Jul/Aug 2011

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.

Linda Baldwin Avila is a writer, poet, and passionate traveler and photographer, having visited every continent (even Antarctica) and over 100 countries, all in the pursuit of knowledge and unique photos. She is a member of the Aventura Writer's Group (a subgroup of the Florida Writer's Association) and the NN Poetry Critique Group. She has studied with Richard Tayson, Malena Morling, Michael Montlack, Matthew Lippman, and has attended writing workshops with Kevin Young, Sharon Olds, and Thomas Lux. Her work has appeared in California Quarterly, Cave Rock, The Clackamas Literary Review, Edinboro Debut Magazine, and The South Carolina Review.

Kimberly L. Becker is a member of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Words Facing East (WordTech Editions, 2011) is her first book of poetry. Individual poems appear in many journals and anthologies. The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (MD) funded her study of Cherokee language, history, and culture in Cherokee, NC. She was awarded a residency at Hambidge Center. Current projects include adapting Cherokee myths into plays for the Cherokee Youth in Radio Project at the Cherokee Youth Center, also in Cherokee, NC.

Paula Marafino Bernett has appeared or is forthcoming in Anemone Sidecar, California Quarterly (CQ), The Chaffin Journal, Clackamas Literary Review, Eclipse, The Hiss Quarterly, ken*again, Margie, Milk Money, Rattle, Salamander, Sierra Nevada College Review, and Tar River Poetry. She is a former member of the editorial board of Global City Review. She was awarded the Resident Writer's Award from the 2009 Taos Summer Writer's Conference sponsored by UNM, and was one of three first-prize winners in WordHustler's 2009 Summer Poetry Contest. She has participated in conferences, workshops, and fellowships nationwide and holds an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. Regarding the poem in this issue, she says, "I had the privilege of working with C.K. in a master class. While his long-lined style is antithetical to my approach, I humbly like to think the content and impact of his work is similar to mine. I love such affinities, grounded as they so often are in a union of opposites."

Eileen Bordy is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she eats organic and pays a woman to talk to her pets. She shares her life with two sons, two large cats, and two teacup chihuahuas (which came via a boyfriend and are NOT her chosen breed of dog). She writes ads to put food on the table. This is her third fiction publication; the other two appeared in Oxford Magazine and Green Hills Literary Lantern. Her nonfiction has been published in Brain, Child, the SF Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, and Skirt, among others. She has been rewriting her first novel for three years.

Sara Catterall lives in Ithaca, New York with her family. She grew up in Minneapolis, studied with the Experimental Theater Wing at NYU, served in Peace Corps Senegal, and had a brief career as an academic librarian before quitting to write seriously, have kids, and work as a book indexer. She is revising her second novel.

Antonia Clark works for a medical software company in Burlington, Vermont, and is co-administrator of an online poetry workshop, The Waters. Recent poems have appeared in The 2River View, Anderbo, Apparatus Magazine, The Cortland Review, The Fox Chase Review, Quay, Soundzine, and elsewhere. She loves French food and wine, and she plays French café music on a sparkly purple accordion.

Brent Fisk is a writer from Bowling Green, Kentucky who has work in recent issues of Greensboro Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, and Boxcar Poetry Review.

B.L. Gentry has appeared in The Cortland Review and Rhino. She holds a BA from the University of New Mexico and is an MFA student in the Warren Wilson College Program for Writers. She lives in Oklahoma.

Leo Gerard started with Benton & Bowles advertising in NYC as a teenager. After military service in Southeast Asia, he worked as a professional photographer, spent decades in the satellite communications industry, and today runs a specialized video production company. A former president of FCAC's Board of Directors, he is the producer and host of Cox Channel 10's popular Point Taken and The Storyboard programs. Point Taken is a magazine-format, independent political program. The Storyboard focuses on independent television production. A Telly award-winning producer and playwright, his production skills have contributed to numerous Channel 10 successes over the years.

