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Wicked Enchantment

Selected Poems

Wanda Coleman Terrance Hayes



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02 July 2021
A voice for justice, anti-racism, and equality - here is the greatest and most powerful work of the 'L. A. Blueswoman' This is the first ever UK publication of the poetry of Wanda Coleman- a beat-up, broke Black woman who wrote with anger, humour and clarity about her life on the margins, and who went overlooked by the establishment for much of her career even as she was known colloquially as the 'unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles'.

Nobody wrote about police hassle like she did. Nobody wrote about poverty, about making do with what's on hand, about the slave trade or about their personal vendetta against slow walkers in the supermarket, in quite the same way. Wicked Enchantment gathers 130 of Coleman's best poems, spanning some four decades, in a selection by Terrance Hayes. Mary Karr has called it 'hateful and hilarious, heartbroke and hellbent'; the Washington Post says that 'Wanda Coleman is not just wickedly wise, she is transcendent'; the New Yorker calls her 'one of the greatest poets ever to come out of L. A.' Brutal, hilarious, triumphant, wild and paradoxically, sometimes horrifically precise, these are not poems written for a course, for establishment approval or for polite applause; they were written because Coleman had to write what she saw and felt, and 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.
By:   Wanda Coleman
Edited by:   Terrance Hayes
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 21mm
Weight:   250g
ISBN:   9780141995830
ISBN 10:   0141995831
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   02 July 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Wanda Coleman was born in the Watts neighbourhood of Los Angeles in 1946. Her first collection was Mad Dog Black Lady, published in 1979 by Black Sparrow Press, who would remain her publisher for the rest of her life. Early fellowships were followed by years of limited recognition, during which she wrote a number of books including American Sonnets (1994). The selection of Mercurochrome (2001) as a National Book Awards finalist began to breathe new life into her reputation. In 2012, she won the Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Award. She died in 2013.

Reviews for Wicked Enchantment: Selected Poems

In this sure, wise and devastating collection, Coleman pushes against the limitations of language ... I cried many times while reading but also laughed enormously. What a joy of a book -- Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of OPEN WATER Wanda Coleman is not just wickedly wise, she is transcendent * Washington Post * Wanda Coleman's peerless Wicked Enchantment has words to crack you open and heal you where it counts - hateful and hilarious, heartbroke and hellbent. All honor to her name -- Mary Karr, author of THE LIARS' CLUB Wanda Coleman gives literary voice to thoughts on survival, as a Black woman who suffers economic, racist and misogynistic attack. Essential reading for all -- Roger Robinson, author of A PORTABLE PARADISE One of the greatest poets ever to come out of LA * New Yorker * Coleman is master of telling unvarnished truths - about self, about the world, about personal past and our collective future * Los Angeles Times * Her work pushes us to confront injustice with as much candor as she did * Poetry * Her works crackle with life ... aching and meditative * Booklist * Sassy, funny, and wickedly sharp ... there are more than a dozen poems in Hayes's astute gathering that should be widely anthologized, certainly as much as any poem by Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, or [Frank] O'Hara ... Wicked Enchantment should help set the record straight: Coleman is a great American poet -- John Yau * Hyperallergic *

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