I’ve been working on getting things ready for my forthcoming chapbook FIRST WIFE (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). I’ve mentioned the lovely cover art (above) created by the talented Megan Sanders, now I’m happy to share the blurbs from Alicia Ostriker, Leslie Adrienne Miller, and J. Hope Stein.
Like most young poets, I’d been reading Alicia Ostriker’s work for years. The first year I presented in Washington, D.C. at Split this Rock in 2008, Alicia read with a wonderful lineup of poets that included Mark Doty and Naomi Shihab Nye. It was such a treat to hear the readings. Several of her books were on my comprehensive exams reading list, included No Heaven. In the spring semester of 2011, I took Alicia Ostriker’s master poetry workshop at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln when she was the visiting writer here. I adored her class—her craft talks, the writing prompts and discussions on the sacred, the requirement to write a poem (or more) every day, and the one-on-one tutorial. While she was at UNL, I taught The Volcano Sequence to my poetry class and while her master class was in session, I brought her writing prompts to my students. They loved them. It was fun talking with them about what she were teaching, the prompts, and our interpretation of the sacred in poetry and in her work.
During the workshop, I specifically remember Alicia’s comments about the poem I was working on about a gravestone of a widow. I think in many ways, the poems that I started writing in Alicia’s class and the discussions we had about the sacred in that workshop became fodder for what has become my collection FIRST WIFE. Here’s Alicia,
Who is Lilith? Is she the mythic first wife of Adam, who escaped subservience to her husband and her husband’s God and became stigmatized as a demoness? Or is she an ordinary woman preoccupied with gardening, cyberspace, irritation at the requirements of “pretty” and ready to choose herself? Does she know that sometimes “words stand in the way of their meaning?” Yes, yes and yes, in the poetry of Laura Madeline Wiseman’s First Wife, whose words are as lyrical, acerbic, and laden with meaning as an apple tree with apples.
~Alicia Ostriker, author of The Book of Seventy
Like Alicia’s work, Leslie Adrienne Miller’s wonderful book The Resurrection Trade was on my PhD comps reading list. Her work is stunning as it explores issues on the body, gender roles, the representation of the female body by institutions, and historical presentations of the feminine. I was just delighted that Leslie could offer a few words on my forthcoming chapbook:
The haunting poems of Laura Madeline Wiseman’s First Wife radiate from fragments of the apocryphal story of Lilith, Adam’s first wife, and recall Louise Gluck in their intricate segues between a mythical female figure’s surprisingly contemporary inner turmoil and a contemporary woman’s questioning of a stubbornly patriarchal culture.
~Leslie Adrienne Miller, author of Y and The Resurrection Trade
Finally, the last blurber is J. Hope Stein, fellow Dancing Girl Press and, now, Hyacinth Girl Press sister-poet. I read with Stein in Chicago in June in a DGP reading and it was lovely. She’s also interviewed in my blog series on the chapbook. Here’s Stein:
Laura Madeline Wiseman’s First Wife is filled with the rich imagery of Eden and apples and poems of Lilith combined with a vision of a modern marriage marked by the imposed labels: “engagement”, “newlyweds”, “honeymoon”, and “anniversary.” Like Louise Gluck’s Meadowlands, in First Wife Wiseman explores a unique brand of truth that interweaves the disintegration of a marriage with myth.
~J. Hope Stein, author of [Mary]: and [Taking Doll]