Oct/Nov 2014

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.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy has been Eclectica's Review Editor since October of 2013. He first appeared in the magazine as a contributor a decade before that. He has published poetry, prose, and translation in many journals, paper, and electronic, including Jacket Magazine, Poetry International, The Georgia Review, Grand Street, SLANT, The Evansville Review, Rattle (online), Consciousness Literature and the Arts, Orbis, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. He has published numerous books, including Mind Dance (poetry); Kafka in Richmond (Novel); Edward de Vere was Shakespeare: at long last the proof; and Henry David Thoreau and Two Other Autistic Lives: before the diagnosis existed. He has just released Edward de Vere's Retainer Thomas Churchyard: the Man Who Was Falstaff. Links to his work online and to a selected bibliography of his work in paper venues appear at his Hyperlinked Online Bibliography.

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.

Lee Brozgol is an artist/writer/photographer who has been integral to the Lower East Side art world since graduating from the University of Chicago and moving to New York City in 1964. His public works have included "The Greenwich Village Murals" for New York State's Metropolitan Transportation Authority and "Beacon," a stained glass atrium for New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs. A photograph of "Beacon" was selected for the cover of Michele Cohen's Public Art for Public Schools with a preface by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In the fall of 2014, "The Greenwich Village Murals" will be included in New York's Underground Museum: Expanding Along the Way to be published by Monacelli Press. In 1983, intrigued and provoked by the furor in Congress over an exhibition at the Corcoran Museum that included an explicit photograph, "Man in a Polyester Suit," by Robert Mapplethorpe, Brozgol embarked on an exploration of the erotic lives of Americans. Using the pseudonym A. Lebowski, Brozgol began writing to personal column advertisers to invite their participation in creating works of art based on their ads. Over the next 30 years, from the pages of print media like Disciplinary Action, Drummer Magazine, and The Village Voice to online dating sites, Brozgol has created Hidden America: An Artist's Trip through the Personal Columns. These intimate and often sexually explicit correspondences document the evolution of bold, iconic portraits Brozgol has done for 50 Americans—one for each State in the Union. Taken in its entirety, Hidden America is a deeply political work of protest that demonstrates the richness and diversity of the erotic lives that many Americans really live.

Candace Butler is an MFA candidate at Antioch University of Los Angeles. She is a writer and artist residing in her hometown of Sugar Grove, Virginia, a small rural town in the mountains of Appalachia. She holds dear her family and the beautiful Jefferson National Forest that adjoins her backyard.

Andrea Cetra lives in Brooklyn. Currently pursuing a liberal arts degree in journalism and law at Sarah Lawrence College, she hopes to practice public interest and civil rights law. She is delighted to have her first publication appear in this month's issue of Eclectica.

E-MailMaryann Corbett grew up in McLean, Virginia, and now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and works for the Minnesota Legislature. She is the author of two chapbooks and three books of poetry. Her poems, essays, reviews, and translations have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and journals, including Barrow Street, Southwest Review, Verse Daily, and American Life in Poetry. She has been a several-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee; a finalist for the 2009 Morton Marr Prize, the 2010 Best of the Net anthology, and the 2011 Able Muse Book Prize; and a winner of the Lyric Memorial Award, the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, and the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award.

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.

Michael Estabrook is a recently retired baby boomer poet freed finally after working 40 years for "The Man" and sometimes "The Woman." No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms. Now he's able to devote serious time to making better poems when he's not, of course, trying to satisfy his wife's legendary Honey-Do List.

Soma Mei Sheng Frazier is this issue's Spotlight Author. She won the RopeWalk Press Editor's Fiction Chapbook Prize of 2013 and earned high praise from Nikki Giovanni, Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket), Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Antonya Nelson, and Molly Gilesdebut for her debut fiction collection, Collateral Damage: A Triptych. Her writing has placed in several literary competitions, including Zoetrope's and the Mississippi Review's, and she has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, named a Notable Story by the storySouth Million Writers Award, and given nods from Robert Olen Butler, Jim Shepard, and others. Recent work is available in Glimmer Train (Issue 89) and online at Glimmer Train (Bulletin 72) and Carve Magazine. New work is forthcoming in ZYZZYVA this year and Glimmer Train in 2015. She is at work on a novel that walks the line between traditional and urban lit. Of the story in this issue of Eclectica, she says, "Let us pray to whatever gods we pray to that my mother never reads this piece—even though, of course, it is fiction."

Joel Fry lives in Athens, Alabama. His poetry has appeared in Iodine Poetry Journal, Off the Coast, Stirring, Eclectica, and several other places. He has a blog called Susurrus Waking and is found on Twitter @JoelFry4.

Elizabeth P. Glixman is an artist and poet who was Eclectica's Interview Editor for many years. Visit her blog, A Writer in the Moment, to read about her poetry chapbooks The Wonder of It All, Cowboy Writes a Letter and Other Love Poems, and I Am the Flame, as well as to find info about her work on the web and in print.

Connor Greer is an undergraduate at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. His work has previously appeared in theNewerYork. He would like to dedicate this piece to his father, on whom it is partially based.

Ruth D. Handel is the author of Tugboat Warrior (Dos Madres Press, 2013), Reading the White Spaces (Finishing Line Press, 2009) and poems in literary journals and anthologies. Her full length manuscript has recently been submitted for publication. She has read her poems throughout the New York metropolitan area, and her work has twice been selected in juried competition for performance at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art. Ruth teaches poetry courses at an Adult School, facilitates writing workshops, and manages the Poetry Caravan, a volunteer organization that brings poetry to the community. A retired academic, Ruth feels especially privileged to be able to devote time to poetry writing and teaching. This is her second appearance in Eclectica. She was the Spotlight Author runner-up for the Apr/May 2014 issue.

Joseph Han is a graduate student in English at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is also the current director of Mixing Innovative Arts, a monthly reading series in Honolulu. His work has appeared in Hawaii Review, Metazen, Used Furniture Review, The Molotov Cocktail, Word Riot, and elsewhere.

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.

Mardean Isaac is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Guardian and other publications. He is seeking a publisher for his first novel, Lucian's Education.

Patricia L. Johnson is one of this issue's Spotlight Author runners-up. Her poetry has appeared in Foliate Oak, Apollo's Lyre, Southern Women's Review, Ars Medica, and other literary journals. She was editor of The Green Tricycle online literary magazine while it was active. For more than ten years she worked as an administrator for, and is presently an active member of, The Internet Writing Workshop. Her collection of flash fiction stories, Destrehan and Other Tales, is available to share as an ebook at Amazon. She is circulating her book of poems, Prism Variation, for publication. About the poems in this issue, she says, "Regarding 'On the North Shore,' I sing with all my heart of this rare olive and yellow bird, which I really saw—no, really. We are often not taken seriously, or in the bigger picture, not seen as who we really are in our honesty. 'Becky's Trilobite'—if something means so much to a friend, it belongs to them. I/we do not need to possess everything we love. This poem is dear to me, and I am so glad it found its very best home in Eclectica. As for 'Ascension Island,' never have I heard so lonely a voice as that of my husband's on the tape he played for me of his last broadcast from Ascension Island. I had to write a poem to get that lonely long distance out of my head." Patricia blogs at @PJPoet.

Judy Kaber was born in Brooklyn, New York, grew up in the suburbs of Long Island, dropped out of school, went to California, moved to Maine 40 years ago, had two kids, wrote a lot, published a little, taught 4th grade. She is still teaching, still living in Maine, still writing, still occasionally getting published.

David Karraker lives and writes in Portland, Maine. His short fiction has appeared in the South Carolina Review and Puerto del Sol. He co-authored a musical play, The Magnolia Club, which opened the initial season of the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago and was subsequently produced in Denver and in revival at Chicago’s McCormick Place Theater.

