About the Book
The time has never been better for this re-introduction of Wanda Coleman's work to a new audience of readers.
ONE OF THE YEAR'S BEST--The New York Times and Washington Post
A voice for justice, anti-racism, and equality--here is the greatest and most powerful work of the people's poet, Wanda Coleman.
Coleman was a beat-up, broke, and Black woman who wrote with anger, humor, and clarity. Wicked Enchantment: Selected Poems
is a selection of 130 of her poems, edited and introduced by Terrance Hayes. Rejected by the elites during her lifetime, here's what people are saying now:
--One of the year's best! "These poems are wildly fun and inventive . . . and frequently hilarious; they seem to cover every human experience and emotion."--New York Times
--Winner, California Independent Bookseller Alliance 'Golden Poppy' Book Award 2020 --"Required Reading" Bustle
--"One of the greatest poets ever to come out of L.A." The New Yorker --One of the year's best! "Fantastically entertaining and deeply engaging...potent distillations of creative rage, social critique, and subversive wit."--Washington Post
--"Her work pushes us to confront injustice with as much candor as she did."--Poetry
A self-made writer from Black Los Angeles, Wanda Coleman made art while living every day with racism, poverty, violence. Her triumph is in words that endure. It's time for Coleman's courageous, impassioned, inspiring, one-of-a-kind voice to reach readers everywhere.
MORE POETRY & PROSE BY WANDA COLEMAN FROM BLACK SPARROW PRESS Heart First into this Ruin
"Essential....one of the most important and surprising voices in American poetry."
--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Wanda Coleman, who died at the age of 67 in 2013, 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. As a single mother who grew up in Watts, Coleman was too honest about the failures of this nation's deep-rooted racism at a time when editors wanted Black poetry sandpapered down for white readers."
--Cathy Park Hong, The New York Times
"Poems of force and wisdom."
--Boston Globe Mercurochrome
"In the decade since her death, Coleman's greatness is gaining widespread recognition....Her radicalness here is not one of formal experimentation but of accountability for her damaged yet resilient psyche as a child born in 1946, during Jim Crow segregation. She gives voice to that which might otherwise remain unspoken."
-- Adam Bradley, New York Times' T Magazine 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 Imagoes
"Hard, brilliant strokes shot through with street music . . ."
--Booklist Native in a Strange Land: Trials & Tremors
"Her extraordinary eye for detail and personal perspective universalizes her experience and makes her observations both trenchant and reliable."
--Publisher's Weekly 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 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