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
Praise for First Wife
Such is Sander’s lovely cover art, a woman adorned with a green snake tattoo on her arm rejecting cultural standards, sitting solo, worn from the plight, but not undone. Wiseman too not only challenges women’s status quo using this historical figure, but its validity. First Wife not only offers a deep, dark reinvented modern classic of an powerful female (which is few and far between), but reminds us, with her colorful and rhythmic flair for detail and narrative between the lines, to look closer and with new eyes at our surroundings and to define ourselves. – Sally Brown, Stirring
How many do you think are out there?—women whose husbands refuse to be the metaphorical bottom? And how many Liliths? And how many poet Liliths? Telling our truths remains an important way that women connect with each other and hear from others who’ve survived what they’re trying to survive. – Stacia Fleegal, Blood Lotus
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
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