Queen of the Platform
Queen of the Platform are poems are based on the life of Laura Madeline Wiseman’s great-great-great-grandmother, the nineteenth century lecturer, suffragist, and poet, Matilda Fletcher Wiseman (1842-1909) and the men in her life: her brother, George W. Felts (1843-1921), a civil war solider who was later charged with murder, her first husband, John A. Fletcher (1837-1875), a school teacher and a lawyer, and her second husband, William Albert Wiseman (1850-1911), a minister who became her agent. Like her seven brothers who served in the Civil War, Matilda chose the public sphere. After the death of her only child, Matilda joined the lecture circuit. She spoke to support herself and her first husband, until his death. On the stage she spoke among other lecturers of her time, such as Susan B. Anthony.
Queen of the Platform will pull you into the political landscape of the turn of the twentieth century as though history tapped you on the shoulder with its glove.
– Tyler Mills
Praise for Queen of the Platform
In a time when the struggles and hard-won achievements of our foremothers are in danger of being rolled back or forgotten, Laura Madeline Wiseman turns our attention to a literary and familial ancestor who, after her only child’s death, waved “Goodbye/to motherhood, to one kind of life” and “bowed in welcome to another.” Wiseman blends archival research and imagination, vividly capturing intimate exchanges that resonate historically… Queen of the Platform is a timely and terrific read. – Jane Satterfield
A collection of experimental forms—a telegraph poem, a poem with an algebraic equation as its refrain, and erasures of historical documents—intermingling with traditional forms (such as a fairy tale ghazal), these poems spin history with an imagination attune to the intrigue behind fact. Queen of the Platform will pull you into the political landscape of the turn of the twentieth century as though history tapped you on the shoulder with its glove. – Tyler Mills
Laura Madeline Wiseman’s Queen of the Platform is not only full of the energy of immediacy, but also deep meditation on the material traces of her ancestry. Sometimes exacting, sometimes provocative, but always bold—Wiseman’s poetry sharply observes the fabric of her characters’ lives. – Margo Taft Stever
With her graceful rhythmic flare, and real and imagined homey narrative, she presents upended views of the meaning of equality via the men around her suffragist ancestor in the time before women could vote… With Queen of the Platform, Wiseman suggests that there is a great man behind–and moreover, beside–each great woman… Wiseman challenges perceptions of feminism and justice, with her poignant and heartfelt writing via the perspective of the inspiring Matilda and the men around her…. – Sally Deskins, Weave
What makes Queen of the Platform, Laura Madeline Wiseman’s eleventh collection of poetry so different from these other books is that the protagonist of this historical research already had a voice. A loud and influential voice. This book is less the powerful contemporary writer reaching into history to unearth something lost, and more the writer allowing herself to be lost in the rich and varied experiences of a powerful woman who has much to teach a contemporary readership about the nuances of power, gender, and the importance of language. – Sarah A. Chavez, The Volta