Biography of Wanda Coleman
Wanda Coleman (birth name, Wanda Evans; November 13, 1946 – November 22, 2013) was an American poet. She was known as "the L.A. Blueswoman," and "the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles."
Coleman was born Wanda Evans, and grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles during the 1960s. She received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The NEA, and the California Arts Council (in fiction and in poetry). She was the first C.O.L.A. literary fellow (Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, 2003). Her numerous honors included an Emmy in Daytime Drama writing, The 1999 Lenore Marshall Prize (for "Bathwater Wine"), and a nomination for the 2001 National Book Awards (for "Mercurochrome"). She was a finalist for California poet laureate (2005).
While critically acclaimed for her creative writing, Coleman's greatest notoriety came as a result of an unfavorable review she wrote in the April 14, 2002 edition of The Los Angeles Times Book Review of Maya Angelou's book, A Song Flung Up to Heaven. Coleman found the book to be "small and inauthentic, without ideas wisdom or vision". There was a huge outpouring some positive and much negative, which resulted in Coleman's invitation to certain events being cancelled. Her account of this incident appeared as an essay in the August 29, 2002 edition of The Nation.
Wanda Coleman Poems
American Sonnet (10)
after Lowell our mothers wrung hell and hardtack from row
In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Fore...
we were never caught we partied the southwest, smoked it from L.A. to El Dorado worked odd jobs between delusions of escape
bed calls. i sit in the dark in the living room trying to ignore them in the morning, especially Sunday mornings
the fall of velvet plum points and umber aureolae remember living
American Sonnet (35)
boooooooo. spooky ripplings of icy waves. this umpteenth time she returns--this invisible woman long on haunting short on ectoplasm
the thief has made me a gift of his night's booty somewhere, a daughter discovers her mother's coral brooch missing, somewhere, a man recoils at the absence
The Saturday Afternoon Blues
Can kill you can fade your life away friends are all out shopping
American Sonnet (10)
our mothers wrung hell and hardtack from row
and boll. fenced others'
gardens with bones of lovers. embarking
from Africa in chains
reluctant pilgrims stolen by Jehovah's light
planted here the bitter