Welcome to hellscape! This is the first installment in our Meet the Editors series, where we tell you a bit about who we are & what hellscape is all about! First up, is co-founder / co-editor in chief, E. Rhōdes Thompson, interviewed by co-founder / co-editor in chief, Shaun Holloway.
So, who are you?
Role: Co-Founder & Co-editor in Chief
Name: E. Rhōdes Thompson (Lonely Rhōdes)
Likes: the dark, fellow vegans, &the Spook School
Dislikes: my body, disassociating, & traffic
Where are you from? This is actually a difficult question for me, there's no one place that feels like a home to me. I "grew up" in south-central, rural Pennsylvania, but I also spent a fair amount of time in the Ozark Mountains, & travelled quite a bit internationally at a young age. My mom had a job that sent her to India & Hungry often, so I sometimes went along. I went to boarding school. Place has never really held me.
Where are you now? In physical space? I guess Virginia. My heart is in Wisconsin, with my partner & the rest of me is just kind void-ing around.
How did you get from here to there? Planes, trains, & automobiles mostly. An occasional boat. I prefer trains. We should really get better public transport in the states.
What to you do? I do a lot of things! I write poetry, make sad digital art, teach college students, play various string instruments (mandolin & ukulele), & sing songs. I am also the poetry editor of intersectional feminist literary journal, So to Speak. I'm a full time non-binary trans-person & animal lover.
Do you have any animal companions? Who are they? I do! A lovely calico tortie cat, Possums (pronounced "poosums"). She's such a joy & a terror. You can even follow her on twitter (@imfelinemyself)!
Tell us about hellscape?
What does hellscape mean to you? It's what keeps you up at night. Or bed bound, wrapped up in blankets & asleep at noon. The thing crawling around your interior landscape, clawing you awake from unsettling dreams or steeping in your mid-afternoon cuppa. For me, hellscape is internal & irrevocably tied to anxiety, existential dread, disordered eating, & depression. This is not to say this must be your hellscape, but it is the one I am familiar with.
What is hellscape press to you? For me, hellscape is an opportunity, a platform for people who have experienced or witnessed true terror to get their voices out there.
How does hellscape press relate to hellscapes? hellscape press wants to publish work that brings to life the true landscapes of horror within us all.
How did you create hellscape press? hellscape was a vision that came to us both, quite suddenly. I had this image of an unfolding, monochrome nightmare of a cityscape & a horrid open mouth. I wanted to make this unsettling vision a reality, so I sat down & drew it out. There was this urgency to bring it to life.
What is important about hellscape press to you? I think there's this real opportunity to do several things. First, give voice to those who live with mental illness & to those who have survived trauma and injustice. Secondly, there's a chance to support the voiceless, non-human animals, who live & die in hellscapes-- in factory farms & slaughterhouses.
What you reading right now? I am currently reading Alice Notley's The Descent of Alette & Danez Smith's Don't Call Us Dead.
How do you spend your "free time"? Hahaha. Being a graduate student, a teacher, & editor are full time positions that don't leave much room for that. I guess I make art & music in my free time, although, I'm often making art for commissions, so that's kind of a job. There's nothing I do that I don't absolutely love, so maybe in a way, all my time is "my free time"?
What is one thing you cannot live without (that isn't air & water)? Something that gives meaning to your life? Creativity-- my silly, crazy ideas. I would not be the person I am without all my swirling, anxious, creative energy. It gives me the drive to get out of bed most days & put something maybe worthwhile into this world.
What are your plans for the future? Hmm. Well, after George Mason, I plan on moving to Madison, Wisconsin to be with my partner. I also want to get a PhD in Gender Studies & maybe one in Creative Writing, which I'm hoping to accomplish somewhere in the midwest. & of course, I plan on continuing this venture at hellscape! I hope to someday be able to open up a physical press to publish chapbooks.