Heart First Into This Ruin: The Complete American Sonnets (Hardcover)

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Heart First Into This Ruin: The Complete American Sonnets By Wanda Coleman, Mahogany L. Browne (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Wanda Coleman, Mahogany L. Browne (Introduction by)
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Staff Reviews

Coleman's collected American Sonnets are a necessary rediscovery within the world of contemporary poetry. Wrenching and beautiful, these are the poems of a poet sharpening her sensibilities through the innovation of this decidedly American form.

— Malik


"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.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781574232530
ISBN-10: 1574232533
Publisher: Black Sparrow Press
Publication Date: June 21st, 2022
Pages: 128
Language: English