William Reese Hamilton left New York advertising for life in a fishing village on the coast of Venezuela. His stories have appeared in The Paris Review, The North American Review, The Adirondack Review, Puerto del Sol, Front Porch, FRiGG, Night Train, Review Americana, and elsewhere.

Michele Harris received her MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Boston, where her thesis, Blackdamp, was awarded the David A. Kennedy Prize for exceptional work in the field of poetry. Her work has appeared in The Rectangle, Escarp, Anderbo, and The Susquehanna Review. She teaches literature for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and serves as Poetry Editor for tak'til, an online journal exploring sense. Regarding the poems appearing in this issue, she says, "'The Mushroom Miner' came into being because my mother, for a time, was a mushroom miner. In Western Pennsylvania, one of the largest employers was a company that grew mushrooms in 250 miles of limestone mines. It was all so strange and surreal. I've been very interested in the Johnstown Flood, largely because I have a number of family members who survived it and some who didn't. My fourth great grandfather was the oldest to die in the flood. Of course I never knew him, nor did I know my great grandmother, even, but through ancestral research, I would find information about them and even sometimes their morgue records. It was an odd sense of loss, losing someone you never knew or had to begin with, but who also had your same nose, your red hair, your blood.

Jean C. Howard is an award-winning video and performance poet, organizer, producer, and participant in the original development of the internationally-acclaimed, "Poetry Slam." She has poetry published in over one hundred publications, including Harper's Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Spoken Word Revolution, and her own book, Dancing In Your Mother's Skin (Tia Chucha Press). She has performed her poetry on cable, public and network television and at hundreds of venues nationwide, from the Guggenheim's exhibit at Chicago's Field Museum to biker bars. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of Utah Arts Alliance and Brolly Arts, after serving as Director of Chicago's National Poetry Video Festival for eight years.

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).

Jascha Kessler shares this issue's Spotlight with his wife, Julia Braun Kessler. He is a Professor of English and Modern Literature at UCLA. He has published seven books of his poetry and fiction as well as six volumes of translations of poetry and fiction from Hungarian, Persian, Serbian, and Bulgarian.

Stanley Jenkins has appeared in Amelia, 32 Pages, The Blue Moon Review, CrossConnect, and the Oyster Boy Review. A former Spotlight Author, Stanley is a regular contributor to Eclectica's Salon and holds the record for greatest number of appearances in our issues. He lives and works in Queens, New York.

Julia Braun Kessler shares this issue's Spotlight with her husband, Jascha Kessler. She is a long-time journalist with credits that include publications like Travel & Leisure, Family Circle, Geo, and many others. She is the author of four novels: Presumption, The Third Sister, Jane Austen's Charlotte and the forthcoming Mary Crawford. The piece in this issue's Spotlight is the latest of her memoir pieces, which have appeared in various magazines in recent years, among them Eclectica, Midstream, and California Literary Review.

Rupan Malakin spends his days weeping in Manchester, but nobody notices because of the rain. You may wallow in more of his stories in Bound Off, Flash Magazine, and Pygmy Giant.

John McKernan is now a retired comma herder. He lives—mostly—in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is a selection of poems titled Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other magazines.

Alan Meyrowitz received his Doctorate in Computer Science from the George Washington University in 1980, and he retired from the federal government in 2005 after a varied career in artificial intelligence and robotics research. His literary activities include creative writing and collecting rare books. His poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in California Quarterly, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Front Range Review, River Oak Review, Lucid Rhythms, and Schuylkill Valley Journal.

