Wake Brings the Big Sleep to Life

3 and 1/2 Stars


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.┬áDeath 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:


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.

Joshua Gray

Washington DC native poet that now lives in Kentucky.

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