Tag Archives: Interview

Issue #22 – Of Distance and Discord

What then are the seeds of non-spatial distance? That which isolates one from the world? The haunting pieces in cahoodaloodaling’s Winter 2017 edition attempt to unearth the answer…

Read the full guest editor letter from Sade Andria Zabala.

Of Distance and Discord Cover

Guest Editor’s Spotlight:
This Is a Serious Consideration by Megan Merchant

Ourland by Sue Hyon Bae

Drifting Across Town on the Top Deck by Vicky Waters

Wrong Number by Michael Brockley

Freeway Sex by Alexis Rhone Fancher

To Gorgeous, Love Sis by Chuck Nwoke

All-American Roommate by M. Wright

Kansas by Ana Prundaru

Elizabeth’s Request by Maggie Blake Bailey

Brieftrager by Robert Bharda Ward

Below the Line by Ryan Harper

How to Drive Across the Country by Vivian Wagner

No Eyes by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam & Peter Brewer

L’aurore by Meg Drummond-Wilson

Tarots & Irony by Klarisse Medina

Our Escape by Diana Hurlburt

In-Season by Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll

She Called Me a Dirty Jew by Phyllis Wax

The Favorite by Kelly Flynn

Some Place Not Here by Jessica Barksdale

Cover Art: Of Distance and Discord by Julie Chua

Rachel Nix Interviews Shinjini Bhattacharjee

Review of Dream Job: Wacky Adventures of an HR Manager by Janet Garber

About Our Guest Editor
Sade Andria ZabalaSade Andria Zabala is a Filipina mermaid living in Denmark.

She is the author of poetry books WAR SONGS and Coffee & Cigarettes (Thought Catalog Books, 2016). Her writing has appeared on Literary Orphans, Words Dance Publishing, Hooligan Magazine, and more.

When she’s not busy watching Survivor or having a knife fight with her anxiety, she writes for Thought Catalog. Follow her Facebook, Tumblr, or Instagram.


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 fivethingsthatdontsuck.blogspot.com or by looking at her sofa. She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review


Interview with Guest Editor Laura Madeline Wiseman

Yonder SmRaquel Thorne: In Queen of the Platform you told the story of you great-great-grandmother, Matilda Fletcher Wiseman, a suffragist lecturer. Why do you think it’s important for us to retell stories?

mugshot2014 madelineLaura Madeline Wiseman: To write Queen of the Platform, I began a journey in which I researched a suffragist and lecturer, Matilda Fletcher Wiseman, who was also my great-great-grandmother, a woman about which very little was written. The family members who introduced me to her said only that, “She spoke at Chautauquas while her stepchildren sang and danced.” They knew little about Matilda, but one of them allowed me to borrow the scrapbook Matilda kept for the first five years of her career. In this scrapbook she pasted announcements of her talks, her essays that were published in the Iowa State Register (later renamed The Des Moines Register in 1903) and excerpts from her poems and lectures that were reprinted in newspapers. The more I researched her, the more I wanted to know, primarily because I had never known that a woman in my family spoke to support herself and her family in a time when women were not the primary breadwinners. In 1869 at the age of twenty-six she started speaking, beginning a forty-year career on the lecture-circuit, authoring several books, and inventing. She patented her design for a travel trunk that rolled, one that would enable women travelers like herself to move such a heavy object with ease. This research and writing gave me new insight into the lives of female ancestors, as well as women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, women who Matilda joined on stage. I had to tell Matilda’s story, because I had to know Matilda’s story myself. The story told in Queen of the Platform is not the only possible story to tell about Matilda’s life, which I one of the reasons why I find retellings so proactive and necessary. Writers have the opportunity recreate the historical past, especially retellings that might be missing from the historical record. For example, I just started reading Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, a retelling about the life of Sarah Grimke. I read about Sarah Grimke in college in a women’s studies class on the history of women’s suffrage. I find reading a novel inspired by such a world exciting because it complicates and expands what I know.

Raquel Thorne: In Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience you recast Bluebeard. Why was it important for you to reframe Bluebeard from a bloody monster to the object of his wives’ love and desire? For me, it’s lines like “You’re dangerous, I say, to those you marry” that devictimize these women. They become active participants.

