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Wicked Enchantment

Wicked Enchantment

Selected Poems

by Wanda Coleman
Edited & Introduced by Terrance Hayes

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Product Details

Black Sparrow Press

ISBN: 978-1-57423-237-0
Pages: 224
Size: 6 x 9
Published: April 2020
Limited Edition
ISBN: 2370LE
Pages: 222
Size: 6 x 9
Published: October 2020
ISBN: 978-1-57423-246-2
Pages: 224
Size: 6 x 9 in
Published: March 2021
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  • "Best Poetry of 2020" The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Irish Times
  • Winner California Independent Booksellers Alliance's 2020 Golden Poppy Award for Poetry

A voice for justice, anti-racism, and equality—here is the greatest and most powerful work of the people’s poet, Wanda Coleman.

One of the most talked about literary collections of the year is this collection by a beat-up, broke, and Black woman who wrote with anger, humor, and clarity about her life on the margins. Wicked Enchantment: Selected Poems is a selection of 130 of Coleman's poems spanning four decades, edited and introduced by Terrance Hayes.

Brutal. Hilarious. Triumphant. These are not poems written for a college class, establishment approval, or polite applause; these poems were written because Ms. Coleman had to write what she saw and felt, and she wrote brilliantly. Few if any writers, before or since, have had the courage to write with such honesty about the daily experience of life in a racist world. 


A cloth-spined limited edition of Wicked Enchantment has been signed and numbered by editor Terrance Hayes and is available now as supply lasts.


“Wanda Coleman is not just wickedly wise, she is transcendent.” —The Washington Post

 “These poems are wildly fun and inventive . . . and frequently hilarious; they seem to cover every human experience and emotion…” —The New York Times

“Wanda Coleman’s work has that ineffable quality that accompanies poetry you understand in your belly and your head.... It is an unmistakable style that propels a Coleman poem, and draws us into it.” —Reginald Dwayne Betts

“Hateful and hilarious, heartbroke and hellbent.” —Mary Karr, New York Times bestselling author

“One of the greatest poets ever to come out of L.A.” —The New Yorker

“One of the most exciting, original, deliciously dangerous voices of the 20th century.” —The Irish Times

 “Her work pushes us to confront injustice with as much candor as she did.” —Poetry

“Poems laced with a spitfire passion and erupting intelligence . . . Wicked Enchantment is emphatic, explosive . . . a lesson on reimagining the place and usefulness of anger in art and in life.” —The Telegraph (U.K.)

“Required Reading” —Bustle An essential retrospective.” —LitReactor

 “A handsome volume that includes many of her terrifying and fearlessly inventive sonnets.” —Cathy Park Hong, The New York Times

“As a poet, mother, Los Angeles native, Black woman, essayist, and more, Wanda Coleman was a master of honesty. Her writing is an artifact of a life defined by brilliance, outspokenness, and survival.” —SLICE

“Coleman’s poems are electric and profoundly inspiring. They set off sparks.” —The Florida Review

More praise for Wanda Coleman and Wicked Enchantment

“One of the greatest poets ever to come out of L.A., she shaped the city’s literary scene like few before her. . . . Rarely does a poet seem to want to take an already brutally brief form and speed it up. But Coleman’s sonnets are sprints, which is what makes their improvisations, modelled on American blues and jazz, so compelling.” —Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker

“In Wicked Enchantment, Coleman’s fans, new and old, will find some of her most vital challenges to American racism and its market-driven culture, rendered in her uniquely unsettling lyric voice. Her work pushes us to confront injustice with as much candor as she did—and with as much care.” —Lizzy Lerud, Poetry

“Coleman pulls the reader in with long, sinuous lines that keep driving forward, pulling you along. What further distinguishes her poetry, and installs it in its own domain, is her extravagant language — one detail is never enough; five are never too many.” —John Yau, Hyperallergic

Coleman remains more relevant than ever. . . the pieces here emit wicked candor, satire, sincerity, and tenderness.” —L.A. Taco

 “How many other poets can you think of who can say: ‘My anger knows no bounds—it’s unlimited. I’m a big lady, I can stand up in front of almost any man and cuss him out and have no fear—you know what I’m sayin’? Because I will go to blows.’ This is a big bold no-holds-barred American voice, and you’ll need to buy this book, and read your favorite Wanda poems aloud—about Emmett Till, about her raggedy-ass old car, about giving birth, about South Africa, about her body and her dreams, about this country we all live in, as she did, seeing herself ‘thrown heart first into this ruin.’ ” —David Gullette, The Arts Fuse

“Wanda Coleman’s poems combine manifesto and confession, inner and outer indictment, violence and tenderness, satire and sincerity.” —Terrance Hayes

“Wanda taught me how to dig for the dirt, to get on the page and stink up the place. She taught me not to be afraid of my anger—to use it.” —Amber Tamblyn

 “May be one of America’s best sonneteers but she was never celebrated as such during her lifetime because she didn’t play nice. Coleman was dismissed as too angry, too despairing, too contradictory, too unruly and too black.” —Cathy Park Hong, The New York Times

Wanda Coleman

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 Mercurochrome. Wicked Enchantment: Selected Poems was the first new collection of her work since her death in 2013. 

Author: Terrance Hayes
Terrance Hayes (editor) is the author of Lighthead (National Book Award winner) and, most recently, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York TimesCritics' Top Books of 2018)-both from Penguin Books. Hayes was awarded a MacArthur Genius Fellowship in 2014. Hayes served as the 2017-2018 poetry editor for New York Times Magazine, and was guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2014. Hayes lives in New York City.