CSULA Department of English | Events

Wanda Coleman will be the guest reader
at the 2013 Jean Burden Poetry
. The event will
take place on Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 6:30pm in the
Golden Eagle Ballroom. Doors will open at 5:45 for
refreshments and seating. 

The event is free and open to
the public. There will be book sales and signing following
the reading, with four titles by Ms. Coleman available for
sale in advance at the University Bookstore as well as at
the reading.

Image of Wanda Coleman

credit: Penelope Patrick Oshatz

This event is made possible by the College of Arts and
, the Department of English,
the Department
of Pan-African Studies
, the
CSULA Center for Contemporary Poetry and
, Statement
, The University of Pittsburgh Press, and Students Speak: Music and Literature

icon for Adobe AcrobatDownload Announcement of Wanda Coleman's Appearance

For more information, call the Cal State L.A. English Department at (323) 343-4140.

Wanda Coleman

Often called
the "unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles, Wanda
Coleman was born in the Watts community of South Los
Angeles and has been a prominent figure in the Los Angeles
literary world for over thirty years. In 2012, she was
awarded the prestigious Shelley Memorial Award by the
Poetry Society of America and she is a past recipient of
California Arts Council, NEA, and Guggenheim fellowships.
Coleman has published over twenty books, including Bathwater
, winner of the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize
from the Academy of American Poets, and Mercurochrome:
New Poems
a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award. Her most
recent volumes of poetry are Ostinato Vamps (2003)
and The World Falls Away (2011). She has twice been
a finalist for Poet Laureate of California (2005, 2012)
and in 2003 was the first literary fellow named by the
City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. 


image of Coleman The World Falls Away


for The World Falls

The World Falls
Wanda Coleman's poems glow with an almost
radioactive edginess. Yet, there is also range and
substance giving her intense American voice staying power.
To use Whitman’s word, her work has
'amplitude.'"—Diane Wakoski

"Pulses with energy. This vibrant collection . . .
offers some excellent poems.”—Library Journal

"Wanda Coleman's hard-edged new collection
interrogates death's nearsightedness. Mother outlives
son. Feet wear out before the heart. And the truth-teller
dies before truth frees her. These poems don’t go
gently. Elegy turns protest: 'there is a never and there
is a too late.' These are sharp warnings from death's
'small mean domain,' it's not too late to heed
them."—Douglas Kearney

"What strikes me first about The
World Falls Away
is Wanda Coleman's musical
inventiveness. These poems are sonically complex and
technically riveting, Coleman's lyric poems buzzing with
energy, constantly shifting rhythms, and surprising
wordplay. But along with this musical dexterity comes a
poetic mind of great subtlety. Whether Coleman meditates
on her own life—her youth in LA, the heartbreaking death
of her child—or, more broadly on music, history, or
African American identity, she writes with clarity,
wisdom, and piercing intelligence. This is an admirable
book from start to finish." —Kevin Prufer

"Coleman presents a series of subtle and
revelatory poems in her new collection. . . . Coleman’s
ability to simultaneously conjure the tactile and the
abstract makes her works crackle with life and inspire
multiple interpretation. . . . Coleman’s aching and
meditative poetry gives voice to inquiries and
echoes.”—ALA Booklist


Praise for Ostinato Vamps

"[Coleman] is best known for what has often been termed her
'warrior voice,' her inclination to impatiently peel away small talk’s polite veneer, to scissor through to the heart of the matter. . . . [A] master of telling unvarnished truths—about self, about the world, about personal past and our collective future."—Los Angeles Times

"Adds a remarkably divergent voice to the richly multicultural strain of recent American poetry. A poet of tremendous range and verbal energy. . . . 

Image of Wanda Coleman's Ostinato Vamps


Coleman is a poet who courts
disruption as a way of making sense of a mind-boggling diversity of
values."—West Branch

"Bejeweled with an optimism that can only be generated by the will, Wanda
Coleman's Ostinato Vamps compels the reader to nod in agreement at the inevitable pessimism life produces, then turn on a dime as her lines rebel against such fate. . . . Arranges snapshots of life into a mural so heart-stoppingly profound, we must pause and catch our breath after reading each
poem."—Home Planet News

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