The poems in Spindrift blur the already fragmented lines of gender, offering us mermaids with beards, hairy nipples, and a thirst for damaged remains. Through Wiseman’s formal restraint and inventive definitions, we are invited into the deep sea of the unknown, and we find out the unknown knows us—knows our wars, our corporations, the crumbling frame of our environment, the very bodies we imagine ourselves to be.
– Stacey Waite
Praise for Spndrift
Adrienne Rich once said that “until we know the assumptions in which we are drenched, we cannot know ourselves.” In her latest collection of prose poems, Laura Madeline Wiseman reminds us that self and fable are intimate nemeses. In these poems, the mermaid becomes a stunning trope for discovery and relentless subversion, and through the collection, we are lured through a seductively dangerous and transitive ecology—bottles of pop float in a listless ocean, sea shanties are whispered from the water, and popular myth and paradox elide. Wiseman leads us into a sumptuous terrain where we must confront legends and wrench from them a truth that will change us. – Sara Henning
Existing beyond the boundaries of historical renderings and “Waterhouse reproductions,” Wiseman’s mermaids are intelligent, passionate, dangerous, and endangered. Wiseman brings them to life (and death) in exquisitely crafted narratives that play on the edges of dreams and plunge into the deepest human fears. In her hands ocean becomes mirror and the tale/tail of the mermaid becomes very much our own. – Jenn Monroe
The poems in Spindrift blur the already fragmented lines of gender, offering us mermaids with beards, hairy nipples, and a thirst for damaged remains. Through Wiseman’s formal restraint and inventive definitions, we are invited into the deep sea of the unknown, and we find out the unknown knows us—knows our wars, our corporations, the crumbling frame of our environment, the very bodies we imagine ourselves to be. We learn, in Wiseman’s fantastical and deeply political collection, that the mermaids are watching us, and they worry about the state of our terrible, beautiful world. In reading this stunning chapbook, we get the sense the mermaids are themselves poets, and Wiseman is their trustworthy, imaginative, and attentive scribe. – Stacey Waite
Wiseman’s writing provokes: in this dynamic world, and with only short lives, will we ever escape what is prescribed for us? Is it possible for mermaids to be redefined in literature, and moreover, is it possible for women to burst out of their molds? In many of Wiseman’s works, we are left with hope, or response to her queries and re-examinations, but in Spindrift, we are left in the water, fending for ourselves, truth revealed, imperfections and the uphill laying open for our view. Perhaps to allow us, like the mermaids’ stones, to collect them pridefully. As the mermaids, and the shoes, we can be all of them—sexy, playful, comfortable—and more. Will we get noticed, appreciated, will literature such as Wiseman’s work make real societal changes in perspective? We don’t know—maybe not. But we’ll keep up the search, and Wiseman will keep on writing, reexamining, and bringing us provocative, moving stories. – Sally Brown Deskins, Entropy