Have you heard of Wanda Coleman? Book Review

Prior to seeing the book cover of Wicked Enchantment, I had never heard of Wanda Coleman, and I have to say I feel somewhat robbed that I did not discover her until after she had died some years ago. The cover drove me to choose the book as it showed a striking image of a Black woman with an Afro looking thoughtful.

The introduction, from Terrance Hayes – a fellow poet who was the award winner of the National Book Award for Poetry – gave me a real insight into Wanda and her inspirations. He provided examples from her prose (fiction and nonfiction) as well as her interviews.

Despite much of her poetry being written in the 80s and 90s there is something still relevant and timeless about them in the 21st Century – which is also quite saddening. Her poems cover depression, suicide, racism, sexism and poverty, but all are handled sensitively.

The poems were emotional and poignant. And they definitely painted any pictures in my mind.

The opening poem – Wanda in Worryland definitely sets the tone of what to expect in the book and her last phrase in Moon Cherries “forget my name” is not something that I can do.

i get scared sometimes

and have to go look into the mirror to see if i’m

still here

Wanda in Worryland

Considering this collection was put together posthumously, it would be a delight and insightful to also see them how she intended them – if they are in separate anthologies for example. 

As someone who has made it my mission to read and discover more content from Black writers whether it is fiction, non fiction as well as poetry, I really want to say thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Press UK for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. I hope more of us based in the UK can read more of Wanda Coleman’s work.

Wicked Enchantment: Selected Poems by Wanda Coleman is available to pre-order now and will be available on general release in the UK from April 29 2021.

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