Apr/May 2010

Tom Dooley co-founded Eclectica in 1996 and serves as its Managing Editor. In the 12 years between earning a BA in English literature from the University of Chicago and a MPA in municipal management from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he taught middle and high school English in Alaska, Arizona, and Wisconsin, amassing fond memories, dubious experiences, and debt. Two careers post-teaching later, he now creates spreadsheets and PowerPoint slides for the man by day, edits Eclectica by night, and feels very grateful for the blessings he has received—chief among them being married to the sweetest gal and the best poet he knows. He and said gal reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with enough rescued lapdogs to field a diminutive Iditarod racing team and the empty-nest echoes of two amazing Haitian-American children who have flown the coop.

Colleen Mondor is Eclectica's Review Editor. She also reviews for Bookslut, the Voices of NOLA, and Booklist. Short story excerpts from her novel on Alaskan aviation have recently appeared in failbetter and Storyglossia. She maintains a daily blog on all things literary (and sometimes not) at her site, Chasingray.com.

Elizabeth P. Glixman is Eclectica's Interview Editor. Her fiction and poetry have appeared online and in print in Wicked Alice, In Posse Review, 3 A.M. Magazine, Tough Times Companion, a publication of The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Her Circle Ezine, Frigg, and Velvet Avalanche, an anthology of erotic poetry. Besides Eclectica, her author interviews, articles, book reviews, and creative non-fiction pieces have appeared in The Pedestal Magazine, Whole Life Times, Spirit of Change, Hadassah Magazine, and the anthologies Chocolate for A Woman's Soul II and Cup of Comfort For Women. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks: A White Girl Lynching (Pudding House Publications, 2008), Cowboy Writes a Letter & Other Love Poems (Pudding House Publications, 2010), and The Wonder of It All (Alternating Current, 2012). Elizabeth's story, "Mother's Bony Behind," was chosen one of the notable online stories of 2006 by the Million Writers Award. Elizabeth is an animal lover, and she has a blog devoted to shelter animals, especially those at kill shelters.

Jennifer Finstrom has been the Poetry Editor of Eclectica since the fall issue of 2005. This is her final issue in that capacity. A former Spotlight Author, she teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates writing groups at DePaul University. Recent publications include Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Escape Into Life, Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, and NEAT. For Silver Birch Press, she has work appearing in The Great Gatsby Anthology, the Alice in Wonderland Anthology, and in Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks.

Pamela Mackey is Eclectica's Copy Editor. She teaches English at a community college in central New York. Earlier in her career, she wrote feature stories for newspapers, including The New York Times. Even earlier, she was a researcher and editor in the magazine industry, holding staff positions at LOOK and Saturday Review magazines. She writes poetry and is the mother of a gifted young novelist.

Ivone Alexandre when asked about a bio, had this to say: "I think 'Q' needs 'U' more than 'U' needs 'Q.'" Also, "I don't have a daughter, but she still asks better questions than I do."

Shweta S. Banerjee is from India but lives in Washington, DC. Her work includes writing about new (and hopefully more effective) approaches to removing poverty. Her poems have been published in student literary journals in England and Delhi. She misses her dog, Pushkin, who lives in Delhi and loves to fight in duels like his namesake. About "The Trunk," she says: "This poem is derived from stories I heard from my family over the years. My father was not born when his grandmother was forced to leave Dhaka, Bangladesh, after the Partition of India. She could not recover from nor reconcile to that loss of home."

C.E. Chaffin is a contributing editor for Umbrella. Credits include The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Pedestal, The Philadelphia Inquirer Book Review, and Rattle. He published The Melic Review for eight years. His new volume, Unexpected Light, was released by Diminuendo Press in 2009. He also teaches an online poetry tutorial. Inquiries can be made at his website.

Indira Chandrasekhar started writing fiction with an increasing focus on the short story upon returning to India after more than 17 years abroad. She has a Ph.D. in Biophysics, and prior to committing to fiction writing, she studied the dynamics of biological membranes at research institutes in India, the United States, and Switzerland. Her short stories have appeared in Loquacious Placemat, The Little Magazine, Writers Connect, The Big Table, and in the annual collection of Unisun Publications, in whose competition she received recognition.

Peter Cherches has been publishing fiction and other short prose since 1976. His work has appeared in over 60 magazines, websites, and anthologies. He blogs about food, travel, writing and dreams. Of the piece in this issue, he says, "This is one of four collaborations I've done so far with Don Skiles. All have started with unfinished or abandoned pieces of Don's that he submits for my reinvention. I then work with the pieces (sometimes mashing up several), doing a combination of editing, rewrite, recombination, cut-up, and fleshing out, while always trying to maintain Don's voice and intentions. For me it's an exciting challenge, to apply my own skills, acting as a sort of medium/ventriloquist, to bring another writer's unfinished work to fruition while making of it something that neither of us could have written on his own. Since these pieces have always started with something of Don's, his name is listed first."

