"Cruising subways, classrooms, and domiciles, finding transcendence in teen Lotharios who quite Scarface like Shakespeare, and mothers who use every curse but the F-words, WISEGAL is a multilingual, hardrock reverie, A poetic fury, Michele Madigan Somerville remixes classical and vernacular voices, going upside your head to whisper whipsmart secretes about cracked-out-big-city survival. We feel her every rite of passage–-from wary, wide-eyed daughter, to empathetic, abide no bullshit teacher; from religion-spooked youth, to hypocrisy-searing adult; from horny single female to insatiably maternal wife. Somerville may not be the only big-hearted cop’s daughter from the Bronx who can rapture hilariously about the redemptive qualities of heroic blind cats and dirty Italian verse, but until I hear the others, WISEGAL is peerless."
"Michele Madigan Somerville’s WISEGAL is an audacious and exuberant tour de force. With a sharp ear and a love for the concrete, she has fused dramatic deftly drawn glimpses of work, friends and family into a ringing panoramic narrative, alternately acerbic, humorous, poignant---always irresistible."
"The key word here is “wise.” Michele Madigan Somerville’s work is bodacious, curvaceous, smart-mouth, tough, vulnerable, and---indeed---wise. You know the characters in this epic---they live in your neighborhood, grew up wth you, populate your family, and in some cases “are” you. You’ve been through the darkness she speaks of before, but you never knew how full of illumination that darkness could be—until now. Not only is Somerville a wonderful poet, she’s a wonderful translator of light."
"In a post-beat odyssey through present-day New York, Michele Madigan Somerville draws a satirical bead on family dynamics, Bronx customs, Catholic tradition and pop culture overkill. WISEGAL is full of joy and wonder at the sheer saltiness and sexiness of life… "