- Wanda Coleman: winner of the Poetry Society of America’s 2012 Shelley Memorial Award!
In this extraordinary collection of short stories, Wanda Coleman, a poet who grew up in the Watts area of Los Angeles, turns an eye on lives that “mainstream” America wishes would somehow go away. She chronicles the not-so-quiet desperation of the poor and black urban dweller and gives voice to their unending struggle to keep afloat in a hard-scrabble environment circumscribed by racism and poverty.
With surgical precision, she cuts through the many-layered myths and mysteries that make up the American Dream and lays open the lives of the underclass. She plunges in deeply and plucks from this subterranean stream a record of pain and the humor and grace necessary for survival.
These are extraordinary stories, told in a powerful voice. This is the painful reality of the powerlessness that is too often shrouded in bureaucratic anonymity—a probation number, a welfare case number. Coleman, with her fine poet’s eye and strong intense language, brings to life their somber existences.
—Los Angeles Times Book Review, front page