Michael Copperman has a B.A. in English from Stanford University, where he graduated summa cum laude and was a Presidential Scholar. He teaches writing to at-risk students of color at the University of Oregon, where he received his MFA in Fiction. His nonfiction has appeared in The Oxford American, GOOD, Guernica, Creative Nonfiction, Stanford Magazine, Anderbo, Brevity, The Oregonian, The Register-Guard, and The Eugene Weekly, and is forthcoming from Post Road and Copper Nickel. He was the recipient of the 2009 Walter Morey Fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts. His fiction has been published in the Munster Literature Centre's journal Southword, The Arkansas Review, Thirdreader, and 34th Parallel, and is forthcoming from Copper Nickel and Unsaid. From 2002-2004 he taught fourth grade in the rural black public schools of the Mississippi Delta, and he is currently seeking representation for his novel Gone, concerning that experience. His piece in this issue is dedicated to his father.

R.A. Costello was born and raised in upstate, N.Y. He has worked as a janitor, a chef, a secretary, a trade specialist, a police dispatcher, and a casino dealer. These days he's giving writing a go. His work has appeared in Pindeldyboz and is forthcoming in Narrative Magazine. In July, 2010, he will begin work on his MFA in the Writing for Children and Young Adults Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He lives with his partner in Ithaca, N.Y.

Thabi Di Moeketsi resides in Pretoria South Africa with her teenage daughter Valerie. Her fiction has appeared in Frostwriting. She is working on her first novel.

Terri Kirby Erickson is a North Carolina native and an award winning poet. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Thread Count (2006) and Telling Tales of Dusk (2009). Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including Blue Fifth Review, The Christian Science Monitor, JAMA, Nibble, Smoking Poet, Toasted Cheese, To the Bone, Wild Goose Poetry Review, and many others. In 2009, her work received nominations for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net award. For more information, please see her website. She doesn't have an actual blog, but if she did, she claims her entry on the morning that her poems were accepted by Eclectica would have read, "Why does the toilet always overflow on days when you're running late for an appointment?" which would give you some clue as to what Terri's real life is like. Thankfully, "humor" is her sixth sense...

Roy Giles is this issue's Spotlight Author. He is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Central Oklahoma, where he serves as the drama editor and assistant poetry editor for the Arcadia Literary Journal. This story in Eclectica is his first publication.

William Reese Hamilton lives in Choroní, a fishing village on the coast of Venezuela, set below a mountainous cloud forest, in a region that produces the finest cacao in the world. His stories have appeared in a number of print and online publications, including The Paris Review, The North American Review, The Adirondack Review, Puerto del Sol, Night Train, and Review Americana.

Thomas J. Hubschman is a regular contributor to Eclectica's Salon and is the author of four novels (Look at Me Now, Billy Boy, Space Ark, and Leffingwell's Planet), a short story collection (The Jew's Wife & Other Stories), and two anthologies of writing from the so-called Third World (The Best of Gowanus: New Writing from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and The Best of Gowanus II: More New Writing from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean).

Niranjana Iyer is a writer from Ontario, Canada, whose work has appeared in The Missouri Review, The Smithsonian Magazine, and SmokeLong Quarterly, amongst other venues. Her blog is called "Brown Paper" (see link).

Vivekanand Jha is a poet and research scholar from India. He is working on a Ph. D thesis at Lalit Narayan Mithila University Darbhanga on the poetry of Jayanta Mahapatra. He is under the close supervision and intimate guidance of Dr. A. K. Bachchan, Professor of English, and L.N.M.U Darbhanga. Jha is the son of noted professor and award winning poet Dr. Rajanand Jha, and his poems have been published in Pagan Imagination, Poetry and Writing, Danse Macabre, Vox Poetica, Writing Raw Whisper, Soul Kitchen, Winamop, Literature, India Mother, Bird Retort Magazine, Kalinga Times, and Holy Rose Review.

Caroline Kepnes lives in Los Angeles, California. Her stories have appeared or are scheduled to appear in The Barcelona Review, Dogzplot, Duck & Herring Co. Pocket Field Guide, Eclectica, Eyeshot, Fried Chicken and Coffee, Girls with Insurance, Monkey Bicycle, Night Train, Pow Fast Flash Fiction, Thieves Jargon, Word Riot, and Yankee Pot Roast. In 2004 she won the Hemingway Resource Centeras Short Story Contest. She has written for television—7thHeaven, The Secret Life of the American Teenager—and print and online media—Entertainment Weekly, E! Online, Match.com, Tiger Beat Magazine, and TV Guide. She is originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and is, of course, a huge Red Sox fan.

