Wanda Coleman captures urban African-American experience with a unique and vibrant energy. Her work, which responds angrily to the plight of the city, is also characterized by a sense of humor and a warm, forgiving humanity. Her books present a cross-section of inner city life, telling the stories of single mothers, pimps, drug addicts, and other people in desperate circumstances struggling to get by and to make something of their lives despite the dice that are loaded against them.
Poets such as e.e. cummings, John Berryman, and Ted Berrigan have taken the sonnet form away from its European base and made them uniquely American forms. Pablo Neruda made distinctly Latin American sonnets. Now Wanda Coleman has extended the form to include sonnets that are not only uniquely American, they are uniquely and emphatically African-American.
"A modern day Langston Hughes. She writes movingly of the double oppression of being both a woman and an African-American."
"She is funny and mean and for real. A wise woman. A mad dog. A super-deft maker of poems and stories that shift and stun."
And for more great poetry, check out Light and Dust Poets.
This sturdy book, with a slyly subversive cover, is available for $5.00 from
720 E. Locust St.
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Small Press Distribution
American Sonnets is co-published by Light and Dust Books and Woodland Pattern Book Center.
Additional credits and references:
Photo by Susan Carpendale.
American Sonnets 1 and 2 were previously published in African Sleeping Sickness and Sonnets 3 through 11 were previously published in Hand Dance both issued by Black Sparrow. These books are also available through Woodland Pattern and Small Press Distribution.