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The Floodgate Poetry Series, Volume 4

The Floodgate Poetry Series
 is edited by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum and has three previous volumes. Volume 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, Jesuits, 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. 

-Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, founder and series editor 


Elegy For What Adapts 

     -from Map of Veins by Regina Diperna


No one knows why the first human stopped  

breathing, or where his body lay as it changed 


from flesh to earth to emptiness. What position  

was the last one his limbs held before they became 


something else—moss, nest, shadow, 

an animal’s expelled breath? I keep a photograph 


of a dead lover beneath my bed. It is blanched  

from too much looking, too much trying to touch 


a gone thing. It is next to a black and white striped  

scarf he gave me, and some things I’d written 


when he was living. Artifacts. What becomes  

of our maps, our little remembrances? His face 


a sketch of home. Now, his color drained,  

his bones dissolved like feathers, 


an extinct bird snared in a net 

of soil. What part of death is he now? 


What animal, what markings, 

what armful of atoms will he become? 

     -from Ryen Teitman's Jesuits

Some mornings, the clouds
settle rooftop low,
   holding us in place
like a specimen slide.


I spend my days
wondering how a hammer
   weighs the hand
that holds it,


or how the starlings apron
the stoplights
   at Alcatraz
and Adeline.


A glassworker told me
once that she could tell
   by the scars
who bandages their fingers


and who kisses closed
the wounds. I don't
   know how
my father woke


hours before sunrise
each morning and worked
   until long past sunset.
Sleep was a country


to retire to, an Ecuador.
I live where the light is
   thin, and clothes us
like linen.


In the hills above town,
a black snake scrawls 
   across the path
like a signature.

I still have countries
left to discover, and ballets
   of work
for my hands to learn.




     -from Philomela by Paisley Rekdal


What do we do  

with memory, do we burn  

or do we embellish it, do we 

study it like the elk 


projected onto the archery  

studio screen, summer’s  

gelatin halo shivering  

 between its antlers, replayed 


whether or not  

anyone will come  

to practice on or witness it: is this  

what memory is: 


static, unchangeable 

mind we step into  

and the clearing opens: again,  

light rain, the scent 


of moss, puffs of steam 

rising off the slick,  

black muzzle? Does the image,  

over time, brighten 


so feverishly inside us, 

tearing through  

the eye, the mind, the body: is it we 

who wander out, tentative, 


into late morning light? 

What does it mean  

to forget so much,  

happily, greedily, if not  


that we are nourished most 

on loss? The video  

spools, the elk steps into 

then out of its field, 


who cares, it was dead 

the second the camera  

found it anyway, captured 

and projected endlessly  


so that we might practice making it  

dead again.  

Is this the image to convince you  

of the blinding  


limits to our world?  

Is this another entry  

to our newest opening?  

The animal turns, the screen 


inside its body shakes:  

open, bright, pocked 

by tips of arrows 

that never find their mark. 


            -from The Floodgate Poetry Series, Volume 4, Upper Rubber Boot Books (2017)


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. 

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