Posts filed under ‘Floodgate’

Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 5

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

5 March 2019

Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 4

“I’ll go back to these poems again and again.”

—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones

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27 Feb 2018

About this book:

Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 4 collects three chapbooks in a single volume: Regina DiPerna’s A Map of Veins, Ryan Teitman’s Jesuits, and Paisley Rekdal‘s Philomela.

Regina DiPerna’s first collection of poems, A Map of Veins, tells the story of the death of a lover and her healing process. In these elegies, DiPerna faces the guilt of finding new love, death taunts her years after the fact with postcards and gifts, and memory haunts her dreams.

Jesuits, Ryan Teitman’s second collection, explores childhood, fatherhood, and the holy spirit in rich lyrical verse and prose. In often surreal poetry and prose, Teitman’s mother appears as a curtain in the window, he wears a shadow for a suit, and plays on the train tracks with a child version of his father.

Paisley Rekdal’s fourth collection of poetry, Philomela, unabashedly parallels the myth of Philomela with her own experience with violent sexual assault in a combination of verse and lyric essay. In these brave, somewhat experimental verses, Rekdal challenges the definitions of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape as she parses out her own experiences with them.

It’s the fourth 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.


Regina DiPerna holds an MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her poetry has been published in Boston Review, Missouri Review, Cincinnati Review, Passages North, Gulf Coast, Meridian, Redivider, Tinderbox and others. In 2014, she received a three-month fellowship from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Residency in New Mexico. She currently lives and works in New York City, where she is hard at work on a second poetry collection.

Ryan Teitman is the author of the poetry collection Litany for the City (BOA Editions, 2012), and his awards include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He lives in Philadelphia.

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; a hybrid-genre photo-text entitled Intimate; and five books of poetry. Her newest collection is Imaginary Vessels, and her latest nonfiction work is The Broken Country, which won the 2016 AWP Nonfiction Prize. Her work has received the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes, and various state arts council awards. She teaches at the University of Utah and is Utah’s Poet Laureate.



All three poets included in the series use prose and verse forms of poetry. But what they write about, the images and metaphors they use, are as individual as themselves and their themes. Kudos to the Floodgate series for bringing these collections together, providing examples of some of the beautiful poetry being written.

—Glynn Young, “The Floodgate Poetry Series: Three Chapbooks,” tweetspeak, 27 February 2018


Regina DiPerna’s A Map of Veins begins with the photograph of a dead lover and a decomposing body. What “will he become?” the speaker asks, and in this moving sequence of elegies the lost lover is transmuted into a map—a landscape. In these intimate and ardent poems, absence is prismatic, refracted through our wide and everyday world. It lingers in a slack leather belt, the skin of a mango, and “a fortune // told in fallen leaves across / a swimming pool.” Through dream, memory, and the careful laying of words, we are granted access to the secret and trembling lives of artifacts. Ultimately, the lover revives circuitously through the earth itself, through “an animal’s expelled breath.” And through the breath that has expelled these stunning poems.

—Adam Giannelli, author of Tremulous Hinge


The love poem and the elegy share related rhetorics, movements, and emotional registers, but the primary element they share is the difficulty of their composition; every poet writes them, hardly any succeed. These elegies by Regina DiPerna rank among the most complex and moving I know. Like Mark Doty, she holds nothing back in the making of these shapely songs; like Brenda Hillman, she creates from the death of a loved one another life entire. I am instructed by this work that honors the mortality—and vitality—in each of us.

—Kathy Fagan, author of Sycamore


Every moment of Ryan Teitman’s Jesuits feels like elegy, like tribute—not only to a father but to a life that is impossible to hold “in place/ like a specimen slide.” In shapely lines, Teitman twists and troubles syntax to bring these dreams into the waking world. There is a gauze, a film, present in these poems—”light is/ thin, and clothes us/ like linen,” “a mosquito net/ of stars settles/ over town,” and “the dark is pulled/ back like a sheet/ covering a body”—but the experience feels immediate, never diffused. Jesuits hit me in the gut. I’ll go back to these poems again and again.

