Tag Archives: Laura Madeline Wiseman

Wake Brings the Big Sleep to Life

3 and 1/2 Stars


Wake

Wake by Laura Madeline Wiseman transforms the grim reaper into a female, a cart driver with a passenger, and a character of intrigue. She is both a gentle friend and an aggressive enemy; she is a migrant of souls.

Fairy tale and mythology is a mere starting point to Wiseman’s Death — for Wiseman is far more interested in the tensions of the feminine/feminist and the sensual/sexual. Death is a symbol of Society, not the end of Individual.

To keep her readers engaged, Wiseman takes unexpected and well-executed turns in her design. Take, for example, “Considering The Little Mermaid“, which ends:

…Women

who worked in soul trade, a matter of contract,
signature, bind — all of us with no one else to turn to

were who we turned to, a pale fiery gaze of promise.
Take the gulp, she said and, you’ll have your man.

A bold and daring project, Wiseman as usual delivers, taking her readers on a journey that is both familiar in theme and focus, yet challenging and intellectual in its retelling.

Wake is 67 pp and published by Aldrich Press.

American Galactic lands close to home


4 Stars


American Galactic by Laura Madeline Wiseman
American Galactic by Laura Madeline Wiseman

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.

The Bluebeard Myth Gets a Red-Hot Makeover


5 Stars


 

Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience by Laura Madeline Wiseman is a wonderful take on the Bluebeard fable. For those of you who don’t know the story, it is essentially a Jack The Ripper story, but with wives instead of prostitutes. Wiseman modernizes the story and tells it from the perspective of three sisters, all of whom are wrapped up in their fateful relationship with the same man.

This is not a story of gore and murder; it is a story of sex and love. Their big city lives are filled with contemporary ideas and values. They are not completely naive and unsuspecting, but love and romance blinds them.

Wiseman comes up with a wonderful way to deal with the “blue” on Bluebeard. Everything is blue: there are blueberries, blue boxes, blue scarves, blue jeans, blue eyes, and much more.

The book is divided into three parts, one for each sister, and one for the late wives. Wiseman uses sectional poems to tell longer stories within stories, and employs prose poems, structured and unstructured free verse to tell the tale. I enjoyed every poem, but my favorite might have been the sectional poem “Against Plot”, which takes us into the second sister’s sexy past. The poem provides the reader with a character that is at once multi-dimensional and complicated yet easy to understand and relate to.

An excerpt:

At seventeen, a girl knelt between my thighs
during an overnight, her dark bedding
on the floor, the blinds rolled together,

the ringing phone lifted, then settled on its hook,
the thrum of music. I didn’t know anything
but her warm breath on my skin, her fingers,

To say I couldn’t put this book down is an understatement. Wiseman writes in a style that is accessible and colloquial, yet passes all the rigors of the poetic craft with flying colors. Her line breaks, her economy of words, and her sense of music are all flawless in this book. Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience was published by Lavender Ink in 2014 and is 110 pp. It can be ordered through Amazon,