Julia Braun Kessler is a long-time journalist with credits that include publications like Travel & Leisure, Family Circle, Geo, and many others. A novelist, her books are Presumption, The Third Sisters, and Charlotte. This is the latest of her memoir pieces, which have appeared in various magazines in recent years, among them Eclectica, Midstream, and California Literary Review.

Ellen Kombiyil is originally from Syracuse, New York. Her poetry has recently appeared in 2river, The Dead Mule, Eclectica, MiPOesias, The New Verse News, and Polluto, among others. She lives in India with her husband and two children.

Diane Lockward is the author of two poetry books, What Feeds Us, which received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve's Red Dress. A third collection, Temptation by Water, will appear in 2010. Diane's poems have been published in several anthologies and in such journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer's Almanac.

Sharon Fagan McDermott is a visiting lecturer of writing at the University of Pittsburgh and a poet and musician in a band called Crossing Flynn. In 2005, her chapbook, Alley Scatting, was published by Parallel Press (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Her work can be found in many literary journals and anthologies including Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, The Seneca Review, Southern Poetry Review, and a Sarabande Books anthology, A Great Excess: Literature at Play.

Chloé Yelena Miller has been published in Alimentum, Cortland Review, Lumina, and Narrative, among others. She teaches writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Northampton Community College and reads poetry for The Literary Review. Chloé received an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

Jim Murdoch is a Scottish writer living just outside Glasgow. His poetry appeared regularly in small press magazines during the seventies and eighties. In the nineties he turned to prose writing and has completed four novels and a collection of short stories. His second novel, Stranger than Fiction, was published in July, 2009. You can find out more about him on his blog, The Truth About Lies. Of the poems in this issue, he says, "'Silent Echoes' was written on request for a magazine that folded before it could be published. It's rare for me to write to order. My own father did in fact lose his hearing in the way I describe in the poem but it's not specifically about him; he was just the template. He was never in a hospice and we never fed swans together although he used to go with my mother to feed them. 'Casual Poetry' is one of a series of poems I've found myself writing where I look at how we experience poetry. They often address the reader directly like this. It's not the first time I've linked sex and poetry and I think both can be taken too seriously. This is a casual poem. You pick it up, have a quick read and move onto the next one."

Kristine Ong Muslim has been published in numerous publications worldwide, including A cappella Zoo, Beeswax Magazine, GlassFire Magazine, Grasslimb, Narrative Magazine, No Teeth, Pank, Riddle Fence, The Pedestal Magazine, and Southword. She has been nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize and twice for the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling Award.

Jill Okpalugo-Nwajiaku writes whenever she can. She studied Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and now lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband. She is extremely interested in any African creative writing that centers on female gender issues. She has been published in online literary magazines like Snap! All Things Girls, Identity Theory, Poetry and Writing, Word Catalyst, St. Something, Splash of Red, and Glint. She is working on her first novel and an MFA in creative writing.

Andrew H. Oerke has been hailed in feature articles of The New York Times and International Herald Tribune as a poet "whose muse is a world traveler." He has lived many lives. After suggesting the idea of the Peace Corps to Jerry Clark, Kennedy's campaign manager in Wisconsin, he went on to become a Peace Corps Director in Africa and the Caribbean, and for many years president of a private and voluntary organization working in developing countries. Oerke has worked in and visited more than 160 countries, was a Golden Gloves champ, football player, university professor and Poet-in-Residence, dean of administration at one of the largest community colleges, U.S. Korean War veteran, World Bank consultant, and consultant to the United Nations on the Gulf War, on financial services, and on the environment. As a pioneer in the microfinance movment in the 70s and 80s, Mr. Oerke's NGO started microfinance programs in more than sixty developing countries. Mr. Oerke was also the first Director of the International Folk Festival on the Mall for the Smithsonian, and as Dean of Administration for the Medical Center of Miami-Dade Community College, started one of the country's first Wellness Institutes. Mr. Oerke has studied at many universities in the US and abroad, and was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship at the Freie Universität in Berlin, and scholarships at the University of Iowa writers' workshop, where he studied under Mark Strand, and at Baylor University where he studied Wellerisms with Charles G. Smith. His work has appeared frequently in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Poetry, Mademoiselle, and in many other publications in the U.S., England, France, Germany, Lebanon, Malawi, Kenya, the Philippines, Jamaica, and Mexico. He has published several books of poetry, most recently African Stiltdancer and San Miguel de Allende. These books received the United Nations Literature award. In 2003, he was given the award for literature by the UN Society of Writers and Artists. He is now living in the U.S. and has returned full time to writing poetry, his first love.

