Jul/Aug 2013

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.

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.

David Ewald is Eclectica's Nonfiction Editor. A previous contributor, his work has also appeared in Metazen, BULL: Men's Fiction, Denver Syntax, The Chimaera, Spork Press, and Halfway Down the Stairs, among other publications. He is the author of the novel He Who Shall Remain Shameless, and his chapbook Markson's Pier (written with Stuart Ross) was published in Volume XI of Essays & Fictions.

Anne Leigh Parrish is Eclectica's Fiction Editor. Her debut short story collection, All The Roads That Lead From Home, was published last year by Press 53 and won the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medal for best short story fiction. More of her work can be found in previous issues of Eclectica, The Virginia Quarterly Review, American Short Fiction, The Pinch, PANK, Prime Number, and Clackamas Literary Review, among other publications.

Elise Pfau is Eclectica's Design/Art Editor. A 21-year-old artist living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she spends most of her time writing music for her solo project Hums, as well as contributing to other local music projects and performing in the band Nice Purse. She is also a photographer with a passion for portraiture and candid photography.

Bob Bradshaw is a big fan of the Rolling Stones and easy times. Mick may not be gathering moss, but Bob is. Bob hopes to retire to a hammock soon. His work can be found at Cha, Eclectica, Pedestal, Stirring, Rose and Thorn, and many other publications.

Peter Bridges was born in New Orleans, raised in Chicago, and studied at Dartmouth and Columbia. He served as an Army enlisted man and was then commissioned as an officer of the U.S. Foreign Service, in which he spent three decades, ending as American ambassador to Somalia. His poems, articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications ranging from the Crested Butte Magazine to Notes & Records of the Royal Society of London. Peter's most recent book, Donn Piatt: Gadfly of the Gilded Age, was published by Kent State University Press in September 2012. Of the work in this issue, he says, "These sonnets are part of a series of 'Sonnets from the Elk Mountains' written in and around Crested Butte, Colorado, where I spend winters and summers."

Barbara De Franceschi is an Australian poet who lives in Broken Hill, a small mining town in outback New South Wales. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals Australia-wide and also in Ireland, Wales, New Zealand, on line USA, and Switzerland. Her first collection, Lavender Blood, was published in 2004, and a second collection, Strands, will be launched in May 2009. When not writing poetry or committed to family and business, Barbara involves herself in community work. She was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2002 for her achievements in the area of multiculturalism. Barbara is a member of the performance group "The Silver Tongued Ferals" and performs at caravan parks, arts festivals, etc., and has read her poetry live to air on ABC Radio on a number of occasions. She recently co-edited the book From this Broken Hill (see link), and she is running a creative writing workshop at a local hospital for health professionals, trying to ascertain if art and health can work collaboratively to increase skills such as communication and the interpretation of visual thinking.

William Fargason received a BA in English from Auburn University, where he served as poetry editor of the literary magazine The Circle. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in New Orleans Review, Sakura Review, Bayou Magazine, New World Writing, and H.O.W. Journal. He lives with himself in Hyattsville, Maryland, where he is a poetry MFA candidate at the University of Maryland.

Adam Ferriss is a new media artist and photographer based out of Los Angeles, California. Born in 1988, he received a BFA in photography from the Maryland Institute College of Art (2010), and is currently running a darkroom and photo lab in LA. His recent work utilizes the RGB color separation process and custom software as procedural mechanisms to initiate iterative changes in light and pixel structure. Adam is the art director for the music blog Live for the Funk, and is also a member of the Tremendous Family artist collective. He has been commissioned to create a variety of print and textile designs for music labels and fashion companies. His work has been published by Conveyor Magazine (NYC) and Never Press (LA), and has been shown in the US and abroad.

Daniel Harris was born in Chicago in 1943 and educated at the Eastman School of Music and Yale University. He worked for 50 years as a professional classical, jazz, and studio musician. He is also an artist with over 3,000 works, an inventor, and author of short stories, non-fiction, and opera libretti. He is serializing his first novel, Five Million Yen, on Fictionaut, where a selection of other stories and flash-fictions can also be found. His previous creative non-fiction work, "The Butterfly Effect," was published in Mad Hatter Review #13. He illustrated Ann Bogle's Country Without A Name, published on-line by Argotist. As an artist he works in traditional media and also creates works on digital mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod). He is the composer of over 50 musical pieces in a variety of styles and media. He has won numerous awards for music composition, musical engineering, and audio engineering. He is a recognized authority of underwater musical acoustics. His personal website has examples of his musical work.