—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones


“Sleep was a country / to retire to, an Ecuador” writes Ryan Teitman. Apt phrasing, as one could spend several evenings vacationing in the steam that rises from these well-wrought pages—part wistful noir, part mystic incense (“bluebottle, peat”) emanating from a thurible. Jesuits is the work of a master craftsman, wherein family, fable, faith, and form cohabitate to create art as anodyne. Holy moly are these poems dreamy, healing.

—Marcus Wicker, author of Silencer and Maybe the Saddest Thing


Compelling, appealing, cinematic . . . Rekdal refreshes the meaning and the image of being displaced in this world.

—The Boston Globe, on her book, Imaginary Vessels


Rekdal’s work deeply satisfies, for it witnesses and wonders over the necessary struggles of human awareness and being.

—Rain Taxi, on her book, Imaginary Vessels


. . . the razor’s edge that always accompanies eros that makes the poems of Paisley Rekdal fresh, intense and ultimately irresistible.

—Jay Robinson, Barn Owl Review, on her book, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope


1 comment 27 February 2018

Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 3

“We like to say that we kind of beg, borrow and steal,” said Brown. “We beg one another to become better fathers, through the work and our conversations. We borrow from the things we are reading, and other people who are working with the same themes. And we steal from one another.”
                                                         —PBS Newshour


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Released 15 November 2016



About this book:

Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 3 collects three chapbooks in a single volume: brothers Anders and Kai Carlson-Wee’s Northern Corn invites us on a trip across an America of dust, trains, poverty, dignity, and dreams; Begotten, co-written by Cave Canem fellows F. Douglas Brown and Geffrey Davis, bravely and tenderly explores fatherhood in the era of Black Lives Matter; and Enid Shomer’s Driving through the Animal lovingly moves between unflinching witness of destruction and hope for the future.

It’s the third 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.


Anders Carlson-Wee is a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow and the author of Dynamite, winner of the 2015 Frost Place Chapbook Competition (Bull City Press). His work has appeared in Ploughshares, New England Review, Narrative Magazine, AGNI, Poetry Daily, The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, Best New Poets, The Best American Nonrequired Reading series, and many other journals. The recipient of Ninth Letter‘s Poetry Award and New Delta Review‘s Editors’ Choice Prize, he was named runner up for the 2016 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize. Anders lives in Minneapolis, where he is a 2016 McKnight Foundation Creative Writing Fellow.

Kai Carlson-Wee is the author of RAIL, forthcoming from BOA Editions. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and his work has appeared in Narrative, Best New Poets, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, and The Missouri Review, which selected his poems for the 2013 Editor’s Prize. His photography has been featured in Narrative Magazine and his co-directed poetry film, Riding the Highline, received jury awards at the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival and the 2016 Arizona International Film Festival. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he lives in San Francisco and teaches poetry at Stanford University.

Together, they have coauthored two other chapbooks: Mercy Songs (Diode Editions) and Two-Headed Boy (Organic Weapon Arts), winner of the 2015 David Blair Memorial Chapbook Prize.

F. Douglas Brown is the author of Zero to Three (University of Georgia Press 2014), recipient of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, selected by Tracy K. Smith. Brown holds an MA in Literature and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, and is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow. His poems have been published by The Academy of American Poets, The Chicago Quarterly (CQR), The Virginia Quarterly (VQR), The Sugar House Review, Cura Magazine, Vinyl Poetry and Prose Magazine, and Muzzle Magazine. Brown was featured in Poets & Writers Magazine as one of their Debut Poets of 2014 (Jan/Feb 2015).

He has been an educator for over twenty years, and teaches English at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, an all-boys Jesuit school. When he is not teaching, writing or with his two children, Isaiah and Olivia, he is busy DJing in the greater Los Angeles area.

Geffrey Davis is the author of Revising the Storm (BOA Editions 2014), winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Finalist. His honors include fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center, the Anne Halley Poetry Prize, the Dogwood Prize in Poetry, the Wabash Prize for Poetry, the Leonard Steinberg Memorial/Academy of American Poets Prize, and nominations for the Pushcart Prize. His poems have been published by The Academy of American Poets, Crazyhorse, The Greensboro Review, The Massachusetts Review, Mississippi Review, The New York Times Magazine, Nimrod, and Sycamore Review, among other places. Davis grew up in Tacoma, Washington—though he was raised by much more of the Pacific Northwest—and he teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Enid Shomer is the author of four previous books of poetry, two chapbooks, and three prize-winning books of fiction, most recently The Twelve Rooms of the Nile (Simon & Schuster, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Poetry, Paris Review, Parnassus, Boulevard, and many other magazines as well as more than sixty anthologies and textbooks. In 2013 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Writing from the Florida Humanities Council. Among her many poetry prizes are the Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize from Poetry, the Celia B. Wagner Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize. She has twice been the subject of feature interviews on National Public Radio—on “All Things Considered” and “Sunday Edition.” A Visiting Writer at many colleges and universities, Shomer lives in Tampa, Florida. Her new full-length book of poetry, Shoreless, won the Vachel Lindsay Prize and is forthcoming in 2017 from Twelve Winters Press.



Begotten turns a poetic lens on fatherhood, examining how fathers and sons thrive, how they falter, how they learn.

—Christi Craig, Conversations in Poetry, Lessons in Life: Q&A (& Giveaway) with F. Douglas Brown and Geffrey Davis

When poets Geffrey Davis and F. Douglas Brown first met at a poetry retreat in 2012, they instantly connected in discussing fatherhood and the poetry that sprang from that experience. Over time, that relationship grew, and they began writing poetry that came directly out of their conversations. Soon, they were even borrowing each other’s lines or writing stanzas or whole poems back and forth, as a kind of call and response. . . .

“We like to say that we kind of beg, borrow and steal,” said Brown. “We beg one another to become better fathers, through the work and our conversations. We borrow from the things we are reading, and other people who are working with the same themes. And we steal from one another.”

—Elizabeth Flock, “Two fathers use poems to teach their kids about growing up black in America,” PBS Newshour Poetry, February 13, 2017

Northern Corn invites us into a dream America is having about itself, wherein the voices are both the road and the kicked-up gravel dust, memory and the occasion for memory, the flame and its shadow. An entrancing investigation of place and self and other, a spell one never wants broken.

—Michael McGriff, on Northern Corn by Anders Carlson-Wee & Kai Carlson-Wee

The argument Northern Corn makes in poem after beautiful poem—the eyes are connected to the mouth is connected to the heart—is one I am glad is in the world.

—Ross Gay, on Northern Corn by Anders Carlson-Wee & Kai Carlson-Wee

The imagined and the unsaid collide head on with specifics so sensory they burn, they freeze, they illuminate, and they turn off the lights at once, leave you in a darkness where everything is at its brightest. These voices have kidnapped me.

—Laura Kasischke, on Northern Corn by Anders Carlson-Wee & Kai Carlson-Wee

Begotten captures the bliss, consternation and heart-thumping ruckus of being both parent and child. A wild and tender ride.

—Tracy K. Smith, on Begotten by F. Douglas Brown & Geffrey Davis

Brown and Davis riff off each other’s work, while embodying in their virtuoso poems a rich chorus of familial voices. Raw, tender, headlong, and scared, these poems about fathers and sons walk the knife’s edge of being a parent in the era of black lives matter. Complexity abounds—’the many sounds that can break a thought/into still sharper shards of thinking’—and despite the generational wounds, the single constant expressed so variously and valiantly in these musical poems is love. Begotten portrays fatherhood with dazzling originality. Don’t miss this book.