Laura Madeline Wiseman: My book Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience grew out of my work with Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence. By the time I started researching what would become WWR—a task that took seven years to complete—I already had intimate experience working with survivors and resistors of gender violence. As an undergraduate at Iowa State University, I first volunteered in a women’s crisis shelter and participated in events like Take Back the Night. I continued this volunteer work as I completed an MA in women’s studies and a PhD in English. Because I had a small part in the vital force that seeks to help women resist gender violence and because I was in a privileged place—a doctoral student with an assistantship and fellowships—I wanted to see what else I might be able to do. That what else was the anthology. But that wasn’t the only what else, as a writer and poet, the imagined voices of women who survive such situations kept coming to me. I wrote the chapbook First Wife that tells the story of Lilith, Adam’s first wife in Eden. I wrote a sequence of poems on mermaids in the book Drink that gives voice to all those women swimming below the waters in myth. I wrote Fatal Effects that charts the love of three sisters who each marry the same man upon the demise of the sister who preceded her because I wanted to know what they had to say. When I was doing research for the book and reading the numerous retellings of the bluebeard myth, both those by recent writers and those of the original lore, I felt most troubled by the stories that cast bluebeard’s wives as sisters. Writers often imagine themselves inside the heads of their characters. I found myself wondering as I wrote, if I was such a sister, wouldn’t I notice that my brother-in-law had killed my sibling? And if not, why would I be attracted to my late sister’s widower? What sorts of stories would be available me, if I was among such sisters, about the possibilities of love? What sorts of men and the behaviors of men would such sisters see as normal and normalized, but more importantly desirable? What sorts of social systems might be in place that convince women like them that they’d brought the violence on themselves by how they dressed or acted, where they came from and where they hoped to go? What sorts of victim-blaming stories might permeate such a world were sisters would marry the murderer of their own kin?

I didn’t have to look far for such a world. We live there. We live in a culture that often blames women for the violence they experience, that suggests women ask for rape by what they wear, that condemn women for staying with violent men rather than asking men why they rape or asking men why they use physical and sexual violence to control those they say they love. I wanted to see what that world would like under the plotlines of bluebeard.

After the book came out and after hosting a series of readings from Women Write Resistance last fall, I was doing research for a conference paper. I did a search in Google to research if, indeed, men still murder multiple women, if such representations beyond literature, if bluebeard still lingers, or at least a contemporary version of him. I found that he does.

The first hit on my google search was of a man, whom one week after the Women Write Resistance readings in the same town, murdered a woman in a hotel room, a murdering that lead police to the other six women he’d recently slain in town, their bodies dumped in abandoned buildings and weed-choked lots. He strangled them. He tied them up. He left their lifeless bodies in showers with the water running. He killed each of them, one after another, like bluebeard, leaving a trail of dead women in his wake. According to the piece in the newspaper, the police suspected that he murdered more than the seven women. They believe this man has been involved in the murder of countless others, stretching back decades, from Indiana all the way to Texas. Perhaps most chillingly, most like the versions of the bluebeard story where bluebeard doesn’t just kill his wives and leave them tied up and hanging from hooks or chopped up in a vat of blood, but the versions where he bakes and eats them, the murderous man in had an online name he uses to connect with such future women. His online name and persona? Big Boy Appetite.

Raquel Thorne:  If you could include pieces from other journals to have in our issue, what might they be?

Laura Madeline Wiseman: Next month, I’m presenting at the Steel Pen conference with a group of writers who have new and published work on retellings. Panelists will discuss the craft of such writings and read from their work as they engage with the questions: What is the process for writing poems based on research and pre-existing texts? What kind of research is required to (re)tell a historical kinship between historical luminaries? How does a poet navigate fact and (in)accuracy when writing about the past? How does the influence of the world outside the poet hinder or enrich the truth as it is conveyed in poetry of (re)telling? What are the strategies of other contemporary writers who do similar work on the historical record? At what points can a writer depart from fact in the service of the story that wants to be (re)told?

I’m eagerly anticipating the panel. In thinking about this question, I asked them to share some of their recent retell work. Ivan Young has a poem called “Thirteen Stories of Finding Jesus” forthcoming in Passages North. It explores biblical stories of Jesus in a modern setting. Lindsay Lusby has a (re)telling of The Wizard of Oz in The Wolf Skin. She also has a poem that is a (re)telling of the traditional Grimm brothers’ fairy tale “The Maiden Without Hands” in The Feminist Wire. She also has poems (re)telling The Silence of the Lambs forthcoming in Tinderbox Poetry Journal and Third Point Press. Cat Dixon has a work that retells the Medea story in the journal Midnight Circus. Her chapbook Our End has Brought the Spring released this year from Finishing Line Press retells the story of Eva Braun, Adolf Hitler’s longtime companion. One of poem from that chapbook appears in Linden Avenue Literary Journal.

