1978, Paula received a writing fellowship from The National Endowment for the Arts.

Books by Paula Gunn Allen or containing her work

Poetry       icon

Life Is a Fatal Disease : Collected Poems 1962-1995, West End Press.
Star Child, Blue Cloud Quarterly Press.
Skins and Bones : Poems, 1979-1987 West End Press.
Wyrds, Taurean Horn Press.
Shadow Country (Native American Series), Amer Indian Studies Center.
A cannon between my knees, Strawberry Press.
Coyote's Daylight Trip, La Confluencia.
Blind Lion, Thorp Springs Press.

Prose and Compilations       icon

Pocahontas : Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat, HarperSanFrancisco.
Outfoxing Coyote, That Painted Horse Press.
Off the Reservation : Reflections on Boundary-Busting Border-Crossing Loose Canons, Beacon Press.
The Woman Who Owned the Shadows, (a novel) Aunt Lute Books.
Columbus & Beyond : Views from Native Americans,
Southwest Parks & Monuments.
The Sacred Hoop : Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions
With a New Preface, Beacon Press.
Spider Woman's Granddaughters:
Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women Fawcett Books
A review of Spider Woman's Granddaughters in the New York Times Book Review online edition.
A review of Spider Woman's Granddaughters by Sandra M. Gilbert, Princeton University.
Women in American Indian Mythology, Abc-Clio.
Grandmothers of the Light : A Medicine Woman's Sourcebook, Beacon Press.
As Long As the Rivers Flow : The Stories of Nine Native Americans,
with Patricia Clark Smith, Scholastic Trade.
Voice of the Turtle : American Indian Literature 1900-1970, Ballantine Books.
A review of Voice of the Turtle: American Indian Literature 1900 to 1970 by Steve Brock
Song of the Turtle : American Indian Fiction 1974-1994, Ballantine Books.
Gossips, Gorgons & Crones : The Fates of the Earth, Jane Caputi,
Introduction by Paula Gunn Allen, Bear & Co.
Studies in American Indian Literature : Critical Essays and Course Designs,
Modern Language Association of America.
Song of the Sky: Versions of Native American Songs and Poems,
Brian Swann, Barry O'Connell (Editors), Four Zoas Night House. Forward by Paula Gunn Allen.
From the Center: A Folio of Native American Art and Poetry,
(Editor), Strawberry Hill Press.
Sipapu: A Cultural Perspective, Dissertation, University of New Mexico Press.

Anthologies containing Paula's Work       icon

Eating Fire, Tasting Blood: Breaking the Great Silence of the American Indian Holocaust. MariJo Moore (Editor), Thunder's Mouth Pr. [2006]
Genocide of the Mind, Marijo Moore (Editor), Thunder's Mouth Press.
Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry,
Janice Gould and Dean Rader (Editors), Univ. Arizona Press.
Hozho: Walking In Beauty, co-editor (with Carolyn Dunn Anderson),
Contemporary Books/McGraw-Hill, 2001
Natives and Academics: Researching and Writing about American Indians
Edited by Devon A. Mihesuah, University of Nebraska Press.
Reinventing the Enemy's Language : Contemporary Native Women's Writing of North America
(Edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird), W.W. Norton. (Hardback)
The Ethnic Canon: Histories, Institutions, and Interventions,
David Palumbo-Liu (Editor), Univ of Minnesota Press. (Hardcover)
Smoke Rising : The Native North American Literary Companion,
Janet Witalec, Visible Ink Press.
My Lover Is a Woman : Contemporary Lesbian Love Poems, Leslea Newman (Editor),
Ballantine Books.
Coming to Light : American Women Poets in the Twentieth Century,
Diane Middlebrook (Editor), Univ of Michigan Press.
A Literary History of the American West,
J. Golden Taylor, Thomas J. Lyon (Editor), Texas Christian Univ Press.
The Desert Is No Lady : Southwestern Landscapes in Women's Writing and Art,
Vera Norwood & Janice Monk (Editors), University of Arizona Press.
Literature and the Visual Arts in Contemporary Society,
Suzanne Ferguson, Barbara Groseclose (Editors), Ohio State Univ Press.
A Circle of Nations : Voices and Visions of American Indians,
John Gattuso (Editor), Beyond Words Pubublishing Co.
Coyote was here : essays on contemporary Native American literary and political mobilization
Bo Scholer (Editor), Aarhus, Denmark : Seklos.
Talking Leaves : Contemporary Native American Short Stories
by Craig Lesley, Katheryn Stavrakis (Editor) Dell Books
The Remembered Earth : An Anthology of Contemporary Native American Literature
by Geary Hobson (Editor), University of New Mexico Press
Earth Power Coming : Short Fiction in Native American Literature
Ed. by Simon J. Ortiz, Navajo Community College Press
That's What She Said : Contemporary Poetry and Fiction by Native American Women,
by Rayna Green (Editor) Indiana University Press.
Songs from This Earth on Turtle's Back : An Anthology of Poetry by American Indian Writers
by Joseph Bruchac (Editor), Greenfield Review Press.
Wounds Beneath the Flesh, Maurice Kenny (Editor), White Pine Press.
Harper's Anthology of 20th Century Native American Poetry
Duane Niatum (Editor), HarperCollins
All the Good Indians, in The 60s, without Apology,
Sayers, Sohnya; Stephanson, Anders; Aronowitz, Stanley; Jameson, Fredric (Editors), University of Minnesota Press.

