Mercurochrome : new poems

by Coleman, Wanda.

Format: Print Book 2001
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction PS3553.O47447 M4 2001
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  PS3553.O47447 M4 2001

A self-made writer from Black Los Angeles who lived every day with racism, poverty, violence. The triumph is in words that endure. "Having Lost My Son, I Confront the Wreckage." "The Language Beneath the Language." "They Will Not Be Poets." "Dreams Without Means." "American Sonnets." This is vintage Coleman, the poet of the people.

National Book Award in Poetry finalist, Mercurochrome is one of Coleman's most powerful collections. With humor, anger, and sorrow, she captures the deeply personal and societal forces of a Black working woman and mother, always behind in rent, always writing. She captured her world and its truths with beauty, harshness, clarity, and power. Through it all, there is passionate love and sexuality, humor and drama -- her work is full of startling confession and breathtaking power.

as i live it seems more like mercurochrome
than anything else
i can conjure up. it looks so pretty and red,
and smells of a balmy
coolness when you uncap the little applicator.
but swab it on an
open sore and you nearly die under the stabbing
burn. recovery
leaves a vague tenderness

Terrance Hayes says, "Wanda Coleman was a great poet, a real in-the-flesh, flesh-eating poet who also happened to be a real black woman. Amid a life of single motherhood, multiple marriages, and multiple jobs that included waitress, medical file clerk, and screenwriter, she made poems. She denounced boredom, cowardice, the status quo. Few poets of any stripe write with as much forthrightness about poverty, about literary ambition, about depression, about our violent, fragile passions."

A college drop-out, spurned by the literary establishment during her life, it's time for Wanda Coleman's courageous, impassioned, one-of-a-kind voice to reach readers everywhere.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: ""i am an outlaw, they assert./ there's a ten-digit number stamped on my frontal lobe." This sprawling eleventh collection of poems from the Los Angeles-based Coleman finds her zig-zagging between continuations of series begun in American Sonnets and the 1999 Lenore Marshall Prize-winning Bathwater Wine, and grief-stricken ruminations written out of her son's early death from cancer. Coleman, long a front-line voice in the battle against America's seemingly endless supply of institutionalized racism, sets her sights on store owners, academicians, and the brands of social hypocrisy particular to her home city: "the intellectuals are walking/ around with Boy Scout knives/ buried in their brains/ while over three hundred corpses a year/ are found rotting in Griffith Park." The six sections of the book are sharply set off via subject matter, with the dream-shaped, long-form meditations on consciousness in "A Kingdom of Clouds" and the smoldering race-based critiques in "Metaphysically Niggerish" especially strong. An eighty-one page section of imitations and transliterations of poets from Ammons to Zukofsky (using Mark Strand's anthology The Contemporary American Poets as a source) serves as a different kind of departure point, as Coleman creates dialogs with mostly White poets through a close study and recasting of their own lines: "The academy of the future has closed doors. / It is unwilling books banned, curtains drawn." (after John Ashbery) The book's length at times dilutes the poetry's overall power, perhaps a by-product of Black Sparrow's insistence on long manuscripts from its authors, but this is a minor complaint. In her mid-fifties, with a formidable collection of work already behind her, Coleman's emotional depth and battered, unwavering search for private and public levels of justice continues to expand. (Aug.) Forecast: Coleman has long published her novels (including Mambo Hips and Make Believe) short stories and many poetry collections with Santa Barbara-based Black Sparrow. This book will be well reviewed in the small-press community, and should generate larger-press interest in a selected or collected. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Publisher Santa Rosa, CA :Black Sparrow Press,2001
Language English
Description 270 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 1574231553 (signed cloth : alk. paper)
1574231537 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1574231545 (cloth trade : alk. paper)
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