In this seventh volume of the Floodgate Poetry Series, authors Barbara Robidoux, Donovan McAbee, and Kimiko Hahn bring a unique and diverse batch of chapbooks to the table. Robidoux's collection Stirring Sorrow into Soup crafts a picture of the modern world on a backdrop of haiku, tanka, and haibun. These forms weave a captivating glimpse at "a transitional time for all humans and the planet herself," which Robidoux hopes will offer a sense of solace to readers. McAbee's Sightings brings a sorrowful glimpse into nostalgia both about faith and a mother's battle with cancer. Finally, Hahn's wind chime, whale, and downpour showcase a well-balanced group of triolets exploring life around us. While these chapbooks could stand well on their own, together they craft a diverse picture of life that reminds us of what it means to be human, of both the good and the bad, in today's world.
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 Boothe’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.
A note on our publisher and authors: The first five volumes of the Floodgate Poetry Series were published by Upper Rubber Boot Books, a small press in Nashville, Tennessee. They included chapbooks by Sarah Rebecca Warren, Derrick Weston Brown, and TR Hummer (Volume 5); Regina DiPerna, Ryan Teitman, and Paisley Rekdal (Volume 4); Anders Carlson-Wee and Kai Carlson-Wee (co-written), Geffrey Davis and F. Douglas Brown (co-written), and Enid Shomer (Volume 3); Kallie Fallandays, Aaron Jorgensen-Briggs, and Judy Jordan (Volume 2); and Jenna Bazzell, Anthony Martin Call, and Campbell McGrath (Volume 1).
My thanks to these amazing poets and to the indomitable Joanne Merriam, owner of Upper Rubber Boot Books, for housing Floodgate in its early years.
Volume 6 is the first to be published by Etchings Press of the University of Indianapolis. When Joanne informed me she needed to take a break from publishing, I wasn’t sure what to do. I knew I wanted to keep Floodgate alive, but I wasn’t sure how. When I told Kevin McKelvey, publisher of Etchings Press, that I was looking for a press, he leapt at the opportunity. I could not be happier with the outcome. Thank you to Kevin, Etchings Press, and the University of Indianapolis.