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