—Barbara Ras, on Begotten by F. Douglas Brown & Geffrey Davis

“Have I done anything right” ends one poem in this tough, concentrated collection of tender lyric and formal exploration, but the anxiety runs throughout. Brown and Davis trade flows like an Old School hip-hop duo even as the speakers here trade subjectivities—a son to a father, a father to a son. But that very fluidity rhymes with slipperiness—how precarious the inheritance of father to child when to be someone’s spitting image is to risk being worth the same as saliva on a street. How do dads of sons dance in their twin bodies with and for each other, mothers and daughters, wives and beautiful boys? In Begotten, the poets do the steps and missteps again and again to a rich music that buzzes with pops’s fragile cassette tapes, an old-timey tune cut to a fray of light on loop, the blood-blue pulse of sex, and a live feed from cell- and dash-cams. Make no mistake, these are love poems, maybe because they are fatherhood poems, but likely because the poets want desperately to get fatherhood right(ed) despite their own unstable footing.

—Douglas Kearney, on Begotten by F. Douglas Brown & Geffrey Davis

In Driving through the Animal, Enid Shomer writes of her landscape the way a lover describes the body of their beloved; attention to each freckle, cleft, and scar. With crisp formalism and exquisite detail that calls to mind the sea-worn odes of Seamus Heaney and bodily-fluid-soaked lyric of Kim Addonizio, Enid has crafted an erotic and sobering love song for our dying world, one that asks us to glimpse “the perfume hoarded all day by bees” and insists, “through radiance and filth, through blubbering grief and parabolas of rage,” that we not look away.

—Kendra DeColo, on Driving through the Animal by Enid Shomer

In Enid Shomer’s Driving through the Animal, she is, as she states, a “clear daughter of the tides,” which perhaps explains why her mind moves so deftly between inner and outer concerns, between music and silence, between plenty and scarcity, and between a hope for the future and a reckoning with death. Though her landscapes offer a “visual blessing,” they also wrestle with a frightening diminishment, sometimes ecological and sometimes personal. “It’s hard work to ponder one’s moral/failings,” she confesses; yet, like plovers burying eggs in beach sand—too often “reduced by the smallest foot to a yellow stain”—Shomer nudges her poems into place, trying to offer “a pure voice,” never more endangered than now.

—Jeff Hardin, on Driving through the Animal by Enid Shomer

Enid Shomer’s striking new chapbook, Driving through the Animal, takes the reader into timeless natural kingdoms and on to the immediacy of human relationship with the fluidity of water—back and forth, up and down we go. She gracefully exploits what language can accomplish and the way in which it bridges seemingly permanent distances. Many of these poems hang on the cusp of the temporal as in “a spangled globule on the oily feather of a bird.” Such exactly seen miniscule imagery holds ephemera in space thus extending and slowing the reader’s perceptive field. Delight in Enid Shomer as the record keeper of varied and shifting coastlines—those of vital literal and figurative substance.

—Katherine Soniat, on Driving through the Animal by Enid Shomer

2 comments 15 November 2016


I’m struck by the distinct differences in each collection, and yet how the volume somehow holds together as a piece in itself. . . . It offers all of the advantages of the chapbook with the added spark of three voices placed side by side, so that the poems of one poet linger and influence the reading of the next. —Sandy Longhorn


Chapbooks—short books under 40 pages—arose when printed books became affordable in the 16th century. In the tradition of 18th and 19th century British and American literary annuals and the Penguin Modern Poets Series of the ’60s and ’70s, Floodgate Poetry Series: Three Chapbooks in a Single Volume houses emerging and established poets in innovative and attractive editions.

Floodgate is edited by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum and is published annually in autumn. Submissions to Floodgate are currently by invitation only. Etchings Press at University of Indianapolis has taken over publication with Volume 6.


Books in the series:

The Floodgate Poetry Series: Vol. 1 (2014); Vol. 2 (2015); Vol. 3 (2016); Vol. 4 (2018); Vol. 5 (2019).

21 October 2013


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