This is the thirtieth in Entropy’s small press interview series, where we ask editors about their origins, their mission, and what it’s like to run a press. Find the other interviews from this series in our Small Press Database here and under the Resources tab at the top of the page.
Interview with Amanda Raczkowski and Joseph Reed, Editors
How did Caketrain start?
You guys are nice people, good people, I can tell.1 I can’t offer exact dates or times, if that is what you want, because I was not wearing a wristwatch in those days, nor was I watching the news or looking at calendars.2 If I could reinstate the grain, would memory hike its skirt?3 Something has occurred that pulled me apart, and I am not sure I have been reassembled correctly.4 I have flung myself from here, drawn by the constant gravity of trains moving underground, the incessant pull of water to the sea.5 I have had the skin of a baby—pacific, luminous—since the day I was born.6 I can’t cope with waves that help me sleep.7 I only know that when it’s morning here, it’s your crescent moon just above sea level.8 I cannot help but picture the vanishing buzzard when I think of my own inevitable end.9 I awake to skin the shade of urine.10 I am not sure I will be able to stop running, am even now still running, keep running.11 I dreamed I was a book.12
Tell us a bit about Caketrain. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission?
There are only certain things I can send you.13 Watch the sky and I will tell but move your ankle or the poison will.14 I don’t take care fake bear torque cake much about take care fake bear torque cake.15 I am conducting an investigation.16 I put my hand through the outline of the trolley’s glass planes.17 I wait to hear thumps and a cuss.18 As I rip an animal from the water I chisel another chunk out of the mass that sculpts me.19 I curl the vertebrae into a perfect circle, contain it in chicken wire and hang it on the front door.20 I am air somedays, and somedays I am not.21 And I can’t hear what I’m supposed to hear, even though I can see everything.22 I take a breath and move the fork toward the cake again.23 I eat likewise the blackboard my father gave silently to my heart, I eat it as a witness to your heart.24
Can you give us a preview of what’s current and/or forthcoming from your catalog, as well as what you’re hoping to publish in the future?
I look for the horizon but cannot find it.25 I am the cheapest prostitute ever, forever peddling rogue, diseased syllables in the alleyways, lifting my leg to piss a fourteen-page fire.26 And I keep coming back to the table because I like the table.27 I’m telling black bark, and I know what’s part of it and what isn’t.28 I don’t really know how Planet Earth fits in yet.29 I am garnished, as the others are garnished, with mud, soot.30 I cannot help it that a human baby also reminds me of an over-full helium balloon hovering too close to a hot bulb.31 I feel a little shallow in depth personally but know I will contain a lot because there is still plenty of gore in the pockets.32 I remember halls where I swallowed the dark.33 I teach my lungs to stay flat.34 I have the desire to apologize for imperfectly folded napkins or the odd positions of furniture.35 I need to declare the faded days when there was enough for everybody.36
What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?
I consider myself more of a moderator, an arbitrator.37 I know the movement, this strange and forbidden movement.38 I prefer the clavicle, the canoe, the slender after-boom.39 I love the light but worry, unlovable as I am, a thing that wears a hat and no longer needs to comb its hair.40 I’m listening to the watches in the shoe box.41 I would be surprised if there is oxygen here.42 Even if I were to go to the back of the room I’m not sure what I’d do with the body if anything.43 I have been up for days planning an escape.44 I think this means words don’t mean the same things to us.45 When I tilt with desire, that dream might fall out.46 How I miss the days of our singular animal.47 Foot the coin, I’ll make sense next time.48
How do you cope? There’s been a lot of conversation lately about charging reading fees, printing costs, rising book costs, who should pay for what, etc. Do you have any opinions on this, and would you be willing to share any insights about the numbers at Caketrain?
