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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

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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.

 

Reviews:

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

Floodgate

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.

 

Books in the series

Released 15 November 2016, Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 3 comprises: brothers Anders and Kai Carlson-Wee‘s Northern Corn, a train trip across an America of dust and dignity; Begotten, co-written by Cave Canem fellows F. Douglas Brown and Geffrey Davis, which explores fatherhood in the era of Black Lives Matter; and Enid Shomer‘s environmental tour-de-force Driving through the Animal.

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floodgate3-printcover

 

  • 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
  • “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
  • Delight in Enid Shomer as the record keeper of varied and shifting coastlines—those of vital literal and figurative substance. —Katherine Soniat

 

Released on 17 November 2015, Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 2 comprises: Kallie Falandays‘ violently playful Tiny Openings Everywhere; Aaron Jorgensen-Briggs‘ intimate and meditative Score for a Burning Bridge; and Hunger, Judy Jordan‘s chronicle of her time living in a Virginia greenhouse that continues (and nearly concludes) the story she started in her first two books, Carolina Ghost Woods and 60ยข Coffee and a Quarter to Dance.

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floodgate_coverart_no2_2015_6x9_front

 

  • Welcome to the Kallieverse, which shares the everyday pleasures and perils of our world, but seems to obey slightly different laws of physics and tilts its language in new intriguing ways. —Albert Goldbarth
  • There is a stillness and attentiveness in Aaron Jorgensen-Briggs’s Score for a Burning Bridge, an abiding quiet, as if the poems are trying not to scare something wild nearby. —Maggie Smith
  • This is a great American poem. Jordan tells the truth of a life as split open by the world—by life on this earth with other kinds of beings, human and other, with dreams and ghosts, machinery, between the visible and invisible. The language is thick, allusive, rich, dense. She turns scalding materials into gorgeous art. —Adrienne Rich

 

Released on 17 November 2014, Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 1 comprises: Jenna Bazzell‘s profoundly centered Homeland; Martin Anthony Call‘s The Fermi Sea, lost love in a near future of nanobots, holograms, and urban decay; and Picasso/Mao, Campbell McGrath‘s persona poems in the voice of the two historical figures.

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  • It has been said that literature should either make the familiar strange or the strange familiar; Homeland does both with alacrity. —Okla Elliott
  • Haunting and urgent, Call has found a line and a music as arresting as it is gratifying. A remarkable collection! —James Kimbrell
  • Ample, dazzling, and elegantly crafted, these poems demonstrate a great mind enacting other great minds. Oscar Wilde once wrote, “A mask tells us more than a face.” These McGrath poems tell us much more than biography—they demonstrate cultural shifts and perception, a sophisticated and compassionate worldview, the poet’s intellect shining through. —Denise Duhamel

21 October 2013


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