Floodgate Poetry Series
In the tradition of 18th and 19th century British and American literary annuals and gift books as well as series like the Penguin Modern Poets Series of the late 20th century, the Floodgate Poetry Series: Three Chapbooks by Three Poets in a Single Volume uniquely showcases the work of various poets via the chapbook, an often-overlooked form that captures the essence of a poet’s vision and voice. Each volume publishes an original chapbook by a poet who has yet to publish a full-length collection, a poet who has published three or fewer full-length collections, and a poet who has published four or more full-length collections. In bringing together collections by three poets in various stages of their careers and work, the Floodgate Poetry Series celebrates the broad range of poetry being written today.
The Floodgate Poetry Series was founded and is edited by poet, Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum. Floodgate’s first five volumes were published by Upper Rubber Boot Books. The series is now published by Etchings Press of the University of Indianapolis.
The chapbook, as a form, is laser focused. It is brief but provides the poet just enough space to meditate on a particular subject or way of versifying experience. The chapbook is small yet powerful, and while the chapbook is as unique and diverse as the poets who make it, the chapbook reflects a vision of the world as it is right now—no matter how the poet is writing or what they are writing about, in the case of Volume 6: the “sudden loss of the wife/mother” (Peter and Nicole Cooley’s Vanishing Point), “the black people that in recent and preceding years have been doused and dismembered” (Dexter Booth’s Rhapsody), and the “fusion of earth, animal, human—a one-ness, beautiful, and also damned” (CMarie Fuhrman’s Camped Beneath the Dam). These chapbooks (and any of the chapbooks published over the last five years in the Floodgate Poetry Series) could easily be published on their own, and they would do so powerfully, but in the bringing together of three chapbooks by three poets (sometimes more if the chapbooks are co-written) in various stages of their careers, lives, and work, we create a unified work that celebrates the broad range of poetry being written today while offering a collective vision of our time.
The sudden loss of the wife/mother for the husband/daughter that occasioned this collaboration is both beyond belief and as real as air. Vanishing Point is a twining of grief, of two strands that are equally strong and, once twined, all the more intense. Although marvelously different poets, there are vertiginous moments when I cannot guess who is speaking. This chapbook-length poem quite literally brings the power of two poets into one singular and astonishing voice.
—Kimiko Hahn, author of Foreign Bodies
The poems in Fuhrman’s book are a kind of siphoning of language which results in a fusion of earth, animal, human—a one-ness, beautiful, and also damned. As a poet who hikes and lives in a landscape still wild, she brings us the wild and the broken. The double meaning of the title shows the reader her intent—to both pierce and bond with her words. The first five poems describe both the beauty and mutilation of the beings of water—salmon. “Neither one of us had our second names…”: Here is the linkage between the damming of the reservoir and the loss of land—home—death for the persona of the speaker, a native woman. The body of the world, of fish, and of women is shown through exquisite language and a blending of the senses: “her eyes straining to hear…” Then the tonal shift in “The Problem of My Body”—”scars of your scalpels and your slurs”—replicates the damn you implicated throughout these poems. Fuhrman has ordered her book in a spiral, a circling, a nurturing word and world we are meant to read.
—Veronica Golos, author of GIRL
Dexter L. Booth’s Rhapsody is not merely an epic tribute to the black people that in recent and preceding years have been doused or dismembered, it’s also an examination of how black people harbor and express black trauma, those who cultivate a prideful legacy of inflicting it, and how black trauma and black people are mythologized in every facet of the human imagination. Wedged between these narratives and examinations is a black speaker who outlives them, however admirably, stating, “you wake up / in a village filled with so much smoke / it is all you see for years / your skin / burning like an offering to gods / you cannot hear.” Read these poems at whatever pace your heart dictates. Booth ensures for every hurt you feel, you’ll also triumph.
—Dustin Pearson, author of A Family is a House