Book Cover Image of Heart First Into This Ruin: The Complete American Sonnets by Wanda Coleman

Heart First Into This Ruin: The Complete American Sonnets
by Wanda Coleman

    Publication Date: Jun 21, 2022
    List Price: $22.95
    Format: Hardcover, 128 pages
    Classification: Poetry
    ISBN13: 9781574232530
    Imprint: Black Sparrow
    Publisher: David R. Godine, Publisher
    Parent Company: David R. Godine, Inc.

    Hardcover Description:

    Featuring an introdcution by Mahogany L. Browne

    “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.