Beyond poetry and prose, I’m especially drawn to work that retells or reconsiders stories visually. Editor, writers, and artist Sally Deskins teamed up with artist Lauren Rinaldi to curate the show Les Femmes Folles: TALES in West Virginia earlier this summer at the Monongalia Art Center. I’d hoped to be able to see the show in person, but unfortunately I could not. Luckily, I had the opportunity to follow the show and the coverage of the show online, including this piece in Quail Bell Magazine that discusses the artists featured as well as several pieces in Les Femmes Folles. Though the show didn’t focus the historical specifically, it did focus on retelling the female body, in challenging the stories told about what it means to be female in our culture by offering up visual stories that resist and trouble those otherwise available to us now. Art included Launa Bacon’s painting that revisits iconic imagery of the 1950s and many provocative reimaginings of the female body such as Courtney Kenny Porto’s tonal sketches, contemplative and evocative photographs by Christie Neptune and those by Cathleen Parra, Marisa Lewon’s bodies in canvas and thread, and paintings by Chuka Susan Chesney, Cheryl Angel, and Marlana Adele Vassar. Other work in the show included abstract art by Shelia Grasbarsky and Jacqueline Ferrante, Kim Darling’s mixed-media, and Michelle Furlong’s photography.

One artist, Tracy Brown, who explores and challenges the images offered to women in media and fashion, offered a particularly evocative painting on the theme of retelling. Her piece “Beware” features a woman striding forward in tall Maryjane heals and short ruffled dress, while carrying a handbag with the digital icon of an exclamation mark inside a yellow triangle. The green paint across the woman’s forehead and the juxtaposition of the woman’s attire against the backdrop of nature scene adds to the tension of the painting, as if she’s walking away from the stories told about women’s dress and presentation in the media, but a walk that means such stories compel her to look again, even as she resists that siren call.

Finally, the show included work by the curators—body prints by Deskins and sketches and paintings by Rinaldi. Deskins’ work “Teen Years” is particularly interesting, when considering how we retell not only the stories told about the bodies of young women, but also how we imagine our own young bodies. Her piece is a collage of images—journals with notes scrawled, paint splotches, watercolor marks, and photographs of the young artist, some strong and challenging, others that mimic the sensual poses often shown in the media.

Though I’m not sure all of this work could fit into one issue, it does suggest to me the compelling, rich body of retelling work that is being produced right now by artists, writers, and poets. I’m honored to be guest editing this issue and look forward to sharing the issue later this year.


We’re still accepting submissions for Historical (Re)Tell until 9/19/15.

Tell the truth but tell it slant, writes Emily Dickinson. For this issue, we’re looking for telling retelling of the historic, tales that offer what wasn’t said but should’ve been, what wasn’t written down but likely happened, whose voices speak that didn’t speak because there wasn’t a platform for them. We want poetry, prose, and nonfiction, music, art, collaborations, and hybrid. We want myths and legends retold from other voices, new perspectives, counter intuitive stances. Accurate, inaccurate, or close, we want work that explores how facts become transformed into the tales, histories, and family stories that inform how we tell our worlds.



Issue #17 – Grit by the Glass

I wanted pieces that would make me feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut one moment, and like I’ve lost  someone very dear to me the next. I wanted work that screamed, sometimes for no reason and sometimes because that is really the only way to deal with suffering sometimes. The pieces selected spoke to me in a number of ways. Not all hit me in the same way, but they all certainly hit me in some way. They were the pieces that had me thinking about them later in the day and into the next, the ones I wanted to talk about with strangers. Read the full Guest Editor’s Letter.

Guest Editor’s Spotlight: Our Fathers by Kerry Johnson

Mommy! by Janne Karlsson

Needing to Know How Penises Worked by Elliott batTzedek

The Super Sea Trade League Strike Force ™ by Adam Kotlarczyk

St. Theresa’s Apron by Rita Anderson

You Can Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye by Stefan Doru Moscu

Be Still My Soul by James Emery

In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of GI Boots on the Ground by Gerard Sarnat

apricity to the man unraveling thread by Hannah Hamilton

All the Gorgeous Are Broken by Wel Sed

Falter Suite by Elizabeth Deanna Morris Lakes

Sister Death by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Disenfranchised by Julie Shavin

Nothing Ever Happens in a Car by Jim McGarrah

micrographie by Patrick Gaouyat

Shirley Xu Interviews Patrick Gaouyat

Rachel Nix Interviews Timothy Green of Rattle

Sam Slaughter July 2015Sam Slaughter is a writer based in Columbia, South Carolina. He received his BA from Elon University and his MA from Stetson University. He is currently at work on his MFA at the University of South Carolina. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in a variety of places, including Midwestern Gothic, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Heavy Feather Review. He was awarded the 2014 Best of There Will Be Words and his debut chapbook When You Cross That Line was published in May 2015. His debut short story collection God in Neon will be published by Lucky Bastard Press in late 2015 and his debut novel, Dogs, will be published in 2016 by Double Life Press. He loves playing with puppies and a good glass of bourbon.