Through a Certain Forest by Laura Madeline Wiseman
|Through a Certain Forest||Laura Madeline Wiseman||BlazeVOX [books]|
Through a Certain Forest draws us irrevocably into the faerie- and ghost-inhabited wilderness where we’ve all been lost in dreams. Evocative as hell, it draws on the accumulated weight of human folktales; even the title evokes the language of French fairy-tales: Il y avait jadis une certaine forêt … and, yes, I was enchanted. Trees as exploited women and as the inheritors of the earth, trolls as men and as the kitschy detritus of our society, share, at times, with humans a landscape cratered by unexplained bombings, and somehow, survivors of one sort or another pull through. These poems are filled with entities familiar to us who in turn gaze into the abyssal mirror of what does my life mean? A wonder-filled collection.
—F.J. Bergmann, author of A Catalog of the Further Sun
We are given a field guide to trees in Laura Madeline Wiseman’s latest book of poetry Through a Certain Forest, realizing as we step in that we are deep in the mythos of ourselves. Each poem is a persona, each tree species recounting its survival from humans. Us homo sapiens are the trolls lurking through the middle of the collection. In the midst of bombings and ecological disasters caused by us is the private life of the speaker, too, living with her own personal troll. Things are bleak, like the first half of a fairy tale. In a car on the freeway, the speaker thinks, “I want to ask how we’ll pay all the tolls still left before us.” We know there is always a cost. Yet the trees each have a voice of resistance as even laurels share, “Now we are the welcome—survivors, winners, and crowned.” We should be listening.
—Dennis Etzel, Jr., author of My Secret Wars of 1984
Laura Madeline Wiseman’s Through a Certain Forest is a quest, searing and searching, through a dystopian landscape that is partly natural, partly ruined by human choice. The collection's controlling symbols—trees, trolls, fairy rings, thunder, and bombs—are multivalent, linking primal ancient beauties and blasted modern realities. The saintly, forgiving trees are exploited and despoiled—sharing psychic space with a female speaker who suffers irruptions of domestic violence and sexual violation. This collection presents an audacious new myth—and it is shattering. The book also offers resolution and hope in a language of intense lyricism and music.
—Clif Mason, author of From the Dead Before
Laura Madeline Wiseman mixes the modern with the mythic so seamlessly I often emerge from her poems having forgotten which world I am in. Her apocalyptic visions in Through a Certain Forest are no exception; a true master of metaphor, she weaves tales of the takeover of trolls—those predatory people your mother warned you about—and the healing power of nature even at the end of the world. This collection confirms Wiseman as one of my favorite modern poets.
—Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam, author of Strange Monsters
Via Laura Madeline Wiseman’s precise and nuanced language, Through a Certain Forest calls forth myth and folklore to illuminate the lives of women in a chaotic world. These evocative poems meld imagery of botany, trolls, factories, and apocalyptic disaster to reveal a narrative that is both beautiful and unsettling. Some poems give voice to plant life, each species forming a kind of collective consciousness, female voices sounding out against witnessed violence and destruction. In other poems, a woman shapes her life in the aftermath—joggers wear headbands, neon haired troll dolls remain hidden in old boxes, trolls hunker down under bridges. The world presented is much like our present world and vastly different from it. In the end, the poems reveal, “permanent scars” may remain, but life continues on.
—Andrea Blythe, author of Pantheon
Laura Madeline Wiseman teaches writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the author of 25 books and chapbooks and the editor of two anthologies, Bared and Women Write Resistance, selected for the Nebraska 150 Sesquicentennial Book List. She is the recipient of 2015 Honor Book Nebraska Book Award, Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship, and an Academy of American Poets Award. Her work has appeared in Feminist Studies, Mid-American Review, Arts & Letters, Calyx, and The Iowa Review. Her book Drink won the 2016 Independent Publisher Bronze Book Award for poetry. Her latest book is Velocipede (Stephen F. Austin State University Press).
· Paperback: 84 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 978-1-60964-284-6