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 her poems, 130 poems in all spanning four decades, edited and introduced by Terrance Hayes. Rejected by the elites during her lifetime, here's what people are saying now: --"Wanda Coleman is not just wickedly wise, she is transcendent." The Washington Post --"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 --"Her work pushes us to confront injustice with as much candor as she did." Poetry --"Required Reading" Bustle 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.
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About the Author
Wanda Coleman--poet, storyteller and journalist--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 is the first new collection of her work since her death in 2013.
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 Times Critics' 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.
"Wanda Coleman is not just wickedly wise, she is transcendent."--The Washington Post
Wicked Enchantment: Selected Poems "Wanda Coleman was a great poet, a real in-the-flesh, flesh-eating poet who also happened to be a real black woman. Amid a life of single motherhood, multiple marriages, and multiple jobs that included waitress, medical file clerk, and screenwriter, she made poems. She denounced boredom, cowardice, the status quo. Few poets of any stripe write with as much forthrightness about poverty, about literary ambition, about depression, about our violent, fragile passions." --Terrance Hayes
The Riot Inside Me: More Trial and Tremors "Coleman is best known for her 'warrior voice.' [But her] voice too can weep elegiac, summoning memories of childhood's neighborhoods - her South L.A.'s wild-frond palms, the smog-smear of pre-ecology consciousness. Her voice hits notes as desperate as Billie Holiday's tours of sorrow's more desolate stretches. But it can also land a wily punch line as solid as that of a stand-up comic."--Los Angeles Times
Mercurochrome "Wanda Coleman's poetry stings, stains, and ultimately helps heal wounds like the old-fashioned mercurochrome of her title. No easy remedy for the lacerating American concerns of racism and gender bias, Coleman's poetry transforms pain into empathy. . . these searing, soaring poems challenge us to repair the fractures of human difference, and feel what it is to be made whole again."--The National Book Award Poetry Judges 2001, Stanley Plumly, Chair
Bathwater Wine "A poet whose angry and extravagant music, so far beyond baroque, has been making itself heard across the divide between West Coast and East, establishment and margins, slams and seminars, across the too-American rift among races and genders." --from the jury's citation for the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize
Hand Dance "Coleman's poems are an act of liberation, meant to be experienced as something almost physical, like a punch or a whipping . . . she wants her language to express anger, to incite anger, and to shake all those who read it out of their complacency."--The Nation
War of Eyes "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
Imagoes "Hard, brilliant strokes shot through with street music . . ."--Booklist