American Galactic by Laura Madeline Wiseman is a fun, well-written book that takes issues and events of everyday life and gives them a sci-fi twist.
The cover of the book, an image of martians doing the YMCA dance like the Village People, is a sneak peak in what the reader should expect by opening the front cover and digging down into the closest sofa with a cup of coffee.
Some of these poems are obvious inclusions in the collection, such as kids dressed as martians while doing their Halloween rounds. Others are a bit more surprising, such as a poem about Robin Williams, written before his untimely death, that choked me up when I read it.
Wiseman has fun with enjambment, and finds interesting ways to use double-meaning in line breaks.
I don’t know what martians eat. They might eat
potatoes or human cavier. I don’t know
what they wear to dances or how they move…
— from “After Watching a Martian Marathon on Cable”
Wiseman also uses end-stop lines to provide emphasis in her lines, never forgetting about that double meaning.
Accept the limits of the landscape.
Grow moonflowers. Transplant rain
lilies. Always befriend stargazers.
Listen when the big ear speaks.
— from “Creed: The Mission”
Each poem has its own difference in theme, of course, but the theme of the entire book is about the foreign-ness of humanity and human interaction. This is not a book about martians; it is a book about us. With poems about doctor’s appointments, complications and joys of gardening, introverts at parties, sci-fi movies and masterbation (or not), this book reminds us that when we look up at the stars, we see ourselves.
American Galactic is published by martianlit.com and is 75 pp.