Marjorie Mir has edited poetry for Monhegan Commons for the past ten years, and, in that capacity, edited an anthology of the poems published there. Her poetry has appeared most frequently in Atlanta Review and Light. In 2000, she was awarded first prize in Atlanta Review's International competition. A friend is presently hand-crafting a collection of her poems, written in the last two years—the fourth such book he has made. It will be a very limited edition, forty copies at most, each one hand-sewn. The title will be And then... from a poem about narrative and story-telling. She was awarded second prize in a contest sponsored by the Greenburgh (NY) Arts and Culture Committee. That poem will appear in their annual anthology in the fall. Marjorie lives in Bronxville, New York, where she is a retired librarian and a member of Poetry Caravan, a group of Westchester writers who share poetry with the residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. She says, "I can trace the seed of 'The Muses in Exile' to a thought that occurred to me while leaving the movie, Bright Star, about John Keats and Fanny Brawn. It struck me that, generation after generation, England continues to turn out gifted actors. I began to think of other countries where certain forms of art have flourished and asked myself why this should be so. The answer that engaged my imagination is contained in the poem."

Dennis Must is this issue's Spotlight Author. He is the author of two short story collections: Oh, Don't Ask Why, Red Hen Press, Los Angeles, CA (2007), and Banjo Grease, Creative Arts Book Company, Berkeley, CA (2000), plus a forthcoming novel, The World's Smallest Bible, to be published by Red Hen Press. His plays have been performed Off Off Broadway and his fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary reviews. He resides with his wife in Salem, Massachusetts.

David Oestreich lives in Northwest Ohio with his wife and three children. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Minnetonka Review, Ruminate, Hobble Creek Review, and Tar River Poetry.

Meghna Pant was selected as a Top Ten Finalist in WordHustler's Literary Storm Novel Contest and long-listed for the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award for her forthcoming first novel One-and-a-Half Wife. She has written short stories published in EGO Magazine, QLRS, Every Day Fiction, Six Sentences, Muse India, Reading Hour, Pothi Magazine, and DifferSenses. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in Little India, The South Asian Times, MiD Day, Man's World, and Hindustan Times. She is working on a second novel based in—and between—India and China.

Sarah Parker is a high school student growing up in the swamp land of the Atlantic coast of Florida. She has a penchant for travel and all the new, strange, and sometimes outright awkward experiences it brings. Most of her writing is given as gifts to friends, this piece in Eclectica being her first published work. At university she plans to study creative writing and illustration.

Christine Phoonsawat-Hirschman is based in Thailand and has worked as a teacher among the hill tribes of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos.

Jonathan Pinnock has had over a hundred stories and poems published in places both illustrious and downright insalubrious. He has also won quite a few prizes and has had work broadcast on the BBC. His novel, Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens, will be published by Proxima Books in September 2011, followed in 2012 by his Scott Prize-winning debut collection of short stories, Dot(.), Dash(-), courtesy of Salt. He tweets as @jonpinnock.

Ken Poyner has published during the last forty years perhaps three hundred poems and stories in sixty or so venues, with his latest chapbook being Sciences, Social. He is currently working on a series of poems he might entitle Having Your Robot and Eating Him, Too if his wife lets him. She seldom likes his titles. Work for the summer of 2011 is coming out in PANK, Asimov's Science Fiction, Fear of Monkeys, Full of Crow, A Clockwise Cat, Alice Blue, Blue Fifth Review, and here and there.

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.

V.K. Reiter has published nine novels, translated over a dozen French novels for publication in the U.S., including Maryse Condé's "Tree of Life" and five of Daniel Odier's "Delacorta" series, ghost written three films, and served as a free-lance editor on several best-selling books. While living in France, she wrote and translated narration for documentary films, was a reader and editor for Les Editions Robert Laffont and spent five interesting years as editor/consultant to Maurice Girodias, publisher of the Olympia Press. At present she has a novel in progress, The Memoirs of Sister Warren Lecroix Falconer, and is also compiling a series of memory pieces of which "Their Graces" is the first. She lives in New York City.

Oliver Rice has appeared widely in journals and anthologies in the United States and abroad. An interview with Creekwalker was released by that zine in January, 2010. His book of poems, On Consenting To Be a Man, is offered by Cyberwit, in Allahabad, India, and is available on Amazon. His online chapbook, Afterthoughts, Siestas, and his recording of his Institute for Higher Study appeared in Mudlark in December, 2010.

