Walrus Publishing, Inc.

Inside of Flood Stage

Flood Stage has been in print for a few years now.  It continues to have a strong following among St. Louis poets and poetry lovers.  We were so proud to work with Matt Freeman and 55 of the best St. Louis poets – poets who continue to thrill the St. Louis community with their work.

Flood Stage is a unique collection.  There are no other books like it out there.  We were and are proud that this work so exemplifies the Walrus mission to bring together the writing and reading community.
Flood Stage features well known names in our poetry community such as –

Julia Gordon-Bramer shared three of her poems in Flood Stage.  These included “Punks” a poem celebrating those wonderful teenage years we all remember so well and “University of Missouri – St. Louis Library during a Storm” which just tingles.  Julia is not only a poet, but a Tarot card reader and is very well known in the music community.  We’re going to be working with her again to publish Night Times.  Julia’s fictionalized tale of the St. Louis music scene “back in the day.”

University of Missouri – St. Louis Library, During a Storm

Thunder shakes the fifth floor where I sit
closest to the roof, to feel it better
To watch light flicker, lick
at both wet and dry sides of window glass
Tamed and untamed the electric
empty level, this one I
like best with the research no one reads
at these tables clean of debris
except for me and a shiny penny;
we are kin as clutter here and not
worth much without a lot of help
Low mumbling distant rumbling voices from somewhere
far from this forest of tall shelves, microfiche, binders
The signs say No
Noise but who are we kidding?
If a tree falls, and all that… I fight
the urge to scream, just
to do it, because I could, because I won’t
be caught. Outside the mirror violence of my brain
subsides to gentle rain and alone here how
in peace, I think:
I preferred the storm.

Catherine Rankovic author of Meet Me: Writers in St. Louis and Fierce Constant and Other Poems.  Catherine compared St. Louis’ literary achievements and community to Paris in the 20s – eventually everyone will know it too!  Her poem “People are Flowers” is one of the jewels in the Flood Stage  collection –

People Are Flowers

My grandfather called me a flower once. – Frank D.

Free to approach us, each face
a full bloom with tiny
or mammoth eyes and lashes,
crowns and ruffs, all
ranges of petaldom, mouths
vicious or vacuous, they roam,
at bus stops balance coins
on leaf tips; shy as roses
or like marigolds bold and hatless,
they choose their own tints,
arrange themselves in public fountains,
taste rivers and runoff,
are rapt at our questions, pleased
and the more vivid when stared at.

Attracted to trellises,
loving and hating only
the weather, aware that
emotions will not injure them,
they breathe in what we breathe out,
like friends. They swell on graces
prepared for them.

They marvel.

With dry eyes they seed
the world to follow.

The heads they carried as parasols, grow light and hollow.

Dwight Bitifkofer is, frankly, a powerhouse in the St. Louis poetry community.  Dwight well known for his distinctive, deep, rhythmic voice “is active among several open mic poetry groups in St. Louis” and was twice featured in the St. Louis poetry Center’s “Poetry at the Post” series.  For Flood Stage, Dwight shared two poems – “From the deck of the old house” and “From the deck of the new house” –

From the deck of the old house

The first evening star
millions of miles beyond
the triangle of bare walnut
branches that frame it
The horizon remembers the sunset;
the low call of an owl
wings on the breeze

 From the deck of the new house

At the edge of sound
almost imagined – almost real –
a screech owl calls,
gathers dusk
in soundless trios of trills
I smile because I believe
what I thought I may have heard

Walrus interviewed several of the Flood Stage poets – Catherine Rankovic, Byron Kerman, and Mary Ann Kelly.  They were wonderfully candid about their writing, their lives, and what it means to be a St. Louis poet.

If you’re looking for some great springtime reading – Flood Stage is just what the poet ordered!  Of course we make it easy for you to find – just visit our bookstore!
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