Category Archives: Uncategorized

cahoodaloodaling joins Sundress’s Family of Journals!

In 2012 when we founded cahoodaloodaling as a space for artists to express themselves without boundaries, to transcend the idea of a “poem” and simply create, we were reading a lot of similarly themed pieces scattered around the net at different journals and thought, Hey, why not have that in one place, and connect these pieces through themed issues? Small and limited at first, we worked to expand our platform, establish our family, and open our doors to all artistic forms.


We are thrilled to announce that this holiday season cahoodaloodaling will be celebrating with our new extended family as part of Sundress Publications! 2015 was a big year for Sundress and we’re excited to be a part of it. Based out of Knoxville, TN, Sundress Publications is now home to several imprints, including the newly launched Agape Editions which celebrates works that embrace the mythical, Sundress Kids (you guessed it!), and Doubleback Books which rescues out-of-print books and returns them to print. Of course, we can’t forget Flaming Giblet Press, about to celebrate its 10th year of publishing experimental work which “pushes the boundaries of crucial” nor Sundress hosting its first full-length open reading period.

But you probably want to hear about our sister journals. Stirring: A Literary Collection, founded by Sundress Publications president Erin Elizabeth Smith in 1999, is one of the longest continually publishing online journals. Another sister, Wicked Alice, explores the female experience (all genders welcome!) while Rogue Agent investigates the experiences of the human body and Pretty Owl Poetry brings poetry to a live audience with their Spotlight Series.

As always, cahoodaloodaling will continue to invite unique writing, embrace hybrid and multimedia work, and celebrate collaboration.

A true family never stops growing, so from our family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Kate Hammerich & Raquel Thorne
Founding Editors



Find out more about Sundress’s other projects and Sundress Academy for the Arts at

New Staff Member! Michelle Panik, Lit Reader

A warm welcome to the newest member of our fiction/nonfiction team, Michelle Panik!

Michelle Panik 4Michelle Panik lives on the edge of California, in Carlsbad, with her husband and their kids. She’s previously worked as a publications coordinator, a freelance writer, an adult ESL teacher, and a middle- and high-school teacher. These days, she teaches her three-year-old twins to hunt for bugs and sing Indigo Girls songs. She has an MFA from the University of Maryland and a BA in Writing and Art History from UC San Diego. Her stories have been published in such journals as Alimentum, Concho River Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and SLAB.

We’re excited to have Michelle join our team as we work on our Writers Create: A Winter Makers’ Fair issue, out January 31st!


Position Filled! cahoodaloodaling seeks Fiction/NonFiction Reader

cahoodaloodaling banner 2015cahoodaloodaling is an online quarterly journal founded in 2012. As a collaborative journal, our quarterly issues are shaped by an eclectic staff and a revolving guest editor. Our calls for submissions, molded by our guest editors, are based on either a theme or a writing style. As such, our issues are ever-changing and our style ever-evolving. We seek to fill one reader position to work directly with our fiction and nonfiction editor, Anastasia Olashaya-Grill. Of course, our new team member will have opportunities to interact and work with other members of our international staff, as well as our contributors and guest editors. Minimum age requirement is 16; no maximum. Position is a one year/four issue commitment for 2016, with the possibility to extend.



-Weekly reading and voting of our slush pile in Submittable.
-Site content to be determined based on applicant’s personal strengths and interests. Options include, but are not limited to: promoting our published work and authors, conducting interviews/roundtables, writing book reviews, or providing craft/commentary pieces for our blog. Genre and media mixing OK. (See Orooj’s Throwback Thursdays on our FB page)

Preferred Qualifications:

-Good literary citizenship.
-A strong sense of self as a reader. (Knowledge of contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and/or theater a plus.)
-Reliable computer access and an internet connection.
-We’d especially welcome readers from African, East Asian, or South American countries, whose perspectives we feel are currently underrepresented on our staff. (The demographics of our staff currently being: Six Americans, one Canadian, and one Pakistani.)
-Being bilingual or a polyglot is a plus, but not a requirement.