Thomas J. Hubschman is a regular contributor to Eclectica's Salon and is the author of two novels (Look at Me Now and Billy Boy), 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). His short stories and non-fiction have been widely published, including on the BBC.

Ikhide R. Ikheloa is a blogger, and a social and literary critic who writes non-stop on various online media. He has been published in several books, journals, and online magazines. He was a columnist with Next Newspapers and The Daily Times of Nigeria, where he held forth and offered unsolicited opinions on any and everything to do with literature and the world. This is how he describes himself on Twitter: "I am not a writer. I am a reader who writes. Highly opinionated to the point of distraction. Prediction: The book and the library are dying. Ideas live." Follow him on Twitter as @ikhide, or check out his blog (linked).

Cherie Jones is originally from Barbados in the Caribbean, but she now resides in the UK with her family, pursuing an MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. She is a recipient of the Archie Markham Short Story Award, and her work has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and has appeared in Cadenza Magazine.

Grant Jarrett grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania and now resides in New York City, where he works as a writer, ghostwriter, and musician. He has written for numerous magazines, including FOW and Triathlon, and is the author of More Towels, a coming-of-age memoir about life on the road. His first novel, Ways of Leaving, will be released in autumn of 2013. About his story in this issue, Jarrett says, "My conscious goal in writing "A Perfectly Reasonable Request" was to create, through the marriage of almost farcical humor and pathos, a story that ultimately resounded and felt true. By about the third page, I realized the story and its peculiar characters had taken over. After that my greatest challenge was to let go and trust the process."

Jascha Kessler is Professor Emeritus of Modern English and American Literature at UCLA. He has published seven books of poetry and fiction as well as six volumes of translations of poetry and fiction from Hungarian, Persian, and Bulgarian authors, several of which have won major prizes. In 1989, his translation of Sándor Rákos' Catullan Games won the Translation Award from the National Translation Center (Marlboro Press). He served as Arts Commissioner for the City of Santa Monica from 1990 to 1996 and won a Fellowship in Fiction Writing for 1993 to 1994 from the California Arts Council. His recent works include a translation of King Oedipus, with a Translator's Preface in Sophocles, 2 (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1999). His King Solomon's Seal, a collection of "fables" narrated by one Yaacov ben Yaacov to generations of students between c.1745 to 1815 at a House of Study secluded high in the Carpathian Mountains was just published in June of 2013 via Xlibris. Also released in June of 2013, an eBook publication of Siren Songs & Classical Illusions: Modern "Fables," revised, enlarged, with added Preface, from McPherson & Company.

Kathleen Kirk is a former contributor and Spotlight Author, but this is her first Word Poem contribution! She has used word banks before with her students and as inspiration for new work, and she enjoyed using and losing track of the four words offered by poetry editor Jennifer Finstrom as the "spur" (that's one of them!) to compose "Nightfall" (and had to double-check before sending it off and again before publication to make sure they were all still there! Revision is tricky, as is nightfall, and both keep happening). Kathleen's work appears in a number of print and online magazines, including Arsenic Lobster, Menacing Hedge, Poetry East, and Waccamaw. She is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life and The Poetry Cheerleader for Prick of the Spindle.

Joel B. Levine, MD is a physician, Professor of Medicine, and writer whose essays and commentaries have appeared in print (Litchfield County Times, Hartford Courant, and New York Times) and online (The American Thinker). He has authored numerous scientific papers and several cautionary tales about the risks of defining the profession of medicine in largely economic terms. "Love is not times fool" is his first work of short fiction, one that hopes to remind us of the intense human experiences that underlie and envelop the sick and those who care for them. He lives in Massachusetts and has a home in rural Quebec.

Sean Mahoney lives with his wife, her parents, an Uglydoll, and three dogs in Santa Ana, California. He works in geophysics after studying literature and poetry in school. He believes that punk rock somehow miraculously survives, that Judas is a way better singer than Jesus, and that diatomaceous earth is a not well known enough gardening secret. His stuff appears here and there both in print and online.

David Mathews is a life-long Chicagoan who recently graduated from DePaul University's graduate program in Writing & Publishing (MAWP), where he studied with Richard Jones. Before that, he attended Northeastern Illinois University, where he studied with formalist poet Debra Bruce. His work appears in the current issue of After Hours.

Pam McGaffin is thrilled to have her first published short story appear in Eclectica. She is a former newspaper reporter and public-relations specialist who has been writing fiction off and on since childhood. In 2011, she took a leap of faith to work full-time on a novel when she wasn't watching youth baseball, soccer, football, and basketball. The seed for "Boundaries" was a moment spent staring up at a passing jet from her fenced backyard. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Mark Funk (who grew up in a Navy town), two sons, Casey and Charlie, and a pit-bull mix rescue dog named Ben.