Girija Sankar works in International Development for an NGO based in Atlanta, Georgia. Her writing can be found in JMWW, Alimentum, Muse India, India Currents, and Khabar. Girija is the associate non-fiction editor at JMWW and occasionally edits for her friends over at The Foundling Review. She was born, brought-up and attended college in Chennai, India. When not traveling for work, Girija travels with her husband for leisure, and together, they have visited Central America, the Caribbean, and North Africa. When not writing reports for work, Girija writes for pleasure—about their travels and critiquing works of fiction, and non-fiction.

Alex Shishin is a professor at a private university in Japan. Originally from San Francisco, he has published fiction, non-fiction, and photography in Japan, North America, and Europe. Journals that have published his fiction include Kyoto Journal, The East, Prairie Schooner, InterText, 42opus, and recently, LITnIMAGE. "Booger Eater Forever" is his third story in Eclectica. His anthologized short stories are "Mr. Eggplant Goes Home" in Student Body: Stories About Students and Professors (University of Wisconsin Press) and "Shades" in The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan (Stone Bridge Press). His most recent print book, available through online distributors, is Rossiya: Voices from the Brezhnev Era, a Russian-American memoir of a train odyssey around the USSR and Poland. Smashwords has published two e-books by Alex: The Bridge of Dreams and Predators: Two Short Novels and Nippon 2357: A Utopian Ecological Tale.

Seth Siegel Of the piece in this issue, he says, "This is a recording of the last hour my wife and I spent in Tunisia on the island of Djerba. Even though we'd seen protests, burning tires, broken storefront windows, since we'd been there, that morning we decided to leave because we heard that if we were found during the nightly curfews, we'd be shot. If Australian who so gratiously gave us the last ticket to Geneva is out there, hollar. I owe you a pint or seven."

Richard-Yves Sitoski is a mental health advocate and social justice activist living in Owen Sound, Ontario, a town which repealed prohibition only in 1972. This fact fascinates him inordinately. He is active on the regional spoken word scene, has performed commissioned pieces for several events, and has published fiction in Grimm Magazine and verse in blue skies poetry. "November," "December," and "January" are from a cycle of short lyrics exploring the calendar; specifically, these were inspired by time spent living on the local Saugeen Ojibway First Nation.

Henry F. Tonn is a semi-retired psychologist who lives in Wilmington, N.C. His fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book and literary journal reviews have appeared in such print journals as the Gettysburg Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and Connecticut Review, and online journals such as the Summerset Review, Front Porch Journal, and NewPages.com. He writes monthly reviews in NewPages.com. He has just completed a memoir of his first twenty years as a psychologist entitled I Never Met a Paranoid Schizophrenic I Didn't Like.

James Valvis is the author of How to Say Goodbye (Aortic Books, 2011). His writing can be found at Arts & Letters, Blip, Front Porch Journal, LA Review, Nimrod, Pedestal Magazine, Rattle, River Styx, and is forthcoming in Crab Creek Review, Drunken Boat, Hanging Loose, Midwest Quarterly, New York Quarterly, Night Train, Slipstream, and others. His poetry has been featured at Verse Daily and on the Best American Poetry website. His fiction has twice been a storySouth Million Witers Award Notable Story. He lives near Seattle with his wife and daughter. He says, "The poem in this issue arose out of the childish envy I sometimes feel over my daughter's much happier childhood. It never lasts, and soon I'm busy spoiling her some more.

Vincent Wells reports that his work comes out painfully slowly. He says, "I write in the evening now. I have a young family and a day job to pay for their ice-creams. I can recommend that to any writers who produce too many words in the more usual morning slot. I am working on a novel about despair now, so you can perhaps imagine how that is coming along..."

Paul Zakaras has taught literature and writing courses for Santa Monica City College and the University of Maryland. He has published a handful of short stories and won first prize for mystery fiction at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference several years ago. He recently completed a literary novel, Interruptions, and is now working to form stories out of the bits and pieces of fiction he has jotted down over the years.