We believe that experiencing publishing from both working behind the scenes at a journal and by submitting to journals is important for our team members. While we do not require applicants to have published work prior to applying, we do ask that all applicants be interested in seeking publication themselves. (We can help!)

To apply, please send a letter (500-1000 words) detailing your interest in the position to the Managing Editor, Raquel Thorne, at Each applicant is asked to address the question: What does being a “good literary citizen” mean to you? Please also tell us who you are as a reader: Who are you reading, and why? Conversely, and perhaps more importantly: What are your personal prejudices as a reader? (As an example: Raquel Thorne, the managing editor, is strongly prejudiced against work that sentimentalizes individuals as “angels”. And ghost metaphors. But all the dinosaur poems get her vote.) Include a brief writing sample of 5-15 pages—reviews, argumentative essays, or interviews preferred. And, of course, please tell us about yourself as an individual outside of the literary community.


While we only have space for one reader, additional roles may be created to suit excess, promising applicants. Prior to applying, please read our current issue.


Interview with our 2015 In Cahoots Guest Judge Patrick Shawn Bagley

Patrick Shawn Bagley, the novelist in our Poet-Novelist judging duo for cahoodaloodaling‘s 2015 In Cahoots contest, shares with us a little about his recent book, collaborating, and his co-judge, Ruth Foley.

Yonder Sm

Raquel Thorne: Your book, Bitter Water Blues, came out earlier this year, one review calling it a “redneck noir”. Can you describe your take on the classic hitman mob noir?

Patrick BagleyPatrick Shawn Bagley: There are more hitman stories out there than any sane person could ever want to read. For me, the main consideration was figuring what I could do to make my guy stand out in such a huge crowd. Joey grew tired of the life and did his best to get out of it, going back to the mob only when he had no other choice. Another difference is my choice of setting. Most of the novel takes place in rural Maine, not exactly a hotbed of gangland activity. I think that setting shapes the characters and directly affects the plot. Noir doesn’t have to mean “big city.” Life in the country is just as brutal, with men and women who doom themselves day by day.

Raquel Thorne: What does collaboration mean to you as a writer?

Patrick Shawn Bagley: That’s a tough question, as I haven’t done any collaborative work in about 20 years. Communication and shared vision are key. You have to trust your creative partner, and trust your own instincts so you can let yourself play off whatever that person brings to the project.

Raquel Thorne: While she’s not looking, can you tell us something cool about Ruth Foley that she’d be too shy to share herself?

Patrick Shawn Bagley: In grad school, Ruth got her gang of poet-thugs lit up on absinthe and black Lebanese hash, and led them in an all-out assault against the creative nonfiction writers.  They wiped out the entire CNF program in less than 45 minutes. The university covered it up, of course, and paid off the families of the dead and maimed.

Also, Ruth sees the poetry in everything. That’s a rare gift. Rarer still, she has the ability to out those ideas down on paper and make her readers feel them. Ruth’s a true poet, and—despite the number of writers who claim that title for themselves—there aren’t many of those around anymore.

Read our interview with Ruth Foley
and stay tuned for our 2015 In Cahoots Contest results, out later this winter.

Patrick BagleyPatrick Shawn Bagley‘s debut crime novel Bitter Water Blues was published in January 2015 by Snubnose Press. His stories of hardscrabble life and rural mayhem have appeared in Crimespree Magazine, Thrilling Detective, Spinetingler, The Iconoclast, and the anthology Uncage Me. He was one of the founding editors of The Lineup: Poems on Crime, an annual anthology. Bagley lives and writes on a dead-end dirt road in a one-stoplight town. During the day, he works at a nonprofit community support program for adults with intellectual disabilities.


Interview with our 2015 In Cahoots Guest Judge Ruth Foley

2015 In Cahoots Collaboration Contest submissions remain open until 10/1/15.In Cahoots Flier 2015

Ruth Foley, the poet in our Poet-Novelist judging duo for cahoodaloodaling‘s 2015 In Cahoots Contest, shares with us a little about her recent chapbook, collaborating, and her co-judge, Patrick Shawn Bagley.

