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Ostinato Vamps


This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Ostinato Vamps is Wanda Coleman’s first book of poetry since the demise of her longtime publisher, Black Sparrow Press. It continues and enlarges the traits that have been her hallmark for more than three decades: a fierce adherence to the truth and a language so musical one can almost hear the blues line underneath her stanzas.

Linguistically daring, lyrically breathtaking, stylistically bold, these poems both explore familiar territory and shatter stereotypes. Life is difficult, often unfair, but it belongs to the living, as Coleman reminds us in no uncertain terms. Racing between an earthy eroticism and fatalistic despair, filled with humor and tragedy, these poems are alive. They breathe. They challenge us even as they reward us for seeking the truth.

From Publishers Weekly

Oct 06, 2003 – Coleman's last two explosive, masterful collections were Mercurochrome, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and Bathwater Wine, which was awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Ostinato Vamps seems markedly less verbally dazzling; it is also angrier and more willing to state the case for poetry-as-documentary: "there's the necessity of music cut with bloody weeping." A poem that paints a grotesque, devastating portrait of a homeless woman ("scratchin'/ that tattoo above her crepe-paper/ titty...") nevertheless ends with a kind of redeeming prayer "moonsparkle angelsleep...." Some of the work here is not electric enough to shock redemption out of despair, but nevertheless talks straight about "happiness that has a price / tag on it." The two longer poems ("Night Widow Fugue" and "Sorceress of Muntu") weave several voices and narratives and snippets of blues lyrics into rich fields of human struggle, and possess a soaring, lyric openness where, in the confident leaps and breathing spaces, hope and resistance to socially imposed fate begin to burn in the voices portrayed and in a reader's caught mind.
Ostinato Vamps
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Poetry
  • Published: Oct 19, 2003
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Seller: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Print Length: 128 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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