This week I interviewed: @captainafab! !:
- Tell me a little about yourself.
“My name is Glen Kalliope Rodman (he/him) and I’m the editor & co-founder of Shapeless Press. My
dear friend Amalia Vavala (@amaliavavala) is the other half of the team: she’s our entire graphic
design and production department, and Liz Taylor to my Monty Clift. I’m a writer, a New Yorker
and a trans man. If you see a five-foot-tall guy in a Stetson bopping around the New York metro
area, it’s probably me. My background is in academia and education, so naturally I’m broke. I
studied in, then taught for the Narrative Medicine master’s program at Columbia. I write about
media and narrative (especially science fiction and horror) from an intersectional Trans Studies
perspective. I’m also a cat sitter, so feel free to hit me up at @thatcatguynyc if you need someone
reliable to take care of your cat!”
2. How did you start Shapeless Press?
“Shapeless Press began with my own frustrations as a trans writer trying to publish. Most
publications are by cis people, for cis people. When trans voices are filtered through cis platforms,
we are expected to make trans experiences accessible to cis readers. This means trans writers
have to spend time and energy explaining basic stuff, making ourselves simpler, more “palatable”.
We have to be educators and activists as well as writers and artists. In the zines we publish at
Shapeless Press, we aim to create a space for gender expansive people to publish art and writing
for other gender expansive people. No apologies, no explanations, no Trans 101. Trans people are
a vastly diverse continuum with a multitude of experiences and perspectives. At Shapeless Press,
we hope to give our collaborators the opportunity to publish without considering the cis reader at
3. Who was the first author you collaborated with on Shapeless Press?
“The generous contributors of our first collection, SEEN/UNSEEN, who believed in the project
enough to trust me with their work! These folks were willing to contribute pieces without pay or
even a proof of concept. I’m honored and awed by the trust our collaborators have given us, a
micropress with a shoestring budget. It motivates me to do right by everyone I work with. I want to
give a special thanks to Andy Lindquist ( @quindlisting), who was one of the first collaborators I approached. Andy is an up-and-coming indie cartoonist whose work just completely blows me away and it’s a privilege to get to work with him at this early stage in both of our careers. Keep an eye on this guy, he’s going places.”
4. What themes or characteristics do you look for when adding someone to your roster?
“We seek to platform all trans/nonbinary/gender expansive creatives! We are especially seeking to
platform more BIPOC in general. (If this describes you and you’d like to work with us, please send
me an email!) We will not publish hate speech or bigotry, and individual publications may have
content parameters or themes, but we’re interested in creatives working in any printable medium.
My aim is to publish a proliferation of voices and to showcase the vast array of diverse talent in the
trans community, and I don’t want to be another gatekeeper.”
- What themes or genre(s) do you write and do you have a favorite or personal piece of yours?
Why is it your favorite or most personal piece?
“My favorite piece is always the one I’m currently working on. I’ve been an academic/educational
writer for most of my career, and I’m afraid that shows in my writing voice no matter the genre.
One of my personal passions is science fiction, and I particularly love writing about how it engages
with gender. It was a science fiction story that inspired the name of the press – a Robert Sheckley
story from 1953 called “Keep Your Shape.” I read it and thought it so perfectly expressed what I
wanted the press to be about, this kind of utopian vision of choosing your shape as liberatory, and
conversely, the idea that the state has a vested interest in policing shape so it can continue to
function. Anyway, my favorite published piece of my own is a column I wrote for the journal
Synapsis, “Trans Futures: Speculative Fiction as Gender Liberation.” If you want to read my case
for why science fiction can be important for trans folks, you can check it out at the link in my bio.”
6. Do you have any favorite authors or collaborators that you read or often work with?
“How could I pick a favorite! I’ll use this space to promote some of them, though.
Atlas A Lee-Reid (@aleereid) has contributed to multiple Shapeless Press projects. They make these gorgeous,
ruminative slice-of-life comics about art, gender and embodiment. AJ Thursday ( @ajthursday ) wrote a piece for
PLAY about Elvis impersonators that I’m very proud to have published. She has this distinctive,
confident writing voice and a million fascinating stories to tell. Wow Quisqueya is a wonderful
painter and poet, and they were generous enough to contribute an original painting to PLAY that I
love. charlie jasper is a repeat collaborator and friend of the press who’s not only contributed
poetry but has also given me a lot of good advice. The PRPL PPL genrequeer multimedia collective
has been a constant source of support, inspiration, and labor. Shapeless Press would not exist
7. Do you have any exciting news or upcoming events that you would like to share?
“You can pick up a copy of our most recent zine, PLAY: Trans & Nonbinary Creatives on the
Opposite of Work, at Bluestockings Bookstore, or for free on our website: https://www.prplppl.website/shapeless-press , where you can also read our previous collection
SEEN/UNSEEN. We’ll also be at ZineFest on November 13th if you’re in New York! Follow us
@shapeless.press for information on upcoming projects, contributor spotlights, and guidelines for
submission. We are always looking for more collaborators. Again, we especially want to platform
more BIPOC creatives. If you’re interested in working with Shapeless Press, don’t be shycomrade! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or dm me at captainafab.
If you would like more information. The following contact information is below:
IG Handles: @captainafab & Shapeless Press IG: @shapeless.press