Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 5

5 March 2019

It will earn its place on the shelf where you keep your most important books.

—Jeanetta Calhoun Mish

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5 March 2019

About this book:

Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 5 collects three chapbooks in a single volume: Sarah Rebecca Warren’s Price of Admission, Derrick Weston Brown’s On All Fronts, and T.R. Hummer’s Dark Meter.

This is the fifth volume in the Floodgate Poetry Series, edited by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum. Chapbooks—short books under 40 pages—arose when printed books became affordable in the 16th century. The series is in the tradition of 18th and 19th century British and American literary annuals, and the Penguin Modern Poets Series of the 1960s and ’70s.

Sarah Rebecca Warren is a writer, educator, and musician. She lives in Norman, Oklahoma and teaches for Oklahoma State University. Sarah received scholarship to study at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in 2016, and her writing has appeared in Oklahoma Today, Gravel, Luna Luna, and other journals. Her poems “Anatomy of an Eating Disorder” and “Chimayó Mercado” won first place in the Arcturus Fall 2017 Poetry Contest, adjudicated by Ruben Quesada. Sarah is a regular contributor for World Literature Today.

Derrick Weston Brown holds an MFA in creative writing, from American University. He has studied poetry under Dr. Tony Medina at Howard University and Cornelius Eady at American University. He is a graduate of the Cave Canem and VONA Voices summer workshops. His work has appeared in such literary journals as The Little Patuxent Review, Mythium, The Tidal Basin Review, and Vinyl Online.

Terry Randolph Hummer is an American poet, critic, essayist, editor, and professor. His most recent books of poetry are After the Afterlife and the three linked volumes Ephemeron, Skandalon, and Eon.


What follows Price of Admission is a chapbook that pushes the boundaries between traditional poetic form and everyday minutia. If the speaker’s eyes in Price of Admission look everywhere all at once, monitoring the traditions of strangers and family alike, then the speaker’s eyes in On All Fronts look squarely in the mirror. On All Fronts concerns itself with investigating multiple types of fronts—or appearances—and relays varying definitions and quotes including the word “fronts” throughout. […] On All Fronts addresses prominent cultural issues crippling the black community, like in the poem “Meanwhile, at a black funeral home in Chicago, a mortician explains why he mourns, weeps at his expanding profit margin”, which reads, in full:
     “We running out of coffins.”
[…] Two engines steer the narrative of T.R. Hummer’s Dark Meter: the speaker’s dexterous attention to and control of meter, and the tension that such discipline towards rule and form creates when situated within the current American political climate. […] Dark Meter is a haunting, lyrically agile collection, a fast-paced yet intimate read that veers between subtle political commentary and moments of unapologetic self-reflection.

—Abriana Jetté, “Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum’s Floodgate Poetry Series,” Stay Thirsty Magazine, July 2019

In this deeply embodied and emotionally powerful collection, Sarah Warren confronts the question of the Price of Admission. What are the costs of love, spirituality, personal and cultural acceptance and understanding? The poems suggest that the hidden costs may well outweigh the obvious ones—“We think there is nothing to undo but ourselves […] We live inside a dream/too compact to let the air in or the devils out.” This collection belies its status as a “first,” combining stunning imagery and metaphor with honesty and earned wisdom. It will earn its place on the shelf where you keep your most important books.

—Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, 2017-18 Oklahoma State Poet Laureate and Director of The Red Earth MFA

Derrick Weston Brown’s On All Fronts is a block party of emotions. Here, the mood shifts quickly from D’Angelo to Ghostface Killah. Brown’s speakers ride the green line, earhustling for round-the-way gossip. They also “…weep, at…black womanless streets.” To the elder throwing shade, they say, “ain’t no besting ‘these bars.'” These poems earned every damn “right to coat each tooth in” gold.

—Alan King, author of Drift and Point Blank

I am glad to have lived long enough to see and feel (and revisit like a much needed friend) Derrick Weston Brown’s “On All Fronts”. These poems are replete with originality (remember saxophonist Lester Young’s artistic credo “You got to be original, man!”) technical and emotional range, and—most importantly—feeling. They entrance the reader; and they make you rethink the world around (and inside) you. Read and re-read and re-read these poems. And recite them out loud. because they are also as musical as a kiss. Lucky us, world. Lucky us.

—Reuben Jackson, poet and author of Fingering The Keys

The twenty poems that make up TR Hummer’s Dark Meter present prosodic correlatives—dark meters—for the dark matter that grasps and warps the sanity and  moral conscience of the body politic in the twenty-first century, rendering us helpless, unable or unwilling to define, much less correct, our collective psychosis. TR Hummer’s Dark Meter paradoxically illumines this baleful gravity and shapes it into works of art, as did Poe, Baudelaire, and Rimbaud before him. There is no more essential task of the poet.

—Edison Jennings

Praise for our poets:

For T.R. Hummer:

Praised for its “startling imagery and lyrical descriptions” by Publisher’s Weekly, Hummer’s work is at once ironic, playful, and deadly serious. … Hummer’s own view suggests some of the bleak irony undergirding his recent work: “We are thrown into the world, from where we do not know,” he told the Rumpus. “And we are going somewhere, where we do not know. And all our human drama falls in between.”

—Poetry Foundation

Stark, yes. Tough? Yes. But there’s humor in this voice, a sense of irony and slyness and – well, love for the entropic crap-storm that is our brief flicker on this brief flicker of a planet. This is a mind that sees horror and humor, beauty and cruelty, without needing to polarize them. They coexist, each playing in its own time signature and following its own rules.

—Amy Glynn Greacen, New York Quarterly, on his Ephemeron

For Derrick Weston Brown’s Wisdom Teeth:

Found here are playful experiments with the eintou, bop, and brownku, African American forms seldom approached with such mastery.

—Simone Jacobson, managing editor for Words. Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture

Son of Langston, come on through.

—Ruth Forman, author of Prayers Like Shoes

Derrick Weston Brown ventures into the canon to echo the voices of Morrison’s Sweet Home Men, then bends his ear to the streets of DC to render the shouts and whispers of corner brawls and slapped down dominoes—all the while balancing the bridge between Ellington and the sacred tribes of hip-hop.

—Tyehimba Jess, author of Leadbelly

Full of wit and whimsy, Wisdom Teeth postulates a poetics of heart-whole appreciation and honesty—for love and life, for family and friends, for literature and history, for pop culture and the poet’s ever-cognizant powers of observation.

—Tony Medina, author of My Old Man Was always on the Lam

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