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by Wanda Coleman

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Author: Wanda Coleman
ISBN: 1574231545
Language: English
Pages: 270 pages
Category: Poetry
Publisher: Black Sparrow Press (July 1, 2001)
Rating: 4.8
Formats: lrf docx docx mobi
FB2 size: 1530 kb | EPUB size: 1164 kb | DJVU size: 1165 kb
Sub: Fiction

Wanda Coleman's poetry stings, stains, and ultimately helps heal wounds like the old-fashioned Mercurochrome of her title.

Wanda Coleman's poetry stings, stains, and ultimately helps heal wounds like the old-fashioned Mercurochrome of her title. These searing, soaring poems challenge us to repair the fractures of human difference, and feel what it is to be made whole again.

Mercurochrome: New Poems.

Wanda Coleman (November 13, 1946 – November 22, 2013) was an American poet. She was known as "the . Blueswoman" and "the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles"

Wanda Coleman (November 13, 1946 – November 22, 2013) was an American poet. Blueswoman" and "the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles". Wanda Evans was born in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, where she grew up during the 1950s and 1960s. She is the eldest of four children. Her parents were George and Lewana (Scott) Evans, who were introduced to one another at church by his aunt

Select Format: Hardcover. ISBN13:9781574231533.

Coleman's courageous, impassioned voice, defiantly affirming itself in the face of social injustice and institutional dehumanization, rings out clearer than ever in her new book, Mercurochrome. So does her sensuous, vivid, tactile "verbal mandala": "love, as i live it seems more like mercurochrome, than anything else /i can conjure up. it looks so pretty and red, /and sm Coleman's courageous, impassioned voice, defiantly affirming itself in the face of social injustice and institutional dehumanization, rings out clearer than ever in her new book, Mercurochrome.

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Wanda Coleman is the unofficial Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, a poet . Wanda Coleman – poet, storyteller and journalist – was born and raised i. .

Wanda Coleman is the unofficial Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, a poet whose angry and extravagant music, so far beyond baroque, has been making itself heard across the divide between West Coast and East, establishment and margins, slams and seminars, races and genders, for more than two decades (Marilyn Hacker). Mercurochrome was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry in 2001. Wanda Coleman’s poetry stings, stains, and ultimately helps heal wounds like the old-fashioned Mercurochrome of her title. Wanda Coleman – poet, storyteller and journalist – was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles.

Wanda Coleman Official, Marina del Rey, California. Coleman has published 18 books of poetry and fiction which include Bathwater Wine, winner of the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize-the first African-American woman to receive the award, and Mercurochrome (poems), bronze-medal finalist, National Book Awards 2001. Her honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA.

Coleman's courageous, impassioned voice, defiantly affirming itself in the face of social injustice and institutional dehumanization, rings out clearer than ever in her new book, Mercurochrome. So does her sensuous, vivid, tactile "verbal mandala": "love / 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...".

These high-energy, incandescent poems turn up the emotional thermostat, sizzling and shooting off sparks.

Comments (7)
Tygrafym
Coleman was difficult for me to understand, at first. I had a hard time digesting her poems, until I had read more than a handful and I became used to her blunt yet beautiful voice. She seems wildly critical of and victimized by American society, both as an African American and as a woman. When she takes her children to the doctor’s office, they tell her they are elephants and there is the danger of them growing tusks and causing a stampede. I think the elephant description is mocking the cliché of what is African, and since the doctors perceive her children to potentially be dangerous I think this refers to the historical stereotype that African Americans are people who are more ‘wild’ and need to be tamed (digging way back into history when they were viewed animals/savages). With regards to her struggles with living as a woman in America, she writes some beautiful and painfully accurate lines: “squeezing the three hundred pound lady/into the size ten life”. For whatever reason, this woman is overweight and our society tells her that it’s not okay and she needs to change to look and be closer to our standard of beauty and normalcy. The irony is that she is probably overweight because of our hypercritical society. Women are held to an unattainable standard for beauty, and being fooled into thinking that it’s possible to look like models on magazine covers can cause a lot of depression when ladies discover they are failing to reach that impossible goal. The second quote I really like regarding the lifestyle of women in America is when Coleman says “understanding is a salon/appointment away”. So genius!! It’s interesting because it seems to be saying that women are best understood at the salon, but salons are superficial places by the nature of their business (all about improving looks) and socially (stereotypically full of gossip and female cattiness), so does Coleman think that America perceives women to be shallow and catty? Perhaps, I wouldn’t be surprised.
My favorite poems are the following: “Champagne and Js” and “Unfinished Ghost Story (9)” because of the genius internal rhyming she uses and the subtle repetitions. These poems were so genius that I had to smile a big toothy smile while reading them. I also find “Put Some Sex Sonnet” to be particularly clever. First of all the title is very coy, but secondly the poem cites a lot of biological terms while managing to not sound like a doctor’s report. “Richness”, “duet”, “melds”, and ”wave” are all words that distract from her technical expression and it creates quite an experience for the reader. I’m not sure what she is getting at with these poems that have a more sexual tone – is she condemning physical pleasures for the way men/society use them to cheapen women down to mere playthings? Or is she celebrating the pleasure that she can feel as a woman, as well as her power to control her own sexual experiences? I think it may be a bit of both.
Pemand
A reponse to Mercurochrome:

The night sky stretches itself out on my skin, smoothing like shadows over the crevices of my feet, the creases of my elbows. I am not in the darkness but of the darkness, with stars that glitter off of me, in my eyes and in my smile and in the dreams (duller now) I carry in my hands and in my heart. How heavy are dreams that turn bitter?

The shine that I reflect throws off the image of a bull’s-eye (taunting others to hit the center), I think. Red circles (never white) stained the thin skin on my ribs, the lump of my right breast, the panel of my forehead, and smoothed over the beat of my heart (it pulses below my skin). I try to tell others (whisper) about the stripes I wear, but they do not listen over the shouting of others around me.

Should I too shout?
Or should I wait, my skin in the shadows, to be heard (I will wait for years).

The target, sometimes if I scrub really hard, it will fade into a slight bruise, barely visible beneath my clothes and my dark hair. But some mornings, I must forget to wash because it stands out in weals against my hands, like a lacy henna tattoo that undulates gently up the arms of Indian brides (also in red, also as per tradition).

Sometime before, in that young time before I saw a target on me and on the dark skin of others around me, my dreams were light and lifted up my shoulders and my face with ease. Now, I see the stares, hear the whispers, remember my darkness and my dreams are heavy and dull. They sink to the pit of my stomach and simmer there, burning holes in my belly that drip down my legs to my hardened heels (from standing when others sit).

Others, too, forget to wash off their bulls-eye, often made all the more obvious by their cries of injustice (nobody listens). Or perhaps, they find that they cannot wash it. Surely for some, it must be easier to slip by unnoticed, while for others – no matter how hard they try – every walk, every door knock, every shopping trip may be their last.

The night sky in my skin shines with fewer stars knowing about the many targeted innocents, and my hands fall to the ground with the weight of bitter dreams (heavier now).

I see this and know it is my time to shout, too.