Born in 1946, Wanda Coleman grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. She is the author of
Bathwater Wine (Black Sparrow Press, 1998), winner of
the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.
A former medical secretary, magazine editor, journalist and
scriptwriter, Coleman has received fellowships from
the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim
Foundation for her poetry. Her other books of poetry
include Mercurochrome: New Poems (2001);Native in a Strange Land:
Trials & Tremors (1996); Hand Dance (1993);
African Sleeping Sickness (1990); A War of Eyes &
Other Stories (1988); Heavy Daughter Blues: Poems & Stories 1968-1986
(1988); and Imagoes (1983). She has also written Mambo Hips & Make Believe: A Novel (Black Sparrow Press, 1999) and Jazz and Twelve O'Clock Tales: New Stories (2008).
She is known as the "unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles."