Jul/Aug 2016

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.

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.

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.

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates in Filipino and English. He grew up in the Philippines and moved to South Africa in 1994. His work has appeared in, among others, Rhino Poetry and Modern Poetry in Translation. His recent poetry books are published by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila: Baha-bahagdang Karupukan (2011), Alien to Any Skin (2011), Kalmot ng Pusa sa Tagiliran (2013), Sound Before Water (2013), and A Thousand Eyes (2015). His first short story collection, Sanga sa Basang Lupa, will be released in 2016. Of the poem in this issue, he says, "I love using prompts in writing. You never know how the piece will meander, where it will end up. A bit like letting go of the pedals as you zoom down a winding mountain trail, a crash is likely at the next bend. I like observing people, melding one trait with another character, another situation. I tend to tell stories in my poetry. 'Tekla' as a name has appeared before in my previous writing (as a pregnant woman in my first book of poetry) and I've written about street people a few times, often leaving them nameless. This time, with the word prompts, I didn't know I was going to have her this way until the poem's completion. Yes, there is a real person in mind, but also a lot of others, and then some fiction. Sometimes you need to include a lot more to make a world believable."

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone, and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit, and Cream City Review.

Terry Barr is the author of the essay collection Don't Date Baptists and Other Warnings From My Alabama Mother, available from Red Dirt Press. His work has also appeared in South Writ Large, Sacred Cow Magazine, The Bitter Southerner, Blue Lyra Review, and Hippocampus. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina, with his family and formerly stray dog.

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 received degrees from Dartmouth and Columbia and spent three decades in the US Foreign Service, roaming the world by water, rail, road, and air. Kent State University Press published his memoir of service as the American ambassador to Somalia, as well as his biographies of two 19th century Americans, an antislavery Ohioan and a racist Virginian. In 2013 he self-published a volume of 100 Sonnets from the Elk Mountains. His essays "My Family on the Waters" and "My Family on the Rails" appeared earlier in Eclectica. Other articles and essays have appeared in American Diplomacy, California Literary Review, Diplomacy & Statecraft, Michigan Quarterly Review, Notes & Records of the Royal Society of London, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere.

Michael Creighton is a middle school teacher, poet, and library movement activist who lives in New Delhi. His poetry has appeared in various journals and newspapers including Wasafiri, Pratilipi, Mint Lounge, and the Sunday Oregonian. If you find yourself in Delhi, come visit him at the Deepalaya Community Library Project.

Ben Daitz is one of this issue's Spotlight Author runners up. A physician, writer, and documentary filmmaker, his novel, Delivery, published by the University of New Mexico Press, was named to the Best of the Southwest. He has been a contributing writer for the New York Times and The Atlantic, and his films have been screened and honored by PBS, American Public Television, and numerous festivals. Ben's most recent documentary, The Sun Never Sets, is about the Rio Grande Sun, one of the best small-town newspapers in the country. Among other venues, the film was screened at The Newseum on the National Mall. Ben is a Professor of Medicine at the University of New Mexico.

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.

Chikodili Emelumadu is a sentient being dwelling in the greyness that is London. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Apex Magazine, Luna Station Quarterly, One Throne magazine, Omenana, Sub-Q magazine and African Monsters, an anthology from Fox Spirit books. In 2015 she was nominated for the Shirley Jackson awards for her story "Candy Girl" featured in Apex Magazine. She is working on the ninth incarnation of her novel. Follow her on twitter @chemelumadu.

Stephanie Erdman lives in Southwest Michigan and holds a Master's in English from Indiana University South Bend. She works as a vacuum cleaner technician and spends her nights eyeing the Indiana border with suspicion. She is part of the support staff at 42 Miles Press.

Lou Gaglia has published short stories in Serving House Journal, Thrice Fiction Magazine, Eclectica, Menda City Review, and many other publications. He is the author of Sure Things & Last Chances (October, 2016) and Poor Advice and Other Stories (2015), which won the 2015 New Apple Literary Award for short story fiction. He teaches in upstate New York and is a long-time Wu Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan practitioner.

D.G. Geis divides his time between Houston and the Hill Country of Central Texas. He has an undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Houston and a graduate degree in philosophy from California State University. His poetry has appeared most recently in Fjords, Memoryhouse, Poetry Scotland (Open Mouse), Les RÍves des Notre Ours, Cheat River, Two Cities, The Hartskill Review, Sugar House, Clare, Permafrost, and The Naugatuck Review. He is editor-at-large of Tamsen and a finalist for both The New Alchemy (University of Alaska) and Fish Prizes (Ireland). His first book, Mockumentary, will be published by Tupelo Press (Leapfolio) in early 2017. He is married to a redhead and his favorite activity (besides breathing) is taking long walks.

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 Jul/Aug 2016 issue.

Margaret Holley is one of this issue's Spotlight Author runners up. Her fifth collection of poems is Walking Through the Horizon (University of Arkansas Press). Her work has appeared in Poetry, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and many other journals. Former director of Bryn Mawr Collegeís Creative Writing Program, she now serves as a docent at Winterthur Museum.

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.

Stanley Jenkins is a former Spotlight Author and longtime contributor to Eclectica. He has been published widely in electronic magazines, print journals, and anthologies, including The Best Creative Non-Fiction, Vol 2 (W.W. Norton, 2008). He is the author of A City on a Hill (Outpost19, 2013).

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 lives in Belfast, Maine, taught elementary school for 34 years, and is now retired. She has previously been published in The Maine Times, Poetry International, Nerve House, Thieves Jargon, Eclectica, Off the Coast, and The Comstock Review. She also won the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest in 2009.

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 Chicagoís McCormick Place Theater.

Amy Kenyon is a historian and writer-photographer. She is the author of Dreaming Suburbia, a study of Detroit and postwar sub-urbanization (Wayne State University Press) and a first novel, Ford Road (University of Michigan Press). As a writer of fiction and nonfiction, she has published shorter pieces in Belt Magazine, Bright Lights Film Journal, Salon, Cobalt Review, and the Detroit News. Born and raised in Michigan, Amy now lives in London. She has worked as a mental health advocate, a literacy campaigner, and has taught at universities in Leeds and London.

Elizabeth 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.

Jascha Kessler has published ten books of his poetry and fiction as well as six volumes of translations of poetry and fiction from Hungarian, Persian, and Bulgarian, several of which have won major prizes. In 1989, his translation of Sándor Rákos's Catullan Games (Marlboro Press, Marlboro, VT) won the Translation Award from the National Translation Center. His latest volume of fiction, Siren Songs & Classical Illusions: 50 Modern Fables, appeared in December of 1992 (McPherson and Co., still in print, and reissued as a Kindle eBook, 2014, much enlarged to 75 fables). His translation of King Oedipus, with a Translator's Preface, appeared in Sophocles, 2 (2000, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press). In 1999, he published a novel, Rapid Transit: 1948—An Unsentimental Education. Other works include Collected Poems; a revised edition of his first collection of stories, An Egyptian Bondage, Christmas Carols & Other Plays, Tataga's Children: Fairytales from the Serbian of Grozdana Olujic, Traveling Light: Selected Poems of Kirsti Simonsuuri (translated from the Finnish), and Our Bearings at Sea: A Novel in Poems, translated from the Hungarian of Ottó Orbán. All seven books are available from xLibris. His latest work of fiction is King Solomon's Seal, 476 pages of confabulations, with an Introduction and Afterwords (xLibris, 2013. Hardback/Paperback/eBook versions available).

Patrick Kindig is a dual MFA/PhD candidate at Indiana University. He is the author of the micro-chapbook Dry Spell (Porkbelly Press 2016), and his poems have recently appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Court Green, Willow Springs, the minnesota review, and elsewhere.

David Kunkel received Boston College's Arts Achievement Award for his poetry and fiction. His work has appeared in Bird's Thumb and plain china. He grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and now lives in Wisconsin.

Michele Leavitt is a poet and essayist, also a high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, and former trial attorney. Her essays have appeared in venues including Guernica, Catapult, The Journal, and So to Speak; one was listed in 2015 as a Longreads Top Five of the Week, and another received a notable mention in Best American Essays 2011. Poems appear most recently, or are forthcoming, in North American Review, Gravel, Hermeneutic Chaos, and Cleaver. Connect with her at @Michele_Leavitt. She says, "'Elegy for Christina' was written for my niece, Christina, who died in 2013 at the age of 27."

Joe Mayers recently completed his Ph.D. in literature and creative writing at the University of Utah. His prose has appeared in Alice Blue Review, decomP, DREGINALD, Heavy Feather Review, Juked, and elsewhere. He is from Elsberry, Missouri, and now lives in Kansas City.

David Mathews earned his MA in Writing and Publishing at DePaul University. His work has appeared in Eclectica Magazine, After Hours, CHEAP POP, One Sentence Poems, OMNI Reboot, Word Riot, Silver Birch Press, and Midwestern Gothic. His poetry was nominated for The Best of The Net and has received awards from the Illinois Women's Press and the National Federation of Press Women. He lives in his hometown of Chicago where he teaches and writes.

Patrick McNeil works with the homeless population of Philadelphia, a city he believes in. Special thanks to the city, the shelter system, and the Backyard Writers Workshop, all of which played roles in the telling of this story.

Michael Milburn teaches high school English in New Haven, Connecticut. His poems and essays have appeared most recently in New England Review, Montreal Review, Poetry East, and Mudlark. He lives in Hamden, Connecticut.