Coleen Kearon has a short story, "Summer 1976," in the January 2014 edition of Pif Magazine. Her short story "Sweet Nothings" appeared in the July-August 2010 edition of All Things Girl. An excerpt from Exquisite Corpse, her first novel, was published in November 2008 in Cantaraville. She has a Master's degree in Writing from Goddard College and an undergraduate degree in Theater from Old Dominion University. Her full-length play Wheel of Fortune was chosen as a finalist in the 2004 Vermont Playwright's Forum, and Cameron Thor Studios produced a monologue from her collection, A Day in the Night of America, for film in 2003.

E-MailElizabeth Kerper lives in Chicago and recently graduated from DePaul University with a BA in English literature. She is a contributing editor at N/A Literary Magazine, where her work has appeared. She is overly fond of avocados, rainy days, and the second person, and she can generally be found sitting quietly in the corner with her nose stuck in a book.

Susan Klebanoff is this issue's featured artist. She has been creating contemporary tapestries for over 30 years. She says, "Fine Art can be a condensation, in the most striking form, of the highest ideals of a civilization. At its finest, Art transcends the immediate, elevating both the soul and the imagination. When people are in the presence of fine art, their worries lessen, their fears abate, and their sense of abundance increases."

David Mathews earned his MA in Writing and Publishing at DePaul University where he studied under Richard Jones. His work has appeared in After Hours, One Sentence Poems, CHEAP POP, OMNI Reboot, Midwestern Gothic, and previously in Eclectica. A life-long Chicagoan, he teaches at Wright College and College Of Lake County.

Kevin Louis McFadden is a young writer who attained an MFA from the University of Tampa. He lives and works in a small town along the Hudson, some 20 miles north of NYC. He is working on his first film as the project's primary writer.

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. She 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. About the poems in this issue, she says, "'The Birth of Mary' was inspired by a visit to The Cloisters Museum in upper Manhattan. I was drawn to the naturalness and ease in the figure of Ann and to the tenderness, blurred a little by fatigue, of her expression looking down at the baby lying beside her. It stayed with me for a few days afterward and then reshaped itself into the poem. 'Go Gently' began with the connection between the word 'lethal' and the River Lethe. It moved from there to the differences between the ancient Greeks' and ancient Celts' conceptions of the afterlife."

Raul Palma is a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he teaches composition and creative writing. He is the Assistant Editor in Fiction for Prairie Schooner and the Reviews Editor for Brighthorse Books. Winner of the 2014 Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Prize and the 2012 Soul-Making Keats Mary Mackey Story Prize, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alimentum, decomP magazinE, Midwestern Gothic, NANO Fiction, Naugatuck River Review, Saw Palm, Rhino, and elsewhere. His novella Immaculate Mulch, which was shortlisted as a finalist for the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Novella Prize, is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press in the spring. Regarding "American Leather," he says it "emerged from my own experiences working in luxury retail on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. There was something exhilarating about the rush of passersby, the transitioning of the seasons and the merchandise, and the widespread changes on the avenue. Living in Lincoln, Nebraska now, ten years removed, I'm still a bit nostalgic about it: when I used to visit the Border's, as an example, that sat on the corner of Pearson and Michigan; or when after a long day I'd hit the town with my coworkers and good friends. In many ways writing this story was my attempt to explore this very specific time and atmosphere on the avenue."

Joe Pitkin began his writing career as a poet, where his work has appeared in North American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. In years since, his stories have appeared in, among other places, Analog: Science Fiction and Fact, Cosmos, The Future Fire, and Expanded Horizons. He teaches at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, and collaborates with the Evolutionary Ecology Lab at Washington State University, Vancouver.

Kenneth Pobo has a new book forthcoming from Blue Light Press called Bend Of Quiet. His work has appeared in The Queer South: LGBTQ Poets on the American South anthology from Sibling Rivalry Press; Weber: The Contemporary West; Floating Bridge; Mudfish; and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing and English at Widener University. About the two poems in this issue, he says, "The Aunt Gwen poem is from a manuscript I'm working on about Gwen and her wayward nephew. The Grotesque poem is from a separate manuscript of ekphrastic poetry." His Twitter address is @KenPobo.