Yonder Sm

Raquel Thorne: I’m a big fan of your chapbook Dear Turquoise from dancing girl press (2013) and can’t wait to get my hands on your newest, Creature Feature (ELJ Publications, 2015). Of your writing, you recently said, “I ask a lot of questions. I use the word ‘if’ a lot. I am much more comfortable with lack of knowing in a poem than in other parts of my life. I almost wrote ‘than in real life’ there, but if poems aren’t real life, I don’t know what is.” What questions do you explore in your new collection?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARuth Foley: My first instinct is to say that I’m not exploring anything to do with real life, because Creature Feature is not only drawn from monster movies, it’s drawn from monster movies that, in some cases at least, are closing in on being a hundred years old. Isn’t that wild? Hundred year-old movies? But the fact is that the poems aren’t really about the movies at all—they’re about the monsters, sure, and some of the other characters, and the actors who played them. At their heart, though, they’re about us.

I’m interested in questions of masks and humanity, of the way we treat each other, about how frightened we are of differences. I wasn’t thinking about these poems as political when I was writing them, but I was thinking about the othering that we do, the ways in which we comfort ourselves with the thought that we are normal while so-and-so is not. As if “normal” is a thing that exists. The monsters in Creature Feature are across the board more human than the humans, more “normal” than the characters who are supposed to be just regular people. I was also thinking about the sexual politics of the time, the ways in which these films portray men and women, the assumptions we as audience were expected to make, and how little some of these ideas have changed. Of course all of that is political.

I also might explore the question of whether Boris Karloff would have been my boyfriend if he hadn’t died six months before I was born. (Yes. Yes, he would.)

Raquel Thorne: What does collaboration mean to you as a poet?

Ruth Foley: Oh, all kinds of things. I’ve written collaboratively—with a fiction writer, although I stuck to poems; and as an essayist. I encourage my students to write collaboratively. And I have a tight-knit pack of poets who inspire and support me in multiple ways. I don’t think of myself as a collaborative poet, but that might be because, apart from the exceptions listed above, I don’t tend to draft collaboratively. But the influence of my writer friends—from across genres, but especially my poet friends—is all over my work. I have a rotating cast of characters in my head that serve as audience when I’m drafting, and whose concerns I keep in mind (although I’m just as likely to ignore those as not). I love nothing better than a great stretch of time—a long afternoon or a late night—talking to poets. They’re super-smart people, for one thing, and engaged with the world in all sorts of different ways, and they’ve all read stuff I haven’t read and seen movies I haven’t seen and thought about things I haven’t thought about in quite the same way if at all, and all of it goes churning into my brain and, if I’m lucky, comes out as something that’s totally mine but which wouldn’t have existed without them. They also keep me laughing, which I think does a great service to a poet. Or to anyone else, probably.

Raquel Thorne: Now this part’s like a game show: Can you tell us something cool about Patrick Shawn Bagley that he’d be too shy to share himself?

Ruth Foley: I am trying to imagine Patrick being shy about anything at any time, and I have to say I’m coming up pretty short. He’s funny and smart and knows how and where to bury a body, so we get along just fine. Which is good, because he’s smart and knows how and where to bury a body. And he’s a tough guy, but he’s got a giant heart, which he shows in little bits and pieces when he talks about his work or the beauty of Maine. If you’re reading this and you’re anywhere near Patrick, buy him a beer for me, please. I’ll pay you back later.

Stay tuned for our interview with Patrick Shawn Bagley!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARuth Foley lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two greyhounds, one of whom sometimes gets mistaken for a cow. Her work is easy to find online and in her chapbooks, Dear Turquoise (dancing girl press 2013) and Creature Feature (ELJ Publications 2015). She is easy to find at or by looking at her sofa. She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review


Guest Staff Announcement: Ruth Foley & Patrick Shawn Bagley

2015 In Cahoots Collaboration Contest – SUBMISSIONS OPEN

In Cahoots Flier 2015

About guest judges Ruth Foley & Patrick Bagley:



Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two greyhounds, one of whom sometimes gets mistaken for a cow. Her work is easy to find online and in her chapbooks, Dear Turquoise (dancing girl press 2013) and Creature Feature (ELJ Publications 2015). She is easy to find at or by looking at her sofa. She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review