Marjorie Mir is a retired librarian living in Bronxville, New York.

Victoria Mlady provided the artwork for this issue. She pays homage with her photographic work to the myriad ways in which color impacts moods and environments. She believes the spaces we create for ourselves mold us powerfully and significantly; therefore it behooves us to pay attention to the objects with which we surround ourselves. Because color directly contributes to well-being, she plays with it, imbuing her art with all it is meant to offer. Her images begin in nature and end as bright modern focal pieces demonstrating a yearning for what could be above and beyond what is. Victoria lives in Albuquerque surrounded by giant cottonwoods, tends to many representatives of the animal kingdom, and enjoys the company of some pretty terrific humans.

Robert Okaji lives in Texas with his wife, two dogs, and some books. He is the author of the chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform (Dink Press), a micro-chapbook, You Break What Falls (Origami Poems Project), and The Circumference of Other, a chapbook-length piece included in Ides: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks (Silver Birch Press). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Prime Number Magazine, riverSedge, High Window, Hermeneutic Chaos, Kindle Magazine, Glass, Clade Song, Otoliths, and elsewhere. His blog is called O at the Edges. About his work in this issue, he says, "I'd read a book on corvids (crows, ravens and jays), thinking I'd write a few poems touching on these fascinating birds. But before I knew what was happening, Scarecrow's voice insinuated itself into the first poem, and now I've about a dozen of them. Who knows how many I'll be forced to write. Only Scarecrow knows, and he's not talking. To me, that is."

Helen Park appears in BlazeVOX, Sleet Magazine, Inertia Magazine, Cleaver Magazine, and the Asian American Female Anthology, Yellow as Turmeric; Fragrant as Cloves (Deep Bowl Press, 2008). She is working on a novel loosely based upon three legend-worthy and chaotic generations of women in her family.

Christine Potter is this issue's Spotlight Author runner-up. A poet and YA novelist, she lives in a haunted house on a creek in the woods. Her two full-length collections of poetry are Zero Degrees at First Light (2006) and Sheltering In Place (2013). She has published poetry in Rattle, Fugue, American Arts Quarterly, and the late, lamented Shit Creek Review. The sequel to her time traveling novel Time Runs Away With Her is called In Her Own Time and is forthcoming on Evernight Teen.

Martin Pousson was born and raised in the bayou land of Louisiana. His new novel, Black Sheep Boy, includes stories that won a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. Two of his stories were finalists for the Glimmer Train Fiction Awards. His collection of poetry, Sugar, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and his first novel, No Place, Louisiana, was a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, Antioch Review, Epoch, Five Points, New Orleans Review, StoryQuarterly, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere.

Jessy Randall is a librarian at Colorado College, Her poems, comics, and other things have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, McSweeney's, and The Best American Experimental Writing 2015. Her most recent book is Suicide Hotline Hold Music (Red Hen, 2016).

Stuart Ross is a writer living in Chicago. He is also this issue's Spotlight Author.

Connie Wasem Scott lives in Spokane, Washington with her husband and daughter, where she teaches writing and literature at Spokane Falls Community College. Her poems have appeared in Sycamore Review, RHINO, Slipstream, Oval Magazine, and Comstock Review, and in a few anthologies, including the just-released All We Can Hold: Poems of Motherhood by Sage Hill Press and Times of Sorrow, Times of Grace: Writing by Women of the Great Plains by Backwaters Press.

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).

J. Eric Thompson is a freelance writer and slightly embarrassed American from rural Virginia living in New York City. He studied English Literature and Creative Writing at James Madison University, Journalism at NYU, and is now working on several short stories and essays while preparing his first novel for submission. This is his first publication.

Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad was born and raised in New York, where she now lives and practices matrimonial law. Her poetry has appeared in The Commonline Journal, The Coe Review, Kudzu House Quarterly, The Chiron Review, and is forthcoming in Passages North, Stillwater Review, Orange Coast Review, apt, and Riprap Journal.

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.

Steve Vermillion is a fiction writer and humorist living in Northern California. He is a contributing editor at tNY Press. His recent work appears in print and online in a variety of magazines. In 2014 he was nominated for a Best of the Net award in Short Stories, as well as receiving Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train Magazine's Short Story of the Year.

Karen Windus is a writer and engineer who lives and works in San Francisco. She has additionally lived in lots of other places all over the country. Her poetry explores the relationship between places that we see and experience, and places we feel and reimagine inside ourselves. Her poems have appeared in The Monarch Review, concis, The Marin Poetry Center Review, as well as in a collaborative chapbook created with Dara Wier and others.

Margaret Wack is a writer whose work has been published in The Plebian Rag, ditch, and Haggard and Halloo. She lives in Massachusetts.