These things scare me a little, but I’m largely prepared.49 My delicate condition has brought me a kind of daily transcendence as I move through the world.50 I’ve spent most of my life helping birds.51 I am fortunate in that I happen to be a pretty good-looking dead thing.52 I don’t try to reach by loaded dice, by slow light, glacial.53 I want to speak, to stop this, but my voice box, I see, is in the palm of my hand, closed as a seed.54 I’m eating every cell you’ve ever killed.55 I’m afraid it will become real in my stomach.56 I am in a basement full of water, lit by a single bare bulb dangling from the ceiling, so flooded that I tread to stay above.57 I’m driving to the ocean, I guess.58 Why this, the most ordinary of acts, should cause in me a feeling of terror I do not know.59 I’m not going to change the world; I wish I could change it for other people, but if I have a chance to change it for myself, well, why not?60
1 Tina May Hall, All the Day’s Sad Stories (2009). 2 Matthew Derby, Issue 07 (2009). 3 Jasmine Dreame Wagner, Listening for Earthquakes (2012). 4 William VanDenBerg, Lake of Earth (2013). 5 Roxanne M. Carter, Issue 07 (2009). 6 Elizabeth Skurnick, Check-In (2005). 7 Ben Mirov, Ghost Machine (2010). 8 Matthew Mahaney, Issue 08 (2010). 9 Ryan Call, The Weather Stations (2011). 10 Aimee Herman, Issue 09 (2011). 11 Alec Niedenthal, Issue 09 (2011). 12 Meredith Stricker, Mistake (2012). 13 A.T. Grant, Collected Alex (2013). 14 Darby Larson, Issue 07 (2009). 15 Heidi Lynn Staples, Take Care Fake Bear Torque Cake (2012). 16 Matt Bell, The Collectors (2009). 17 Addie Tsai, Issue 03 (2006). 18 Elizabeth Mikesch, Issue 11 (2014). 19 Aaron Apps, Issue 10 (2013). 20 Nick Francis Potter, Issue 09 (2011). 21 Margaret Frozena, Issue 07 (2009). 22 Katherine McCord, Issue 06 (2008). 23 Sarah Rose Etter, Tongue Party (2011). 24 Michael Burkard, Issue 02 (2005). 25 Timothy Wojcik, Issue 12 (2015). 26 Megan Martin, Nevers (2014). 27 Thibault Raoult, Disposable Epics (2014). 28 Brian Evenson, Issue 12 (2015). 29 Kirstin Allio, Issue 12 (2015). 30 Rachel Levy, Title TK (2015). 31 Kathryn Scanlan, Title TK (2015). 32 Jessica Comola, Title TK (2015). 33 Joseph Aguilar, Half Out Where (2014). 34 Bridget Brewer, Issue 12 (2015). 35 Laurie Blauner, Issue 12 (2015). 36 Michael Kimball, Title TK (2016). 37 Rob Walsh, Troublers (2013). 38 Viola Lee, Issue 04 (2007). 39 Kristen Orser, Issue 06 (2008). 40 Jon Cone, Issue 08 (2010). 41 Tom Whalen, Dolls (2007). 42 Claire Donato, Issue 04 (2007). 43 Robert Lopez, Issue 11 (2014). 44 Susan Denning, Issue 02 (2005). 45 Lena Bertone, Issue 10 (2013). 46 Susan Grimm, Issue 03 (2006). 47 Kim Parko, Cure All (2010). 48 David Baratier, Issue 01 (2004). 49 Shya Scanlon, Issue 05 (2007). 50 Amelia Gray, Issue 05 (2007). 51 Melissa Ginsburg, Issue 04 (2007). 52 Lucas Farrell, Bird Any Damn Kind (2010). 53 Rosmarie Waldrop, Issue 08 (2010). 54 Claire Hero, afterpastures (2008). 55 Vanessa Angelica Villarreal, Issue 12 (2015). 56 Richard Blevins, Issue 01 (2004). 57 Priscilla Kinter, Issue 09 (2011). 58 Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint, Issue 11 (2014). 59 Norman Lock, Issue 06 (2008). 60 Sara Levine, Short Dark Oracles (2011).
Recent Caketrain releases: