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2/12 Wanda Coleman at Mills College

Posted by novoscene on February 12, 2008

Badass Writer Alert! Continuing what’s turning into a really impressive reading series, Mills College is hosting a reading tonight by LA’s unnofficial poet laureate, Wanda Coleman. Coleman was born and raised in Watts and has been chronicling the city’s shimmering exploits and excesses since the late 1970’s.

The poet, scriptwriter and essayist won an Emmy as well as NEA and Guggenheim fellowships and a Bronze medal from the National Book Awards for her poetry. She’s traveled the world as a performance artist and was the first African American to receive the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.
Coleman’s writing is hot and alive with colors, like the city she writes about.

In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever
by Wanda Coleman

we were never caught
we partied the southwest, smoked it from L.A. to El Dorado
worked odd jobs between delusions of escape
drunk on the admonitions of parents, parsons & professors
driving faster than the road or law allowed.
our high-pitched laughter was young, heartless & disrespected
authority. we could be heard for miles in the night

the Grand Canyon of a new manhood.
womanhood discovered
like the first sighting of Mount Wilson

we rebelled against the southwestern wind

we got so naturally ripped, we sprouted wings,
crashed parties on the moon, and howled at the earth

we lived off love. It was all we had to eat

when you split you took all the wisdom
and left me the worry

Her words ring with street rhythms and work best when read out loud and to an audience. Hear her work tonight in the best context.-kwan

Mills College Contemporary Writers Series: Wanda Coleman
Mills Hall Living Room
Mills College
5000 MacArthur Blvd
Oakland, CA 94613


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