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Wanda Coleman (birth name, Wanda Evans; November 13, 1946 – November 22, 2013) was an American poet. She was known as "the L.A. Blueswoman," and "the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles."
Coleman was born Wanda Evans, and grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles during the 1960s. She received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The NEA, and the California Arts Council (in fiction and in poetry). She was the first C.O.L.A. literary fellow (Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, 2003). Her numerous honors included an Emmy in Daytime Drama writing, The 1999 Lenore Marshall Prize (for "Bathwater Wine"), and a nomination for the 2001 National Book Awards (for "Mercurochrome"). She was a finalist for California poet laureate (2005).
Like Wallace Stegner, I am in the 'universal' tradition of writers who concern themselves with The Truth—never mind that it is apt to hurt someone, in some way, most likely me. — From The Riot Inside Me: More Trials & Tremors
While critically acclaimed for her creative writing, Coleman's greatest notoriety came as a result of an unfavorable review she wrote in the April 14, 2002 edition of The Los Angeles Times Book Review of Maya Angelou's book, A Song Flung Up to Heaven. Coleman found the book to be "small and inauthentic, without ideas wisdom or vision". There was a huge outpouring some positive and much negative, which resulted in Coleman's invitation to certain events being cancelled. Her account of this incident appeared as an essay in the August 29, 2002 edition of The Nation.
Critical articles about or featuring Coleman include: