Award-winning writer, teacher
and scholar

Journey to Nowhere

Journey to Nowhere

Cover Art by Courtney Thomas

Where do we find joy and happiness? Journey to Nowhere meditates on fitness by considering cultural narratives on warriors, media representations, and trainings that nourish the athletic body. Reflecting on Plato’s story of Atlantis, global travel by bicycle, and yogic practices of poses and meditation, Journey to Nowhere ask questions. How does such physical work mark the physique? How does the mind feed our quieter hungers? How do we sustain health while facing food poverty, allergies, and diet restrictions? When home fails to protect, where do we find proof that all isn’t lost? Journey to Nowhere follows that search, one that can lead us to treasures, love, and the place where we can still breathe.

Laura Madeline Wiseman’s astonishing new full-length collection, Journey to Nowhere, is a meditation on hunger, both physical and mental. She skillfully weaves prose poems and lyrics together in this collection to accomplish what poets have been doing since the beginning of language and Whitman so aptly described. “We sing songs of ourselves” she declares in “Mythical Birds of the Sun Paradise” early in the collection. She chose a quote from Whitman as one of the numerous epigraphs to preface each section. This is appropriate because Wiseman is, like Whitman, “the poet of the body and the poet of the soul.” These poems encompass a vast physical and emotional terrain—a childhood of poverty waiting for welfare checks and food stamps, cockroaches crawling in the kitchen, reading feminist texts in college, details of practicing yoga, long bicycle trips, navigating complicated relationships, parental divorce, and political resistance. In “A Mind on Wind,” a prayer or letter to all that is dear, Wiseman writes, “Dear we’re killed if we speak out.” She never allows us to forget that the stakes are high in these poems. Hunger exists at the center of the collection and holds each section together. “It was all…initials and promises—our symbols that meant hunger was life.” Wiseman artfully shows us the way our individual and collective hunger can both harm and save us. The urgency of this collection, with its political and cultural commentary, is palpable. In her previous collections, Wiseman has already shown that she has a fierce voice. This collection proves that she is a force to be reckoned with in contemporary poetry.
—Jennifer Franklin, author of No Small Gift

Praise for Journey to Nowhere