Literary History: The Fearless Invention of One of L.A.’s Greatest Poets

Wanda Coleman’s work tallies and transcends the difficulties of being a black woman in a profession that hardly pays.

By Dan Chiasson
FROM: The New Yorker

200518_r36471Wanda Coleman wrote in “My Love Brings Flowers,” a poem from 1983. “Make clothes ten years old fashionable / rejuvenate one fake sable coat.” Coleman, who died in 2013, was one of the great menders in American verse: she found the extra wear in old forms like the sonnet and rummaged for new forms in everyday material, like aptitude tests, medical reports, and want ads. Poets sometimes brag about their fearsome powers of transformation; Coleman, beset by hardship for much of her life, kept her boasts closer to the bone. “I scrape bottom,” she wrote, and yet her poetry drew on deep reserves. Given Coleman’s almost chaotic originality, it is touching to encounter her stark admissions of debt: “I borrow from friends.” At a moment when many of us are learning—and teaching one another—how to make a face mask out of a sock or a bra, Coleman’s poetry might be just the model of inspired, ecstatic thrift we need.

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Watts Poetic

In 1967, the Watts Prophets arose from the ashes of the Riots to offer a voice for the voiceless. Over a half-century later, Amde Hamilton is still creating change.

By Sam Ribakoff
FROM: TheLAnd

WattsThere used to be a lot more trees on this stretch of 103rd Street, but most of them were cut down so police helicopters could watch Watts’ residents from the sky. Amde Hamilton, 78 years old, still moves down these streets that he grew up on with a glide you can imagine him having in the late ‘60s, when he formed the Watts Prophets with Otis O’Solomon and Richard Dedeaux.

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Healing through Writing, featuring Francesca Lia Block

From: Write Minded

francesca-blockIn this episode of Write Minded: Weekly Inspiration for Writers, Grant and Brooke explore with guest, Los Angeles native and writer, Francesca Lia Block, author of The Thorn Necklace, how writing is healing and oftentimes therapeutic. Today’s episode is about the feeling side of writing—and how touching into that both unlocks deeper places in a person’s writing and has the ability (at least some of the time) to set writers free from their angst and doubts and any lingering messages that might get lobbed at them by their inner critics. If you’ve ever wondered if writing has the power to heal, tune in.

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H&S Faculty Rocío Carlos: Poet, Teacher, Camp Counselor

by Anna Macaulay

From: ArtCenter College of Design

 

CarlosThis Summer, poet, girls’ rock band camp counselor and Humanities and Sciences faculty member Rocío Carlos participated in a panel, Poetry as Witness, at the Allied Media Conferencein Detroit. We caught up with Carlos shortly after her trip to find out a little more about her role at ArtCenter, her work as a poet and teacher, and her experience presenting at the conference.

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