John McKernan grew up in the middle of Omaha Nebraska in the middle of the USA and is now a retired comma herder after teaching 41 years at Marshall University. He lives mostly in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press. He has published poems in many magazines from The Atlantic Monthly to Zuzu's Petals, and his most recent book of poetry is Resurrection of the Dust.

Sam Mills is a former staff member of the Mother Earth News, the Savannah News-Press, the Island Packet and Islander magazine, and for a number of years was the Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, sports stringer for AP and UPI. His articles, fiction, and photos have appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, Golf and Tennis magazines, Motor Boating & Sailing, the Denver Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Home & Away, and dozens of other newspapers, magazines, and websites, and creating these works has taken him to four continents and nearly 40 foreign countries. His work has also appeared in Gray's Sporting Journal, Eclectica, and the literary magazines of both the University of Wisconsin and the University of Chicago. Born in Brownsville, Texas, Mills grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, locale for his novel, The Money Tree, available for Kindle at Amazon.com. He attended UNC-Chapel Hill's famed School of Journalism and graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He is winner of both the University of Wisconsin's annual short story contest and the Ned Ramsaur Travel Writing Award, given annually by the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism to the State's top travel writer. He lives near Asheville, North Carolina.

Marjorie Mir has appeared most recently in the April issue of Atlanta Review and in the anthology Words of Protest, Words of Freedom; Poetry of the Civil Rights Era (Duke University Press, 2012). She says, "The impetus for 'Questing After the Color Blue' was a New York Times article about the discovery of lapis lazuli in an Afghanistan mine and its subsequent use as a pigment long desired by artists. The story of the three brothers unfolded as I wrote it. I didn't foresee the crone's transformation until just before it happened, but I was pleased for both of them."

Iheoma Nwachukwu has won fellowships from the Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists, and the Michener Center for Writers. His fiction has appeared in Kwani, Black Renaissance Noire, Internazionale, and other journals.

Dianne Nelson Oberhansly won the Flannery O'Connor Award book of short stories, A Brief History of Male Nudes in America, and her co-written novel, Downwinders: An Atomic Tale, was chosen as a Utah Book of the Year. Her fiction has appeared widely in journals, including the Iowa Review, Ploughshares, New England Review, The Quarterly, and Sundog, and her poems have been published in Paper Nautilus, Hospital Drive, and Third Wednesday. She lives in rural Utah where she is a hiker, gourmet cook, and community Arts activist.

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.

Ernest Bazanye Sempebwa is a Ugandan journalist and writer. This story is based on the legend of Shaka Zulu and the fact of Joseph Kony.

Ann Skealives in Australia. She is the author of Ted Hughes: The Poetic Quest (UNE Press, Australia) and has been contributing reviews to Eclectica Magazine since our very first issue back in October of 1996.

Scott Stambach teaches physics and mathematics at a charter school in San Diego by day and writes fiction by night. His stories often explore characters living at the fringes of society. His narratives are reminiscent of zen koans in that they feature surreal elements that aim to push the mind into unfamiliar territory. 

Stephen Stark is the author of a few books of non-fiction. His fiction and poetry have recently been published (or will be) in 3 am, Litn'Image, Mudlark, McSweeney's, The Cafe Review, HOOT, Otoliths, OccuPoetry, Mobius, fleeting, and, among others, Clapboard House, where he won the short story prize.

Andrew Valencia is a fiction writer in the MFA program at the University of South Carolina. His short stories have appeared in Independent Ink, Mixed Fruit, and Switchback, among others. A native of Central California, Andrew returned to the US to pursue his MFA after working as an EFL teacher for several years in Korea, Panama, and Taiwan.

Mihir Vatsa grew up in the plateau-town of Hazaribagh and lives in New Delhi for his higher education. His poems have recently appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Curio Poetry & Earthen Lamp Journal, and are forthcoming from UCity Review. He studies English Literature at Delhi University and edits VAYAVYA Magazine.

Jennifer Van Orman Yurges is a writer and painter. A previous contributor to Eclectica Magazine, she is a graduate of the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA program in Southern Maine. She lives in Hallowell, Maine, with her husband and two-year-old twin daughters.

Brigit Kelly Young is this issue's Spotlight Author. She was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and now lives in New York City. Her work has been published in several venues, including Gargoyle Magazine, Drunken Boat, The North American Review, 2 River View, Black Magnolias Literary Journal, Opium Magazine, and more. Her poetry is forthcoming in Minerva Rising and Emerge Literary Journal.