Jul/Aug 2006

From the Editors

Art by Victor Ehikhamenor

Art by Victor Ehikhamenor

From Tom Dooley, Editor

Glancing over the Contributor Notes for this issue, I am struck anew at how fortunate we are to have so many different voices, representing so many different walks of life and geographic locations. It's like looking down at an Ipod and realizing that just a few years ago, what one now cavalierly holds in one's hand was truly the stuff of science fiction. I'm not saying anything new here. Just marveling all over again. The Internet has made something possible that fifteen or twenty years ago simply was not.

Setting the eclectic, globe-spanning tone is our Spotlight Artist, Victor Ehikhamenor, a Nigerian artist attending university in the U.S. whose work accompanies nearly every piece of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and opinion in the issue. I say nearly every piece, because Paul Sampson's Salon article features the cover of his newly published book of poetry, Dirge in a Resolutely Major Key, which he shamelessly and unapologetically promotes (Go Paul!), and because LeAne R. Austin's photo-essay-poem, "Faces of the Homeless," provides its own striking visuals.

Back to the geographic diversity theme, we have poems from poets living in Italy, Australia, England, Denmark, India, and Germany. We have fiction and nonfiction from a Tanzanian expatriate living in Canada, an Irish ex-pat living in Belgium, a Nigerian ex-pat living in the UK, a Polish ex-pat living in the U.S., and a Scottish ex-pat who splits his time between Spain and Argentina. Not to leave out the American writers, we have folks from at least fifteen different states. That's by no means a definitive, all-inclusive survey, either—just what I was able to blearily make out while throwing this note together at my usual time of greatest productivity (the last minute).

Welcome all the newcomers to Eclectica, and welcome back to all the authors who have appeared in previous issues, including a special nod to Arlene Ang for making her fourteenth appearance, Barbara De Franceschi and Deborah P. Kolodji for making their tenth, and Carolyn Steele Agosta for her fifth. A hearty thanks to Thomas Hubschman for taking time out from editing Gowanus to supply another essay, Paul Sampson for taking time out from piloting his glider to edit the nonfiction section and to provide his twenty-ninth (!) Salon entry, Jennifer Finstrom for taking time out from writing her novel to edit the poetry section and to contribute her twenty-first (!) poetry offering, Colleen Mondor and her able coterie of reviewers for giving us another bursting at the seams review section, Elizabeth Glixman for three more very enlightening interviews, and Pamela Mackey for not only copy-editing most of the issue but writing a book review as well. Regarding the latter, as I told Pamela, her review elucidates America's current cultural/political morass more than the last five editorials I've managed to write combined.

As in previous issues, I'd like to mention what a few Eclectica authors have been up to. D. Harlan Wilson appears in The Bizarro Starter Kit from Eraserhead Press (2006). From the book's description: "There's a new genre rising from the underground. Its name: BIZARRO. For years, readers have been asking for a category of fiction dedicated to the weird, crazy, cult side of storytelling..." Meanwhile, Annette Marie Hyder has announced the second installment of Facing Feminism: Feminists I Know, featuring 41 pieces from both men and women from Iceland, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, Russia, Australia, and many other countries. And Ann Skea appears in the second installment of St. Botolph's Review, a high honor considering that the first installment occurred in 1956! For more details, be sure to check out Ann's discussion of this historically significant publication.

Turning to the web, a couple of literary resource sites have come to my attention: Writer's Beat and XOM Reviews. Incidentally, the latter mentions that people who visit Eclectica also visit failbetter.com, elevenbulls.com, elimae.com, drunkenboat.com, thebluemoon.com, disquietingmuses.com, corpse.org, poetry.org, cortlandreview.com, and acorn.dublinwriters.org, so here's a shout-out to those fine sites. Speaking of fine sites, I was checking out Powells Interviews the other day, and I came to the conclusion that if there is a Mt. Rushmore of Internet literary icons, this site ought to be in the running for inclusion. Oh, and check this out: Russ Bowden of Poetry & Poets in Rags wrote to say that Frank Wilson's Books section of the Philadelphia Inquirer has an article about online poetry called "Some is quite good, but is it literature?" Finally, someone is asking a question other than, "Do you have any Grey Poupon?" I'm on pins and needles to know if the consensus answer to Wilson's question will be yea or nay.

Speaking of the Web's deeply felt need for respect in the literary world, Sundress Publications is putting out a Best of the Net anthology of fiction and poetry. Eclectica's nominations for the inaugural edition are as follows:

Poetry by Dave Smith

"The Blue Coat"
Poetry by Ray Templeton

"The Business Trip"
Poetry by Grzegorz Wroblewski, translated by the author and Malclom Sinclair

Poetry by Cy Dillon

"Street Scene"
Poetry by Sam Byfield

"The Bath"
Poetry by Brad Bostian

"All the Way to Grangeville"
Fiction by A. Ray Norsworthy

"C Sharp"
Fiction by Tabitha D. Bast

We wish the best for our nominees in making the cut, and for Sundress in pursuing what is certainly a worthy project.

And speaking of wishes, I hope our readers enjoy this issue, help spread the word about writing on the Web in general and Eclectica in particular, and have a safe, productive, memorable, and/or enjoyable summer.