Rembering Wanda Coleman


Known as the “L.A. Blueswoman” and “the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles”, Wanda Coleman passed away at the age of 67 on November 22, 2013. There are some very lovely tributes to Coleman at the LA Times and at The Nation.

The Poetry Foundation has a great rundown of Coleman’s life and career with a complete bibliography of her work that you should read as well.

“Coleman added: “Words seem inadequate in expressing the anger and outrage I feel at the persistent racism that permeates every aspect of black American life. Since words are what I am best at, I concern myself with this as an urban actuality as best I can.” After some forty years of writing Wanda Coleman remains devoted to the themes of racism and female experience and to Los Angeles. The city has been a vital part of her writings and an important outlet for her poetry readings, typically classified as “take-no-prisoners” performances (San Francisco Examiner, February 1986) that “bring you into her world” (LA Weekly, April 1984).”

Ashley Perez lives, writes, and causes trouble in Los Angeles. She has a strong affinity for tattoos, otters, cat mystery books, and actual cats, but has mixed feelings about pants. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She runs the literary site Arts Collide and does work of all varieties for Women Who Submit, Entropy, Jaded Ibis Press, and Why There Are Words. You can find her on Twitter at @ArtsCollide. More from this author →