Photographic image © 2017 Stuart Gelzer
From Tom Dooley, Managing and Fiction Editor
Ryan Blacketter wrote recently to say his story, "She's Back to Sleeping," which appeared in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue, found its way onto the syllabus of a Marymount University English course. That's pretty groovy, and it's the kind of thing I try to highlight on our Facebook pages. If you're a former contributor to our pages, please do let me know if you have something going on with your writing, or if you spy a fellow alum doing something cool.
This issue features the photography of former Spotlight Author Stuart Gelzer, who it turns out is a multi-talented fellow whose exploits aren't limited to the written word or the visual arts but also encompass the world of music, or world music, as he has toured the world singing Georgian folk tunes. I was fortunate to have lunch with Stuart not long ago, and I can also report he is a fine conversationalist as well.
Stuart and I discussed the possibilities of a "Hoopla" this coming Fall here in Albuquerque, and I'm hopeful those plans will be firming up in the next couple weeks. A Hoopla is what I'm calling any get together of two or more folks associated with Eclectica, ostensibly to celebrate our 20th anniversary online but more to celebrate all the authors, artists, and editors (and readers!) who have been the reason there's been anything worth reading on our site these many years. These can be formal or informal events—readings, exhibits, happy hours, bonfires, anything, really—and all I ask is that folks let me know about them and take some pictures to share with the Eclectica diaspora.
We already had Hoopla in Chicago not long ago, and there's one scheduled in San Francisco later this summer. I'm working on setting something up in Los Angeles, New York, and a few other places, but as suggested above, there's no limit to what could be done and where. For more information, check out our Facebook page or send me an email.
Our Spotlight Author this issue is Lee L. Krecklow. Those following the online lit scene may recognize Lee as the reigning winner of the storySouth Million Writers Award for the best short story on the Web in 2016. Not to be greedy on his behalf—maybe greedy on Eclectica's behalf, though—but I'm hoping "What is Victor" makes a run at next year's MWA.
Speaking of MWA stalwarts, Lou Gaglia is back with a baseball tale, marking his fourth appearance in Eclectica. Simon Barker and Michael Graves are back for their second appearances, which means we have five fiction authors new to the magazine. As always, it's gratifying when authors keep sending work our way, and it's equally great to have the opportunity to forge new connections and relationships.
I'll let the individual stories speak for themselves, other than to say generally that this is what I hope will continue to be the "typical" batch of fiction we publish. Which is to say, there's very little that is typical about these stories. I know as an editor I can't help but have my own predilections, but what I like about these stories is that they weren't necessarily what I was hoping to find as I went through the submissions for this issue. Rather, they were stories I was ambushed by—not to mention conned, hornswoggled, befuddled, perplexed, and ultimately convinced. I hope you find them equally stimulating.
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 return to expanding 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
Just a few weeks ago, one of the first 20-year anniversary Eclectica Hooplas took place here in Chicago! We were invited to Weeds Poetry at the Hideout by hosts Gregorio Gomez and Eclectica poet Chuck Kramer, and in addition to being very welcoming and taking some great photos (thank you, Chuck!), our hosts gave us the opportunity for several other Eclectica poets to read and meet other poets from the Chicago area. Readers for this Hoopla were Elizabeth Kerper, Mark Magoon, Gina O'Neill, and host Kramer—you'll find great work from all of these poets in our archives, and both Kerper and Kramer have new work in this issue that you won't want to miss. We're looking forward to more Chicago celebrations this summer and fall, so if you're in the area, please let me know!
As always, when I put together a new poetry section, I'm struck by how well the poems work together as a whole. Here we have poems from familiar names and new voices. In the Word Poem section, Bob Bradshaw, Judy Kaber, Elizabeth Kerper, and David Mathews return to our digital pages, and Mikaela Curry is a new Word Poem-er with her lovely sonnet "Luminous Human."
Cassandra Yarnall, Spotlight Runner-Up for her three poems in the "regular" poetry section (though there's nothing "regular" about any of the poems in this section!), is another new voice in this issue. Yarnall's three poems seem to me so deceptively simple in how they address both people and nature and the interaction between them. "Perigee Moon" is one of the most charming moon poems that I've read in awhile, and the final line, "None of the moon's light is its own," is one that remains with me. Other poets new to our pages are Linda Baldanzi and Michael Penny, and Penelope Scambly Schott returns with a poem, her first since the lovely "Spring Housecleaning" (which you can also find in our 20th anniversary poetry anthology) from the July/August 2007 issue. Both that poem and "Poisonous Venom" from this issue play with words and look closely at their meaning. Other returning voices are Rachel Dacus, Jen Davis, Steven Deutsch, Chuck Kramer, Jesse Minkert, Marjorie Mir, and Bob Bradshaw (with poems in both sections)—thank you to contributors, old and new!
I hope you enjoy this issue! Reading all of the submitted poems and being a part of this worldwide community is one of my greatest joys.
From David Ewald, Nonfiction, Travel, and Miscellany Editor
I would like to start off by congratulating former Spotlight Author (for a nonfiction piece, no less) Stuart Ross, who will have his debut novel published by Eyewear Publishing later this year. Stuart is one of seven (so far) Eclectica contributors who will be reading their work at the Bird and Beckett in San Francisco on June 11th. Should any other contributors be in town then and interested in attending and perhaps even reading, drop me a line on the Information Superhighway... soon.
We again have great nonfiction for you. This issue's Spotlight Author runner-up in nonfiction, Sarah Tran Nhu An Myers, presents us with "Oceans in the Strip Club"—so much more than a provocative title. By the end of reading this piece, I felt it meant something that had very much to do with now, with something urgent, something that demands notice. Equally strong in different ways are the two other pieces in this issue's nonfiction section, "Days of Sky" by Judith Serin and "A Tree Grows in Jail" by Leslie Schwartz. I hope that my selections for this issue point toward the direction in which I'd like to take Eclectica's Nonfiction: down a path of less conventional nonfiction narrative, a path of what could (and should) be great resistance.
Continuing his streak in the Travel section, the always readable, ever enjoyable Kurt Schmidt returns with another overseas adventure, this one set largely in the UK and starring... well, not James Bond, but someone a lot like Bond. If "The Coolest Pilot in London" doesn't take you back to your days of youth watching every James Bond movie ever made over and over, as it did me, then, well, you're a whole lot cooler than I am.