Branding Girls

(Finishing Line Press, 2011)
ISBN: 978-1-59924-739-7


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Branding Girls delves into consumerism, brands, and advertising while using the ekphrasis to respond to contemporary women artists and their work. Weave Magazine calls it “Evocative” and notes that “Branding Girls amuses, alarms, and ultimately affirms in its eloquent confrontation of female stereotypes.”

“Laura Madeline Wiseman’s brave new book, Branding Girls, offers us a mercurial and unflinching exploration of the commodification of the body, reduced to a vessel of projections, to a commercial brand, naturally, but also wearing the brand, the wound of the animal possessed. And with possession comes the animation, the childlike doll-play, the habitation by foreign spirits. Part of the power and pathos of these investigations lies in their restraint and tonal complexity, the asbestos of their wit, the intelligence of detail that illuminates even as it mystifies the closeness with which objectification haunts the desiring imagination. A rare thing. This book will widen the gaze that reads it.”

- Bruce Bond, author of Radiography and Peal

“Brand: as in a mark. Branded: as in burned on an animal, a criminal, someone enslaved. Branding: as in a trademarking, a commodification. In Laura Madeline Wiseman’s terrifying Branding Girls , the poet demonstrates that our femininity is defined by advertising, name brands, and material desires. From the figure of the Japanese “elevator girls,” we learn that contemporary women are in danger of becoming a series of negations: ‘Not geisha. Not madams… / Not call girls / or masseuses. Not school girls / in pleated skirts.’ I love this collection for the same reasons I love TV’s “Mad Men”: its elegance, its dark humor, and its pain.”

- Jehanne Dubrow, author of Stateside and From the Fever-World