Heart First Into This Ruin: The Complete American Sonnets (Hardcover)
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"Fantastically entertaining and deeply engaging...potent distillations of creative rage, social critique, and subversive wit."--Washington Post"Terrifying and fearlessly inventive."--New York Times The first complete collection of Wanda Coleman's original and inventive sonnets. Long regarded as among her finest work, these one hundred poems give voice to loving passions, social outrage, and hard-earned wisdom. Wanda Coleman was a beat-up, broke Black woman who wrote with anger, humor, and ruthless intelligence: "to know, i must survive myself," she wrote in "American Sonnet 7." A poet of the people, she created the experimental "American Sonnet" form and published them between 1986 and 2001. The form inspired countless others, from Terrance Hayes to Billy Collins. Drawn from life's particulars, Coleman's art is timeless and universal. In "American Sonnet 61" she writes: reaching down into my griot bag of womanish wisdom and wily social commentary, i come up with bricks with which to either reconstruct the past or deconstruct a head.... from the infinite alphabet of afroblues intertwinings, i cull apocalyptic visions (the details and lovers entirely real) and articulate my voyage beyond that point where self disappears These one hundred sonnets--borne from influences as diverse as Huey P. Newton and Herman Melville, Amiri Baraka and Robert Duncan--tell Coleman's own tale, as well as the story of Black and white America. From "American Sonnet 2" towards the cruel attentions of violent opiates as towards the fatal fickleness of artistic rain towards the locusts of social impotence itself i see myself thrown heart first into this ruin not for any crime but being This is a collection of electrifying truth that only an artist such as Wanda Coleman can deliver.