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Wanda Coleman

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MAGAZINE
September 19, 1993
Public librarians are grateful to Wanda Coleman for her support ("Borrowed Time," Three on the Town, Aug. 15), but we are also shaking our heads over her possibly revisionist memory. While it was usually true that children could not check out adult materials on a child's library card, neither my colleagues nor I have experienced or even heard of a public library that segregated books into "boys" and "girls" sections. Most American public libraries were outgrowths of the proliferation of women's study groups between the 1870s and 1920s.
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ENTERTAINMENT
February 12, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Maggie Estep, novelist and spoken word artist, has died at age 50, the New York Times reported. Estep, who published seven books after her start on stage, suffered a heart attack two days ago at her home in Hudson, N.Y., and died Wednesday at a hospital in Albany. Estep was part of a generation of spoken word artists who had a surprisingly wide cultural impact. She appeared on HBO's "Def Poetry Jam" (an online clip includes explicit language) and MTV, and was a star of MTV's 1994 spoken word tour.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 23, 2013 | By Elaine Woo
Wanda Coleman, a provocative Los Angeles poet who wrote lyrically and often angrily about the trials of life in her native metropolis, commenting on poverty, sexuality, racial politics, crime and other urban tensions, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long illness. She was 67. Her death was confirmed by her husband, poet Austin Straus. A native of Watts, Coleman was long regarded as the city's unofficial poet laureate, who during a four-decade career wrote 22 books, including novels and collections of short stories and essays.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 23, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Poet Wanda Coleman died Friday after a long illness, her husband said. She was 67. Coleman was a key figure in the literary life of Los Angeles. She, as our book critic David Ulin recently wrote, "helped transform the city's literature. " She was a finalist for the National Book Award for her poetry collection "Mercurochrome" in 2001. Born and raised in Watts, Coleman often wrote of issues of race, class, poverty and disenfranchisement. "Words seem inadequate in expressing the anger and outrage I feel at the persistent racism that permeates every aspect of black American life," she once said.
BOOKS
May 30, 1993
things wait until funds are insufficient then deconstruct in concert the aura of fear offends management cultivate false confidence. to pretend one does not need is to muzzle resistance in the fractured mirror of public intercourse care for self beneath all distortions wisdom is an old wardrobe kept in good repair hunger is most attractive when gaunt generosity when opulent. practice the craft of lean-staying.
BOOKS
November 22, 1987
Cleveland and them hung out in that Watts cafe used to be across the tracks on a diagonal north of the workshop off 103rd. No women were allowed at that table unless being schemed upon, or of exceptional beauty. But I was a stubborn little mud hen at the fringe of the clique, starved for approval. So one day Cleveland and them was sitting at the table. Cleve and maybe Eric and one other brother. I boldly intruded on their exclusivity with my neat little sheaf of poems.
BOOKS
August 14, 1988 | Grace Edwards-Yearwood, Edwards-Yearwood's novel, "In the Shadow of the Peacock," was recently published by McGraw-Hill. and
In this extraordinary collection of short stories, Wanda Coleman, a poet who grew up in the Watts area of Los Angeles, turns a baleful eye on lives that "mainstream" America wishes would somehow go away: She chronicles the not-so-quiet desperation of the poor and black urban dweller and gives voice to their unending struggle to keep afloat in a hard-scrabble environment circumscribed by racism and poverty.
MAGAZINE
August 2, 1992
When I finished reading the column, I thought, "I wonder if Wanda Coleman knows that she's a racist?" MILLIE DE ROSE San Fernando
BOOKS
December 2, 1990
By WANDA COLEMAN steam rises over my nose against this night cold empty room as wide as my throat; eases/flows river a mocha memory from aunt ora's kitchen. she made it in the big tin percolator and poured the brew into thick white fist-sized mugs and put lots of sugar and milk in it for me and the other kids who loved it better than chocolate and the neighbor woman used to tell her and us it wasn't good for young colored children to drink.
MAGAZINE
September 20, 1992
It is beyond my comprehension that you would publish "Pulling a Fast One" by Wanda Coleman (Guest Bites Town, Aug. 9). She may indeed be a poet, but driving 110 miles an hour on the highway for thrills will soon qualify her for the Dead Poet's Society. Hopefully, it will be a single car accident that does her in, and she will not take any law-abiding citizens with her. RUTH M. NERLICH Glendale
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 23, 2013 | By Elaine Woo
Wanda Coleman, a provocative Los Angeles poet who wrote lyrically and often angrily about the trials of life in her native metropolis, commenting on poverty, sexuality, racial politics, crime and other urban tensions, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long illness. She was 67. Her death was confirmed by her husband, poet Austin Straus. A native of Watts, Coleman was long regarded as the city's unofficial poet laureate, who during a four-decade career wrote 22 books, including novels and collections of short stories and essays.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 23, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Wanda Coleman was a force of nature. The last time I saw her, in early 2012, she took over a panel we were on at 826LA. The subject was Los Angeles literature - something Coleman, who died Friday at the age of 67 after a long illness, embodied at the very center of her being - and all of us, her fellow panelists, were more than happy to sit back and listen to her talk. There was that magnificent voice, for one thing: resonant, oratorical, deep with experience. And then, of course, there was everything she had to say. Coleman was the conscience of the L.A. literary scene - a poet, essayist and fiction writer who helped transform the city's literature when she emerged in the early 1970s.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 26, 2012 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Wanda Coleman, widely considered the "unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles," has been battling an upper respiratory infection since September; she has been hospitalized more than once. According to an email from Richard Modiano, director of Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center , Coleman had to cancel several appearances this fall due to illness, and recently went back into the hospital again. She is scheduled to be released early this week but will need additional care after she is discharged.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 25, 2012 | Hector Tobar
What is the rhythm of Los Angeles? Before hearing poet Wanda Coleman speak at the Los Angeles Central Library recently, it had never occurred to me to think that L.A. has a rhythm. Coleman is an L.A. native whose poems have taken her around the world as an ambassador of Angeleno attitude. She shared the stage at the library's "ALOUD" lecture series with another great L.A. poet, Lewis MacAdams. When you leave L.A. and come back, Coleman told us, you feel the unique way time and people move here.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 22, 2012 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
One of my favorite pieces of writing to emerge from the 1992 Los Angeles riots is a poem by a writer named Nicole Sampogna, called "Another L.A. " In it, the poet traces the odd dislocation of living on the Westside while so much of the city burns. "They send us home early, again," she begins, "supposedly for curfew sake, / but I know it's to beat the traffic. " And then: "over there the smoke rises, / horns blare, streets scream, / shoot, loot, / bash windows, bash heads, / lights out / knocked out / by a black & white with a baton.
BOOKS
May 1, 2005 | Jonathan Kirsch, Jonathan Kirsch, a contributing writer to the Book Review, is the author of, most recently, "God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism."
Starting with her 1977 book, "Art in the Court of the Blue Fag," Coleman has produced a body of work -- poetry, novels, memoir, criticism and journalism -- that has moved more than one observer to dub her "the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles." She has been praised both as a black writer and an L.A. writer, but her aspirations and her achievements transcend such labels.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2003 | Renee Tawa, Times Staff Writer
Possibly it wasn't Charles Bukowski's kind of joint, this grand library of marble, wingback chairs and oil paintings, a place with arched ceilings and a marble vestibule that commands a cathedral-like hush. Or maybe it wasn't, that is, until poet Wanda Coleman sashayed up to a podium at a reading to salute Black Sparrow Press, the maverick literary publisher that had been based in California for 36 years.
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