Great River Legs
Cover Design by Adam Wagler
Great River Legs explores rivers flowing through the country's middle by bicycle. This lyric collection documents a 1,398-mile, 25-day bicycle ride. Between October 2017 – March 2018, it traced a route from Muscatine, Iowa, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Great River Legs mixes prose poetry, creative nonfiction, and found poetry. The book follows riverboat paths Mark Twain paddled, known routes Jesse James used to hide bank-robbed cash, and the footpaths of the Natchez Trace Trail. From thunderstorms to mists, dog chases to catcalls, forging creeks to detours from the map, it meditates on work - the body's work, the job, and the mind. Such meditative movements bridge the greatest of rivers. It's a ride into what’s right here, the awareness of stories and insight.
Praise for Great River Legs
In her latest book, Great River Legs, Laura Madeline Wiseman takes you on an intimate journey as she weaves in and out of a cross-country, long-distance bike ride. In this beautifully curated book that includes prose poetry, creative non-fiction and found poetry, Wiseman embraces the many parts of herself—cyclist, data collector, meditation practitioner, nature lover, quiet observer—and brings them together in a seamless, profound, and captivating way. Give yourself the gift of being taken on this journey reflected in her words and get inspired to take a journey of your own. —Dawn Mauricio, author of Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners
In Great River Legs, Laura Madeline Wiseman measures the weeks in papers graded, classes taught, but also in miles ridden alongside rivers, lengths of the journey called “legs.” The book’s great subject is as much the making of narrative as it is an exploration of geography. Are our stories circular, spinning like wheels on a bicycle? Or do our lives move almost linearly like a waterway flowing across the land? Through small bursts of lyric prose, Wiseman explores the ways “we can begin again,” how we test ourselves on paths that are “steep and dangerous” while learning to accept that we can never “control the day’s rotation.” —Jehanne Dubrow, author of throughsmoke: an essay in notes