Wanda Coleman

(1946 - 2013)

Wanda Coleman
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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... more »

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Best Poem of Wanda Coleman

American Sonnet (10)

after Lowell


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
seed of blight and here eternal torches mark
the shame of Moloch's mansions
built in slavery's name. our hungered eyes
do see/refuse the dark
illuminate the blood-soaked steps of each
historic gain. a yearning
yearning to avenge the raping of the womb
from which we spring

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