Katherine Forbes Riley is a computational linguist, a writer, a wife, and a mother of two. She lives in northern New England. As a linguist, she has published over 40 scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. Her creative writing has been published by Akashic Books, The McNeese Review, BlazeVOX, and Buffalo Almanack, from whom she received an Inkslinger's Award for Creative Excellence. She has also recently completed a novel. Of "Compositional," she says, "Years ago I traveled in Southern Africa. This story is an attempt to externalize the process of opening yourself to a new and fearful experience, so that it can grow inside you."

Pooja Garg Singh is a writer and poet living in the United States. She is the Reviews Editor for Jaggery, a South Asian Literature Journal based out of Chicago. Her essays, articles, and poems have been published in various places, some of them being The Missing Slate, The Feminist Wire, The Aerogram, The North East Review, Muse India, Cafe Dissensus, Open Road Review, and The Brown Critique. Pooja is also part of Mandali, a motley group of story writers in India who write content for radio, television, films, and other media formats. She is passionate about her initiative for women, which focuses on using poetry as a medium to heal. She is an ex-business journalist, having worked with publications such as India Today Group and IDG. A communications specialist and researcher, Pooja runs a content company called WordTree.

Ann Skea lives 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.

Himali Singh Soin writes looking out of Euclid's window. She likes varieties of distances, map-making, getting lost in cities and in absences, and finding poems forming fronds in fish bowls, dust-ridden inside door-knobs or wilting in wine glasses. Previous poetry has been published in The Penny Dreadful, TFQ Magazine, Quay Journal, 491, Prairie Schooner, Pratilipi, Pyrta, Kritya, ArtSlant, TAKE on Art, and the Bread Loaf School of English Journal, among others. Her poems also feature in a few anthologies: Seamus Heaney's Yellow Nib Poetry in English by Indians is one of them. The poems, "Invisible Poetry" and "Boy of Letters," she says, "were inspired by a summer spent steeped in Calvino's marvelous mind, mapping the everywhere and the nowhere. Thanks to Paul Muldoon for encouraging their waywardness."

Gregory Stephenson grew up in Colorado and Arizona but has lived in Denmark for 40 years. He is the author of numerous articles and six books of literary criticism, including most recently Pilgrims to Elsewhere (Eyecorner Press).

Robert Joe Stout is one of this issue's Spotlight Author runners-up. He has published two novels, the most recent being Hidden Dangers (Sunbury 2014). He has also published a creative nonfiction volume called The Blood of the Serpent: Mexican Lives, Why Immigrants Come to America and articles, short fiction, and essays in numerous magazines and journals, including The American Scholar, The South Dakota Review, America, and Smoke.

Ray Templeton is a former Spotlight Author. A Scottish writer and musician, he lives in St. Albans, England. His writing, including poetry and short fiction among other things, has appeared both in print and on the web, and sometimes even other people sing his songs. Recent work can be found in Eclectica, nthposition, Left Hand Waving, and qarrtsiluni. His e-chapbook The Act Of Finding was published in 2009 by Right Hand Pointing, and his collection of prose poems The Skin Still Feels The Stone by White Knuckle Press in 2011. He is a regular contributor to Musical Traditions and a member of the editorial board of Blues & Rhythm magazine.

Roy White has some degrees from the University of Minnesota and lives in Saint Paul with his lovely wife and handsome dog. This is his first proper publication, as distinct from his blog, Lippenheimer. He is now blind, so stained glass, like Georgia, is accessible only through memory.

Louis Wenzlow grew up in suburban Chicagoland and lives with his family in Baraboo Wisconsin—the circus capital of the world. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Molotov Cocktail, Cease Cows, and International Poetry Review.