Wanda Coleman 2002 Interview

Wanda Coleman SPLAB Super Bowl of Poetry promotional bookmark

Going through the SPLAB (IPiPP) audio archives thanks to 4Culture, I came across this interview I’d forgotten I had. Wanda Coleman from January 2002, first aired in February 2002. In it she talks about the African-American literary avant garde in the U.S., why such a movement is helpful and why experimental literature suffers in the U.S. because she says that African-American writers are still “too busy, advocating for our status as human beings in this country.” She talked about how universities have “capitulated” to the corporate mindset and lamented the fact that professors make one tenth the salaries of professional athletes. She lamented the quality of dissent in the U.S., and the state of young people given the Columbine tragedy and other events like it. Click here to listen to Wanda, Part 1 – 10:35.

In the second half she read some of her American Sonnets #88, #89, #90, #91 and #94. She talked about their composition and said that she operates “on the Jazz principle” a “way of being in the world” sourced “in Africa as it morphed during the Middle Passage and was brought to America.” A way of survival. She mentioned her essay “On Theloniousism.” Click here to listen to Wanda, Part 2 – 14:58.

Or go right to the part in Part Two where she reads American Sonnets 88-91 and 94 and comments a little about them.

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB in Seattle and the Cascadia Poetry Festival. He wrote a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger.) He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets, has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois and other places & writes an American Sentence every day. www.PaulENelson.com
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2 Responses to Wanda Coleman 2002 Interview

  1. Sara Bingham says:

    Wow is right. Another GREAT interview I just had the pleasure of listening to, of Wanda Coleman. This makes me immediately want to go on the hunt for more about her and her work; I had heard of her before, but never really had an inkling of her rigor and use of language, which this interview showcases so clearly. THANK YOU!!

  2. Splabman says:

    Bless you Sara. Thanks for listening.

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