Give Wanda Coleman some Breathing Room

Wanda Coleman

In an interview I recorded on November 26, 2000, poet, essayist, activist, literary presence Wanda Coleman talked about the treatment of artists in USAmerica. She lamented the kinds of things poets have to do to make ends meet, activities often antithetical to their art. (Hear that soundbite here.) She never would have envisioned an internet campaign on her behalf, but we’ve started one anyway.

Wanda has been hospitalized with respiratory problems.  Her outpatient care will not be covered by insurance, so she is asking for assistance.  ***Donation checks can be sent to: Wanda Coleman, P.O. Box 571, Lancaster, CA 93534.*** or click here:

Here’s more information, c/o The Los Angeles Times:,0,1382926.story

And her page at the Poetry Foundation:

Her November 26, 2000 interview with Paul E Nelson:
Cuts from interview:

1. On L.A. artistic milieu after Watts riots
2. on her role as Griot or Medium
3. On how writing for Days of Our Lives helped her become a better poet
4. on American Sonnets process
5. (poem) What do to About Billie Holiday
6. Jazz Poetry
7. (poem) For The Sake of the Cool
8. Child of Whitman and plight of the artist in USAmerica

See also this “self-interview.”

Ethelbert Miller on Wanda Coleman.

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) in Seattle, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo). He has published 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) and American Sentences, a book of 17 syllable poems drawn from the first fourteen of his 20 years of daily practice. The tenth anniversary edition of that book includes Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. 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 (see: has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Bothell, Cumberland, BC, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois, Ukiah, CA, and other places & writes an American Sentence every day.
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