Interviews with or Essays on Paula Gunn Allen's Work      

Contemporary Authors : Biography - Allen, Paula Gunn (1939-), Thomson Gale.
Pocahontas' voice: a conversation with Paula Gunn Allen, An article from: The Women's Review of Books by Joanne M. Braxton.
Other Words: American Indian Literature, Law, and Culture (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies Series),
Jace Weaver, Univ. Oklahoma Press.
That the People Might Live : Native American Literatures and Native American Community, Jace Weaver, Oxford University Press.
Feminist Readings of Native American Literature: Coming to Voice,
Kathleen M. Donovan, University of Arizona Press. (Hardcover)
"And Then, Twenty Years Later . . .": A Conversation with Paula Gunn Allen (available online)
John Purdy, Studies in American Indian Literatures, 9, 5, 1997 Fall.
Native American Writers of the United States, (Dictionary of Literary Biography, V. 175),
Kenneth M. Roemer (Editor), Gale Research.
Women Reading Women Writing:
Self-Invention in Paula Gunn Allen, Gloria Anzaldua and Audre Lorde,
Analouise Keating, Temple University Press, 1996. (Hardcover)
Healing Through Traditional Stories and Storytelling in Contemporary Native American Fiction,
Ph.D. Dissertation, Jian Shi, Lehigh University.
Guerilla Ethnography
Ph.D. Dissertation, Renae Moore Bredin, University of Arizona.
'A House of Difference': Constructions of the Lesbian Poet in Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich and Paula Gunn Allen,
Ph.D. Dissertation, Sagari Dhairyam, University of Illinois.
Through Landscape Toward Story/ Through Story Toward Landscape: A stusdy of Four Native American Women Poets,
Ph.D. Dissertation, Nancy Helene Lang, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Theatre and Feminist Aesthetics, Karen Laughlin and Catherine Schuler (Editors),
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.
Critical Essays : Gay and Lesbian Writers of Color
Emmanuel S. Nelson (Editor), Harrington Park Press.
Memory, Narrative, and Identity : New Essays in Ethnic American Literatures,
Amritjit Singh, Joseph T. Skerrett, Robert E. Hogan (Editors), Northeastern Univ Press.
Lesbian Texts and Contexts
Karla Jay, Joanne Glasgow (Editors), New York Univ Press.
Listening to Native Americans: Making Peace with the Past for the Future
John Barry Ryan, in Listening: Journal of Religion and Culture, Vol. 31, No.1 Winter 1996, pp. 24-36.
Contemporary Lesbian Writers of the United States: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook,
Sandra Pollack and Denise Knight, Greenwood Press.
The Search for a Woman-Centered Spirituality,
Annette Van Dyke, New York University Press. (Hardcover)
Contemporary Literary Criticism,
Deborah A. Stanley, Jeff Chapman, Pamela S. Dear (Editors), Gale Research.
Native North American Literature:
Biographical and Critical Information on Native Writers and Orators from the United States and Canada, Janet Witalec, Jeffery Chapman (Editor), Gale Research.
Winged Words: American Indian Writers Speak, Laura Coltelli,
University of Nebraska Press.
I Tell You Now : Autobiographical Essays by Native American Writers,
Brian Swann, Arnold Krupat, Brompton Books Corp.
American Indian Literatures: An Introduction, Bibliographic Review and Selected Bibliography,
A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff, Modern Language Association. (Hardcover)
This is About Vision: Interviews with Southwestern Writers,
J. F. Crawford, William Balassi and Annie O. Eysturoy (Editors), University of New Mexico Press. Annie O. Eysturoy's Interview with Paula is available in the Gale Literary Databases.
Paula Gunn Allen, Elizabeth J. Hanson, Boise State University.
Excerpt from the book available from Gale Literary Databases.
Lesbian Texts and Contexts: Radical Revisions,
Karla Jay and Joanne Glasgow (Editors), New York University Press.
The Journey Back to Female Roots: A Laguna Pueblo Model by Annette Van Dyke, from this book.
Survival This Way : Interviews With American Indian Poets
Joseph Bruchac III (Editor), (Sun Tracks Books, No 15) University of Arizona Press.
Native American Renaissance, Kenneth Lincoln, University of California Press.
The Now Day Indi'ns, excerpt from this book.
American Indian Women:Telling Their Lives,
Gretchen M. Bataille and Kathleen M. Sands (Editors), University of Nebraska Press.
Four Indian Poets, John R. Milton, University of South Dakota Press.
Women and Western American Literature,
Helen Winter Stauffer & Susan J. Rosowski (Editors), Whitston Publications.
Paula Gunn Allen and Joy Harjo: Closing the Distance between Personal and Mythic Space,
by James Ruppert, American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring, 1983

In Association with

This is an "official" site in that this page was constructed with the assistance and active collaboration of the poet, Paula Gunn Allen.

© 1998 Paula Gunn Allen and Karen Strom.

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