Mercurochrome

  • Wanda Coleman: winner of the Poetry Society of America’s 2012 Shelley Memorial Award!

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. No easy remedy for the lacerating American concerns of racism and gender bias, Coleman’s poetry transforms pain into empathy. . . these searing, soaring poems challenge us to repair the fractures of human difference, and feel what it is to be made whole again.
—The National Book Award Poetry Judges 2001, Stanley Plumly, Chair

Wanda Coleman–poet, storyteller and journalist–was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. Coleman was awarded the prestigious 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for Bathwater Wine from the American Academy of Poets, becoming the first African-American woman to ever win the prize, and was a bronze-medal finalist for the 2001 National Book Award for Poetry for MercurochromeWicked Enchantment: Selected Poems is the first new collection of her work since her death in 2013.