Sue Payne is a law professor and a poet. Her poems have appeared in The New York Quarterly, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and the Red Rock Review. She is a member of the Advisory Board of The Robert Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire.

Rebecca Peterson is a graduate student of English literature at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She grew up in the rainy Northwest, enjoys Modern British prose, and hopes to teach literature and composition courses in the future. She has one previous critical essay published in the literary journal Criterion.

Ken Poyner lives not all that quietly in the Tidewater region of Virginia, with his power lifting phenomenon wife Karen and four rescue cats. Years ago, his work appeared in such places as Poet Lore, West Branch, The Iowa Review, The Greensboro Review, Inlet, and a host of other places. His last chapbook, Sciences, Social, came out in 1995. After several years of dormancy, he decided he still wanted to poke a few ogres with whatever sticks he could whittle. To him, howling in the wilderness may be no more effective than whining in the wilderness, but it does seem to be more fun. Regarding his poem, "A History of the Saints," he says, "I've always been fascinated by the fact that a group of people is not the same as a number of individuals collected. In a social setting, reaction is in part the product of expectation. With this and other poems, as in Philosophy, sometimes you have to postulate the fantastic to isolate a principle. While some people have sufficiently exciting lives to write about, I have to dream up the extraordinary and then put my theories to work in the abnormally out of kilter setting I've constructed. Hey, it's fun, and sometimes it's interesting, and I learn a lot."

Gilbert Wesley Purdy has published poetry, prose and translation in many journals, paper and electronic, including: Jacket Magazine, Poetry International (San Diego State University), The Georgia Review (University of Georgia), Grand Street, SLANT (University of Central Arkansas), The Evansville Review (University of Evansville), Rattle (online), Consciousness Literature and the Arts (University of Wales, Aberystwyth), Orbis (UK), Eclectica, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Links to his work online and to a selected bibliography of his work in paper venues appear at his Hyperlinked Online Bibliography.

Shoshauna Shy has been published in numerous journals and magazines, including The Seattle Review, Cimarron Review, The Briar Cliff Review, Rattle, Rosebud, and Poetry Northwest. She is the author of four collections of poetry. The most recent one, titled What the Postcard Didn't Say, was a recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association in 2008. Shoshauna works for the Wisconsin Humanities Council in Madison, Wisconsin, where she helps create, coordinate, and facilitate poetry programs for the annual Wisconsin Book Festival in downtown Madison each October.

Don Skiles is the author of two short story collections, Miss America and Other Stories and The James Dean Jacket Story. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Central Park, Gargoyle, West Branch, Over The Transom, Quaartsiluni, Silenced Editions, and Snow Monkey.

Tanya Tweete hasn't told us anything about herself.

Trevor Wadlow was born in the UK in 1954 and was educated at Ruskin College, Oxford, and the University of East Anglia. In 2001 he published his first novel, Touched. In 2004 he was awarded a grant by Arts Council, England, in order to complete a series of stories. His fiction has appeared in Ambit and Company Magazine. He lives in China where he teaches EAP and General English at Shanghai Ocean University.

John Carr Waker has been published or is forthcoming in Writers Dojo, Prick of the Spindle, Slow Trains, StringTown, and elsewhere. He is a native of California's San Joaquin Valley and a former high school English teacher, university professor, and literary journal editor. He now lives and writes in Saint Helens, Oregon.

G. K. Wuori is the author of over 80 stories published throughout the world in the U.S., Japan, India, Germany, Spain, Algeria, Ireland, and Brazil. A Pushcart Prize winner and recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, his work has appeared in such journals as The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, The Barcelona Review, Shenandoah, The Kenyon Review, StoryQuarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Mad Hatters Review, TriQuarterly, and Five Points. His story collection, Nude In Tub, was a New Voices Award Nominee by the Quality Paperback Book Club and his novel, An American Outrage, was Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year in fiction. He is Associate Editor of the literary journal Kippis and lives in Sycamore, Illinois, where he writes a monthly column called Cold Iron at www.gkwuori.com. About the story that appears in this issue (his third in Eclectica), he says, "Truth is, I think I'm in love with Teena and feel pretty damn guilty about how I treated her."

Jennifer Lawson Zepeda has been a content writer for over ten years, writing corporate success stories, speeches, marketing collateral, direct response scripts, and press releases. While living in Tijuana she published several short stories, poetry, flash fiction and essays dealing with the Hispanic culture. Her focus revolves around cross-border relations, and socio-political stories involving Hispanics. Her work has been published in SoMA Literary Review, Events Quarterly, Excess Compassion, Boom! For real, and Moondance.