Photographic Artwork by Victoria Mlady
From Tom Dooley, Managing and Fiction Editor
Jessy Randall, when she submitted a batch of poems for this issue, headed her email with the salutation, "Hello, Eclecticans!" I offer the same greeting, whether you are a long-time reader, a current or former contributor, someone new to the magazine, or just "Googling" through.
This is an exciting time to be an Eclectican. We are now three-fourths of the way through our 20th year, and while they aren't quite done yet, we are still shooting to release four packed volumes in August to celebrate that vigintennial achievement. Somehow, in the middle of creating a fiction, a poetry, a nonfiction, and a speculative literature anthology, we managed to put this issue together, too. The story—the story of Eclectica—must go on.
I haven't gone back and checked, but I believe there hasn't been an issue since our first year, when we were just starting out and releasing a new issue each month, when there have been so few pieces in the fiction section. There are just three—our Spotlight Runner-Up Patrick McNeil's "Benjamin Franklin Bridge Blue," Martin Pousson's "Black Sheep Boy," and Lou Gaglia's "Little Cruelties." I'm proud as heck of all three, though, and while there have been times when the number of stories in a given issue has topped 15, there may yet come a day when the number is one or two. I just have to love the stories that do make it in, and that's how I feel about these stories here.
A little about the artwork in this issue, a stunning example of which is included above. I've had the happy honor of seeing Victoria's work in person, and it is beautiful. A number of the authors in this issue have already mentioned how much they like the images accompanying their work. Super pysched!
Congrats to the Spotlight winner, Stuart Ross, recognized for his fine piece of creative nonfiction, and the other Runner-Up, poet Christine Potter. Our three winners will split some prize money and enjoy access for life to all corporate lounges and clubhouses.
Before I go, I wanted to provide some shout-outs to former contributors who've enjoyed recent publishing successes. They include the aforementioned Lou Gaglia, whose second story collection, Sure Things & Last Chances, will be coming out this October. Also Douglas Cole, who sent me a copy of his poetry collection Bali Poems, about which Tyler McMahon says it "perfectly captures both the celebration and the melancholy of the lone, untethered traveler." And finally, Scott Gould, whose story "Hammer, Anvil and Stirrup" that appeared in our spring issue will be in a collection called Strangers to Temptation, due from Hub City Press in June, 2017.
Congrats to them, and happy reading to you!
From Gilbert S. Purdy, Review Editor
Thanks to Ann Skea, as always, for her insightful reviews.
I would like to invite anyone who might read this to send along reviews of books, art, music, cultural organizations, companies and events—local, regional, national, and international—and cultural crit pieces on the same. Feel free to do so as a one-off or more or less regularly as works for you. I look forward to continue to expand the Review/Interview Section during the months ahead, to include a wide range of lively, insightful (even quirky) cultural crit. I hope you will stop by to read and/or submit.
From Jennifer Finstrom, Poetry Editor
Introducing the poetry section is always a tremendous pleasure, and this issue is no exception. I'd like to start by looking at Spotlight Runner-Up Christine Potter's three poems. Christine, also a writer of YA novels, made her first Eclectica appearance in 2003, and we're so pleased that she's continued to submit work over the years. The three poems in this issue deal with as varied themes as hair, seasonal memories, and how some houses seem to hold onto a past. In "The House We Didn't Buy," the poem's narrator, a child, "kept quiet and dreaded the future / that didn't happen," and in "Spring Twilight," we see that "None of us has done anything to deserve / joy. It's just present"—powerful words in both cases. All three of these poems are powerful in different ways. Take a look, and see which of these three poems you find the most resonant.
And after you've read the spotlight poems (or before—there's no one way to browse the issue), check out a poetry section that is impressively full of regular and new contributors! Among the voices that are new to us in this issue are Jim Pascual Agustin and Helen Park in the Word Poem Special Feature, and Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad, Glen Armstrong, Michele Leavitt, D.G. Geis, Connie Wasem Scott, and Karen Windus in the poetry section itself. As always, we are delighted to see contributors become "regulars" and hope to hear more from all of these writers! And among our more veteran contributors, both Bob Bradshaw and Barbara De Franceschi have appeared in over 30 issues each since 2005 and 2003 respectively.
Those astonishing numbers should tell you something about our very extensive archives. If you aren't spending time in our archives, don't miss out on the opportunity to read oodles of amazing work, including more from so many of the poets appearing in this issue! And before closing, I'd like to say a word about the lovely photographic art of Victoria Mlady. I just love it, and so many of the poets in this issue emailed to tell me how much they loved the work that accompanied their poems as well. I hope you enjoy how all of the different parts of the issue work together to bring you some very special reading and viewing!