Patrick Bagley

Patrick Shawn Bagley‘s debut crime novel Bitter Water Blues was published in January 2015 by Snubnose Press. His stories of hardscrabble life and rural mayhem have appeared in Crimespree Magazine, Thrilling Detective, Spinetingler, The Iconoclast, and the anthology Uncage Me. He was one of the founding editors of The Lineup: Poems on Crime, an annual anthology. Bagley lives and writes on a dead-end dirt road in a one-stoplight town. During the day, he works at a nonprofit community support program for adults with intellectual disabilities.


More on how to submit here.


Help cahoodaloodaling’s Funding Goal

Dear Contributors,

In an effort to help break-even with our annual Submittable fees charge later this fall without switching to charging for submissions, we’ve made a couple of limited print postcards with a personal note from the editor to thank supporters who make a donation of $20 (or more) through our website.

Please make sure to email us at if you’d like the postcard to go to a different address than your billing address, or as a gift to someone else.

Whether you support cahoodaloodaling by reading, submitting, or donating, we thank you.


Raquel Thorne
Managing Editor


Interview with Guest Editor Sam Slaughter

Yonder SmRaquel Thorne: Your own writing is distinctly Southern—your short story “Black Mamba” (published at Revolution John) involves a moonshiner name Blinky who receives a lesson in poisonous snakes, and your new flash chapbook When You Cross That Line (There Will Be Words, 2015) was inspired by “Florida Man” stories. In one, a man is accosted by an alligator peddler at a rest stop right after arriving across the state line, which is on par with any Florida Man story I’ve read in the news. Paint us a picture of the “Florida Man” and tell us why he’s become an important character in your work? What does being a Southern writer mean to you?

Sam SlaughterSam Slaughter: He, and I’ll invoke the royal He here (ignoring the fact that it isn’t a real thing), is important because he’s interesting. Not interesting in the “I’m going to the museum to learn some things” interesting, but “I’m pretty that guy’s last words are going to be ‘Hey, watch this,’ so let’s watch” kind of interesting. The stories, which all come from the news, show the basest of human emotions and actions. They get at the heart of what people are willing to do with their backs against a wall. The stories, I’d like to think too, help with my own humanity in that I’m reminded constant of my own privilege and luck and that it isn’t the case for most people out there. It reminds me that as long as I’m alive and writing that I still have plenty of time to try and help others as well.

As far as being a Southern writer, I don’t know if I’d consider myself one. By blood, I’m not. I was born and raised in Jersey. But both of my degrees thus far (Elon University and Stetson University) and the one I’m about to start working on (University of South Carolina) have all come in the South. While I wasn’t born in the South, it’s where I came of age—I made it through years eighteen to twenty-two without dying, somehow, so I figure to have learned something along the way.

I may be an imposter, sure, but at this point I’m more a person of the South than I am of New Jersey, and I think that being of a place can be as important as being from there. The. Again, I could be wrong and there could end up being a gang of ‘true’ southern writers ready to kick my ass. Good thing I’ve been doing MMA, I guess.

RT: What is your relationship to Grit Lit?

SS: When I started reading—really reading—books that would fall into the Grit Lit category were the ones that appealed to me. They were harsh, bleak, they were everything that the books I was made to read in high school were not. Best of all, in my eyes, they were interesting. The violence, the sex, the drugs, the complete lack of hope seemed much more real to me than, say whining about being a teen (though my upbringing is closer to Holden Caulfield’s than it is say, any character in a Harry Crews story).

When I started writing—again, really writing, not just pretending or half-assing it—I had been reading numerous Grit Lit books and that was the style that appealed to me. Alcohol has always been a big part of my life (I joke that my parents had taken me to over 100 wineries by the time I was eleven. The number isn’t that high, but it’s close) and so when as I wrote stories I saw drinking and alcohol coming up as themes. The best way I knew to approach them was head on, so I tried it. For the most part, it’s worked out okay.

What’s been interesting to learn about more is what Tom Franklin and Brian Carpenter, in their anthology Grit Lit, call, I believe, ‘Counting Cousins’ and ‘City Cousins.’ People like Andre Dubus III come to mind, who write with the same aesthetic but do it in different environments. It gives me an avenue to explore my own childhood in different ways.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that my relationship is evolving, as it should.

RT: Which writers, both established and emerging, come to mind when you think “Grit Lit”? What short story or novel would you recommend to read to someone just dipping their toes into the genre?

SS: I’d whistle here, but I’m not sure how that would translate. There’s a lot of writers out there doing great work. The best place to look is the anthology Grit Lit. Not only do they give a concise history, but the reading list at the end is phenomenal. It’ll keep you in books for years. Outside of that book, though, Sheldon Lee Compton, Taylor Brown, David Joy, and  Smith Henderson all come to mind. I have Tawni O’Dell and Katherine Faw Morris on my list of writers to check out as well.

RT: Apprise us a bit about your other gigs. I hear it’s the Year of Indie Lit.

SS: I guess I do a bunch, huh? I’m currently the Book Review Editor for Atticus Review. That was really the jumping off point for everything. Dan Cafaro took a shot on me and I hope that I’ve been able to show him that it was worth it. I was the Fiction Editor for Black Heart Magazine for a little while and am a Contributing Editor at Entropy. I’ll be taking over the role of Reviews Editor at Yemassee soon and I’ve got one other role that is coming up, which I’m really excited for but will keep under wraps for now.

Beyond those literary positions, I work as a copywriter, I freelance, and I’m a contributing writer for The Manual, where I cover spirits and, sometimes, books.

I’ve always been a mostly social person and so this is my way of connecting with writer friends and other like-minded individuals. It may seem like overkill and I figure there are people out there who are like, ‘Fuck that guy,’ but oh well. My mentor, Mark Powell said that if you’re not creating a divide between people who love you and people who hate you (he was talking about one’s writing, but whatever), then you’re not doing something right. I’d rather piss some people off and have others that would love to buy me a shot than have a bunch of people that go ‘…meh.’

RT: Tell us the creation story of Slaughterhouse 5

SS: Like I mentioned above, alcohol has been a big part of my life since I was little. This isn’t the best thing in the world and I haven’t not suffered because of it, but for better or worse, I’m tied to it. I’ve worked in a winery and some breweries and eventually want to open my own distillery. I’ve also always kept in mind that if I’m passionate enough about something, I can find a way to incorporate it into my life. When I was given the chance to be a contributing editor at Entropy, I came up with the idea for “Getting Lit,” a series where I interview writers about new work and then create a new cocktail specifically for said work. It’s been great fun on my end and so a couple months back, with AWP on the horizon, I decided to create my own cocktail. I then decided to slap it on the back of my business card.

The cocktail itself takes its name, fairly obviously, from Vonnegut. My mother was a huge Vonnegut fan (I’ve inherited all of her first edition copies, including one that is signed) and the first book I read by him was Slaughterhouse V. Having the surname that I do, it seemed obvious. As for the ingredients, I guess think of it as a southern Long Island Iced Tea. I don’t care for cheap tequila, so I substituted that and the gin out to appeal more to the sweet tea palate that most people around me have.

To make a Slaughterhouse V, mix & serve over ice:

1oz bourbon, 1 oz Southern Comfort, 1 oz amaretto, 1oz dark rum, 1 oz triple sec, 2 oz soda water, & 1 oz sweet tea


We’re still accepting submissions for Grit by the Glass until 6/20/15.

Denis Johnson says to write naked, write in blood & write from exile. For this issue, we’re looking for Grit Lit writing that does just that. We want pieces that kick you in the gut & leave your mouth bloody. We’re looking for poetry & prose that can stop a dog fight while drinking homemade whiskey. We’d love stories, essays & poems that can find their way around the darkest hollers & the seediest city blocks. We want words that know their way around shotguns & fights, black eyes & regret. Words that get at the worst decisions people have ever made & their bare knuckle consequences. In the end, we want pieces that will shake you to your core because they are unafraid of broaching a difficult topic & they do it with aplomb.