Sprung

Semi-finalist for the 2010 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize by Persea Books

The series of poems that comprise Laura Madeline Wiseman’s Sprung feature an unlikely antagonist. Alter ego? Animus? Evil twin? Master manipulator? Muse? Imaginary friend? Or foe? Wiseman is a smart woman, a gutsy poet who seduces the reader with possibilities in this delightfully disturbing collection.

– Grace Bauer

Laura Madeline Wiseman confronts taboos that have long preoccupied the human imagination in Sprung, her sexy and volatile debut collection of poetry. With razor-sharp wit, Wiseman places the body at center stage and examines its inextricable ties to systems of identity and power. The body itself comes to life—at once omnipotent and tragically impotent—and Wiseman fiercely calls it by its name. She gardens and does laundry with it, takes it to England on a crusade, joins a marching band, plays Santa, and seeks solace with it at a Humans Anonymous meeting. Wiseman’s poems wake us from the mind-numbing world of propriety and political correctness, and take us an exciting aesthetic and linguistic journey. Think of the bold, raw, sensual energies of Rachel Zucker, Nin Andrews, and Whitman spiked with a neo-feminist edge. In Wiseman’s Sprung, nothing is sacred, and no one is safe.

– Hadara Bar-Nadav

Sprung is brimming with humor and intelligence as Wiseman’s characters pull us along with them on their escapades, telling the story of a couple from its beginnings in marching band where one promises and one is promised, “I’m going to be with you always,” tracking the arc of the relationship through to the inevitable break up. Straightforward enough? Then consider the fact that one of the pair is imaginary. Pulsing beneath the surface of this engaging story is a dialogue about gender and its relationship to the self, carefully teasing apart the culturally-imposed binary nature of gendered stereotypes and upending the notions of what is real and what is imaginary. Wiseman, the wise woman that she is, answers: ‘The imaginative world is the only real world after all.’

– Cati Porter

Laura Madeline Wiseman’s collection, Sprung, delves into an intimate and uncertain world that is by turns visceral, domestic, succulent, and uncomfortable. Poems that are striking on their own together weave a masterful and playful narrative of a highly unusual relationship. In asking whether we can count on or even control the imaginary, Sprung completely bypasses any distinction between the real and the unreal and makes for a compelling and engaging read.

 – Cheryl Dobinson

Laura Madeline Wiseman’s risqué collection, Sprung, is bold and exacting of our assumptions of gendered relationships and sexual identity. This is a dazzling collection and given the focus of the work, is distinctly feminine in its narrative arc and scope. Sprung is an intelligent, highly imaginative collection filled with sensuality and lyrical wildness which makes it a treasure to read.

– Amanda Auchter