a narrative poem
Above Floodstage is an 800-line narrative poem in chapbook form.
A 100-year flood. A 17-year-old boy. A half-naked mannequin. A blue canoe. A night journey on a flooded river . . . .
With echoes of The Odyssey and Deliverance, Huckleberry Finn and William Faulkner's Old Man, Above Floodstage chronicles a single night in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane, a time when risen water has transformed the familiar into the surreal.
"Luke Whisnant’s Above Floodstage starts with the 'slo-mo roll and tumble' of water cresting far above a river’s banks. From there it moves forward with the ineluctable surge of all that cannot be contained. It swirls and eddies. It doubles back. Then it surges on again, carrying those of us lucky enough to be reading from what we thought we knew to what we have yet to learn. There are words that roil like laughter. There are others that catch in the throat like tears. Then, when all is said and all but done, the tale transcends itself like magic. It carries us beyond what is and into what still might be." —Phebe Davidson