• Wanda Coleman: winner of the Poetry Society of America’s 2012 Shelley Memorial Award!

Wanda Coleman blends inherited memory with the reality of her present through an idiom that oscillates seamlessly between natural imagery and the urban edifice of Los Angeles.  The close of the seventh strophe of the title poem gives a quick glimpse of all Coleman’s acerbic, probing elegance:

great granddad makes the Oklahoma land rush

slave of city
i bow before the ashes
the cold black tar my skin sticks
each move agony
i can’t get out of it

fuck me. make it hurt.

– “Imagoes”

Coleman is best known for what has often been termed her ‘warrior voice’ … Coleman’s poet’s voice too can weep elegiac, summoning memories of her childhood’s neighborhoods – her South L.A.’s wild-frond palms, the smog smear of pre-ecology consciousness.
LA Times

Hard, brilliant strokes shot through with street music . . .

Wanda Coleman—poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist—was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. Coleman was awarded the prestigious 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for Bathwater Wine from the American Academy of Poets, becoming the first African-American woman to ever win the prize, and was a bronze-medal finalist for the 2001 National Book Award for Poetry for MercurochromeWicked Enchantment: Selected Poems was the first new collection of her work since her death in 2013.

+ Six poets came together with Black Sparrow Press to celebrate the publication of Wicked Enchantment: Selected Poems. Mahogany L. Browne, Terrance Hayes, Dorothea Lasky, Rachel McKibbens, Patricia Smith, and Amber Tamblyn read from, and discuss, Coleman’s influential work. | Watch

+ Poetry Foundation on Wanda Coleman | Read
+ “Remembering Wanda Coleman” Los Angeles Times | Read
+ Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award | Read
+ “Remembering Wanda Coleman” by Amber Tamblyn | Read
+ Obituary: Wanda Coleman Los Angeles Times | Read

VIEW (Poems from Wicked Enchantment)
+ “I Live for My Car” | Watch
+ “Wanda Why Aren’t You Dead” | Watch
+ “They Came Knocking On My Door at 7 AM” | Watch

+ Wanda Coleman Interviewed (2002) | Listen