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.
Terry Barr has an essay collection, Don't Date Baptists and Other Warnings from My Alabama Mother, published by Third Lung Press. His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in storySouth, Full Grown People, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Wraparound South, and Left Hooks. He is a writing member of The Writing Cooperative and blogs at medium.com@terrybarr. He lives in Greenville, South Carolina, with his family. Regarding his piece in this issue, he says, "This is the third essay that I have been honored to have published in Eclectica. This particular piece focuses on what my daughter describes as my excessive love for shoes. She should know given the quantity she owns. Still, I looked closely at the more famous shoes I've owned and wondered why I care so much, why I feel like my shoes often define who I am or want to be!"
Nicole Baute is a former journalist, who has been published in a variety of newspapers and literary journals. She runs an online writing consultancy and teaches creative writing in the online school, Story is a State of Mind. Nicole is Canadian but lives in India with her journalist partner and well-travelled tabby cat. Of "Writing About, Speaking For," Nicole writes, "I think the piece speaks for itself. Although I have a deep respect for journalists and journalism, I left the industry for a reason. I quit my newspaper job six years ago, and I suppose time and physical distance have given me the perspective I needed to express why in writing. It's fortifying, somehow."
Chaya Bhuvaneswar has appeared or is forthcoming in The Awl, Tin House, Narrative Magazine, Michigan Quarterly Review, Nimrod, Notre Dame Review, Asian American Literary Review, Bangalore Review, Compose, aaduna, r.k.v.r.y., jellyfish review, Long Story, Short Journal, Sky Island Journal, The Write Launch, and elsewhere. She has received a Henfield award in fiction, scholarships to Squaw Valley and Grub Street, and is at work on a novel.
Greta Bolger is a writer and visual artist who lives in Northern Michigan, a stunning and peaceful place everyone should visit at least once in their lives. She has published poetry and prose in several online and print publications, including The Chimaera; Juice Box; Eclectica; Short, Fast and Deadly; Snakeskin; Contemporary Haibun Online; and others.
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.
Rachel Burns is a writer living and working in New York City. She has previously been a recipient of Harvard's Edward Eager Memorial Prize for Poetry, and her poems have appeared in Literary Laundry and Florida English—and once before in Eclectica!
Matthew Callan has appeared in Sixfold, the Newtown Literary Journal, and Nimrod International Journal, where he was a quarterfinalist for the 2016 Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction. His essays have appeared at The Awl, Vice, The Onion AV Club, and elsewhere. His nonfiction book Yells For Ourselves—a study of the rapidly changing New York City of the turn of the 21st century, as viewed through the prism of baseball—will be published in 2018 by Inkshares.
Jen Davis has appeared three times in Eclectica, and she has work published or forthcoming in Door is a Jar, Whale Road Review, Licking River Review, The Fourth River, Peacock Journal, NEAT, and several others. She will begin pursuit of her MAE at Northern Kentucky University in January 2018.
Steve Deutsch is a semi-retired practitioner of the fluid mechanics of mechanical hearts and heart valves. He lives with his wife Karen, a visual artist, in State College, Pennsylvantia, where he writes poetry, short fiction, and a blog. His most recent publications have been in Eclectica Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, New Verse News, The Drabble, and Misfit Magazine.
David Flynn is a Runner-Up for this issue's Spotlight Author. He was born in the textile mill company town of Bemis, Tennessee. His jobs have included newspaper reporter, magazine editor, and university teacher. He has five degrees and is both a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Fulbright Senior Specialist with a recent grant in Indonesia. His literary publications total more than two hundred. Of "To Death," he says, "The story is set in Nikolaiv, Ukraine, where I was a Fulbright Specialist in 2002. Being fiction, of course, the characters and events are made up, but I hope I have been true to the nature of life there. Nikolaiv was a closed city for many years because it was a Soviet Navy shipbuilding center on the Black Sea. After the Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine became independent, the city has struggled to recover the loss of many, many jobs. I found the tension between those who considered themselves Russians and those whose identity was Ukrainian to be strong. I bought a set of nested dolls from a store in Nikolaiv. The clerk pointed out that nested dolls were a Russian cultural item, but that the clothes painted on the dolls were traditional Ukrainian. Today the dolls are on my bookshelf."
Jeff Gibbs received his MFA from the University of Arizona and has had short stories, essays, reviews, and poems published in The Boston Review, The Istanbul Review, The Heat City Review, The Noo Journal, Blood Lotus, 3am, and Diagram. He has written numerous articles for the magazine Time Out Istanbul and occasionally for various online sites such as Istanbul Eats and Mashallah News. He also keeps a well-known travel/culture blog on his experiences in Turkey has lived and worked in Turkey as a writer and teacher. "The Commiserators" is part of a series of non-fiction and speculative fiction about life in Istanbul. Other pieces in this series on Turkey have appeared in Big Truths/Little Fiction and Word Riot.
Gregorio Gomez was the MC of Chicago's most infamous and longest running underground poetry venue at WEEDS. In October of 2016, he took his poetry open mic to the world famous (one of the last standing) true Chicago bars, the Hideout, and is now celebrating the first anniversary. Gregorio emigrated from Veracruz, Mexico, and has been a major influence in the development of the spoken word scene and many venues of Chicago's poetry community for over three decades. He has been featured at many poetry venues throughout the Midwest and has also done readings with producer/writer/director Guillermo PenaGomez-Peña, activist/poet/engraver Carlos Cortez, and poet and founding editor of Tia Chucha Press, Luis Rodriguez, who was also a candidate for governor of California. Gregorio was Managing Director of the Latino Chicago Theater Company, which produced an array of plays in the company's original style of "cartooning" and that introduced many young Latino playwrights who are now being produced by mainstream theater companies. He has been published in numerous alternative poetry magazines as well as Stray Bullets, an anthology published by Tia Chucha Press, and the Poetry for Peace Anthology published by the Peace Museum of Chicago, as well as in the Not My President Anthology by Thoughtcrime Press. He also co-produced two feature films: Israel in Exile, the magic realism world of an aging boxer coming to grips with his demons, and Blank Verse, the story of a woman whose husband dies and then begins to have visions that predict the future. He also produced the documentary Not Just Paintings On A Wall, which presents the murals of Pilsen, Chicago's largest Mexican-American neighborhood, along with interviews with the muralists who created them.
Thomas J. Hubschman is a regular contributor to Eclectica's Salon and is the author of five novels (Look at Me Now, Billy Boy, Fr. Walther's Temptation, My Bess, and Song of the Mockingbird), a short story collection (The Jew's Wife & Other Stories) and two anthologies of writing from the 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.
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).
D.M. Jerman is a native of Western Pennsylvania who now lives in Chicago. A writer and musician, she has been published in Big River Review, Theurgy Magazine, Provoke Journal, The 2nd Hand, Capitola Review, After Hours, and Skidrow Penthouse. Her books, Diminishing Returns: Seventeen Washed-Up Love Poems and Bon Petit Bohemienne: A Memoir are available via Amazon. More literature and photography by Dana can be found at her monthly updated blog.
Judy Kaber recently retired after 34 years teaching elementary school. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, both print and online, including Eclectica, Off the Coast, The Comstock Review, and Crab Creek Review. Her contest credits include the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, the Larry Kramer Memorial Chapbook Contest, and, most recently, second place in the 2016 Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest.
Elizabeth Kerper lives in Chicago and graduated from DePaul University with a BA in English literature. Her work has appeared in the Nancy Drew Anthology from Silver Birch Press, as well as in Eclectica, NEAT, Midwestern Gothic, and No Assholes Literary Magazine, where she is a contributing editor.
Chuck Kramer is a Chicago writer of fiction, poetry, journalism.
Hannah Lanier is a sophomore at Academic Magnet High School. Her work has recently been seen in Literary Orphans and The Eunoia Review. She can't remember a time when she didn't write, and hopes to never see a time when she doesn't.
Svetlana Lavochkina is a Ukrainian-born novelist, poet, and translator, now residing in Germany. In 2013, her novella Dam Duchess was chosen runner-up in the Paris Literary Prize. Her debut novel, Zap, was shortlisted for Tibor & Jones Pageturner Prize 2015 and published in September 2017 by a NYC press, Whisk(e)y Tit. Svetlana's work has been widely published in the US and European literary magazines and anthologies. It has appeared in AGNI, New Humanist, Words for War, Eclectica, POEM, Witness, Straylight, Circumference, Superstition Review, Sixfold, Drunken Boat, and elsewhere.
Alice Lowe is this issue's Spotlight Author. She reads and writes about life and literature, food and family. Believing that food is inextricably tied to our lives and our memories, "On Cookbooks" continues to explore the strong ties between food and the meaningful times in our lives, the way we reconstruct memories. One of Alice's first published pieces appeared in Eclectica in 2011. Since then her personal essays have appeared in more than 60 literary journals, most recently Baltimore Review, Stonecoast Review, The Chaos, Citron Review, Room, Pilcrow & Dagger, Adelaide, and Fish Food. Her work is cited among the Notable Essays in the 2016 Best American Essays and was nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology. Alice is the author of numerous essays and reviews on Virginia Woolf's life and work, including two monographs published by Cecil Woolf Publishers in London. She lives in San Diego, California.
Elizabeth Marino is a poet, educator, and activist based in Chicago. Her recent publications include Rise: An Anthology of Power and Unity (Vagabond Press), The Significant Anthology (India), The Muse of Peace (Gambia), and Smash Capitalism II (Revolutionary Poets Brigade). She holds an MA in English (the Writers Program, University of IL), a BA in English and Humanities from Barat College, and she completed her junior year coursework at Oxford University on academic scholarship. She participated in the first Las Dos Brujas Writers Workshop, coached by Juan Felipe Hernandez. Chapbooks include Ceremonies (dancing girl press) and Debris: Poems and Memoir (Puddin'head Press). She says, "'Poem for Vietnamese Reunification Day 2017' was written in response to Dang Than on the annual observance of the reunification of North and South Vietnam at the end of the war. He is based in Hanoi and graciously translated my poem into Vietnamese."
John Martin is a writer and artist who makes his home in Colorado. His work has previously appeared in Per Contra, Bias Onus Quarterly, Black Lantern Publishing, The Externalist, Curbside Splendor, Work Literary Magazine, The Common, 34th Parallel Magazine, Crack the Spine, and Devolution Z. He says that the publication of this story is a real milestone, as it has been around the block quite a few times.
Sharon and David Mathews are a mother and son duo from Chicago. David teaches, writes, and plays Brannboll on the lakefront. Sharon enjoys reading multiple books at the same time, frequently visiting her grandchildren, and of course shinrin-yoku ("forest bathing"). Coming back to poetry with encouragement from her son, their recent work together can be found in Eclectica Magazine. They also recently reflected on their collaborative partnership for Proximity Magazine's True.
Nancy Mays recently graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with her MFA. She embarked on that endeavor following careers as a reporter and in corporate communications. She's had work published in the Mid-American Review and the Colorado Review. Nancy is an adjunct professor in the journalism program at the University of Kansas - Lawrence. She lives with her husband in the Kansas City area, where they raised their four children.
Carole Mertz lives in Parma, Ohio, where she teaches music. During the '90s, she promoted the Jupiter Symphony in NYC as fundraiser, publicist, and keyboardist. Carole's poems are at Indiana Voice Journal, Voices de la Luna, The WPWT, WestWard Quarterly, Every Writer, and The Society of Classical Poets. Her poetry reviews are published at Mom Egg Review, CutBank, Copperfield Review, World Literature Today, Arc Poetry, and elsewhere. She has won several Wilda Morris Poetry Challenges and holds degrees from Oberlin College, Hunter College, The Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and is a member of the New York C.S. Lewis Society.
Lisa McMonagle is a Runner-Up for this issue's Spotlight Author. She grew up on the Allegheny Front of Central Pennsylvania., and she is now the Coordinator of an Adult Education Program in State College, Pennsylvania. Her poems have appeared in The Women's Review of Books, West Branch, and The Ekphrastic Review. "Closed Casket" comes from a child's experience of another child's death.
Marjorie Mir is a retired librarian, living in Bronxville, NY.
LeeAnn Pickrell is a former Spotlight Author. She lives in Richmond, California, where she works as a freelance editor and writes poetry and prose. She is also the managing editor of Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche. Her work recently appeared in Eclectica Magazine's anthology of best poetry and has been published in various journals including In Posse Review, Regarding Arts & Letters, and Chanterelle's Notebook. LeeAnn has just completed a long essay about her experience in the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Kenneth Pobo has a new book out from Circling Rivers called Loplop in a Red City. In addition to Eclectica, his work has appeared in Nimrod, Mudfish, Hawaii Review, The Queer South anthology, and elsewhere.
Don Pomerantz lives in New York City, where he is a teacher. His poems have appeared in Washington Square, Failbetter, Potomac Review, Eclectica, New Plains Review, Mountain Gazette, SAND, and elsewhere.
D. D. Power is a poet from Chicago, Illinois, and a graduate of Oberlin College (B. A. English). He is the co-host of Weeds Poetry at the Hideout and works as a poetry teacher in Chicago. Strangers find him approachable, and friends concur.
JG Sarmiento holds an MA from the University of Guam, where he taught composition and literature courses. Nomadic by nature, he now lives in Denver, Colorado, anticipating a sunrise better than the one he tripped over on the top of Mount Fuji and a rainy day better than the ambush in the Ubud Monkey Forest. His work has featured in the Guam International Film Festival, Marianas Variety, and Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel.
Tom Simmermaker grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where he won the Anne Howard Bailey Award for Creative Writing. He works for the University of Chicago and likes to frequent roller rinks.
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.
Robert Joe Stout is a graduate of Mexico City College and a longtime freelance journalist specializing in books and essays about Mexico. He's been published in America, The Tishman Review, New Politics, Poem, Chic, and many other magazines and journals.
Michael Van Kerckhove is a native Detroiter, longtime Chicagoan, and new Nashvillian. He's shared work in many Chicago events, including Essay Fiesta, Is This a Thing?, Serving the Sentence, You're Being Ridiculous, and TenX9 Chicago. And in Nashville at TenX9 Nashville and Poetry in the Brew. He has work published in Belt Publishing's Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology and forthcoming in the Fall 2017 issue of Waxing and Waning from Nashville-based April Gloaming Publishing, among others.
James VanOosting is retired Professor of both Arts & Sciences and Business from Fordham University, as well as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences from Seton Hall University. He has published ten books and numerous articles, most recently in The American Scholar and Commonweal.