Wicked Enchantment

Wicked Enchantment

Selected Poems


'Essential reading' Roger Robinson
'Hateful and hilarious, heartbroke and hellbent' Mary Karr
'Sure, wise and devastating . . . a joy' Caleb Azumah Nelson
'Wanda Coleman is not just wickedly wise, she is transcendent' Washington Post

Nobody wrote about police hassle like she did. Nobody wrote about making ends meet, about the history of the slave trade or the comedy of the daily grind, with the same breathtaking originality and brio; and few writers, before or since, have had the courage to write with such honesty about their everyday experience of life - and love - in an unjust world.

This is the first ever UK publication of the poetry of Wanda Coleman: a beat-up, broke and Black woman who wrote with defiance, humour and clarity about her life on the margins, and who went overlooked by the establishment for decades - even as she was known colloquially as 'the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles'.

Wicked Enchantment gathers 130 of Coleman's poems in a selection by Terrance Hayes. Funny, angry, endlessly alive and written with an immediacy and frankness that captivate, here is the essential work of a poet of fierce resistance and self-belief against the odds.


  • In this sure, wise and devastating collection, Coleman pushes against the limitations of language ... I cried many times while reading but also laughed enormously. What a joy of a book
    Caleb Azumah Nelson, author of OPEN WATER

About the author

Wanda Coleman

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