Jan/Feb 2018

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.

Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Some places of publication include Visual Verse, I am not a silent poet, Degenerate Literature, Illumen, and Star*Line Journal. In her free time, she vacillates and oscillates between the science of everything called imagination.

Ryan Blacketter is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the author of Down in the River. His reviews and interviews have appeared in Paste, the Rumpus, Fiction Writers Review, Largehearted Boy, and elsewhere. He works as a mentor for PEN America's Prison Writing Program, and his short stories appear in Antioch Review, Image, Crab Orchard Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. His non-fiction has been published in the Rumpus.

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.

Peter Bridges holds degrees from Dartmouth College and Columbia University. After service as an Army private, he was commissioned as an officer of the US Foreign Service and spent three decades in Washington and at American embassies in Panama, Moscow, Prague, Rome, and Mogadishu. His memoir of service as the ambassador to Somalia, and his biographies of two once-famous Americans, John Moncure Daniel and Donn Piatt, were published by Kent State University Press. In 2013 he self-published a volume of 100 Sonnets from the Elk Mountains. Peter's shorter writing has appeared in Eclectica, American Diplomacy, California Literary Review, Diplomacy & Statecraft, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mountain Gazette, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. His long story "Envoys" is entirely fictional, but based on his experiences in diplomacy, during which he lost four friends to terrorism. His "James and the Goons" is a real-life account of embassy life in Moscow under Khrushchev.

Michelle Cacho-Negrete lives in Portland, Maine, but spent her first 40 years in Brooklyn, New York. She has published approximately 40 pieces, four of which were among the most notable essays of the year. She is in five anthologies, including a Norton College anthology and Thoreau's Legacy by the Union of Concerned Scientists. One of her essays won Best of The Web. She is co-fiction editor of Solstice Literary Magazine. Her book of essays, Stealing, was released in October 2017.

Ames Cain was born and raised in Portland, Maine. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University, and now resides in Columbus, Ohio, where she teaches piano. Her fiction has previously appeared in The Susquehanna Review and Used Gravitrons. She is at work on her first novel.

Tim Clutter is a long-time resident of southern Ohio who taught high-school English for many years and now teaches literacy to adults. He has contributed articles to English Journal and The Sondheim Review and is a newcomer to creative writing. His fiction has been published in Green Hills Literary Lantern and Prodigal's Chair, forthcoming in Confrontation, and his poetry in The Broadkill Review, Bryant Literary Review, Straylight, Prairie Winds, and The Alembic.

Eli Cranor is a runner-up for this issue's Spotlight. He played quarterback at Ouachita Baptist University while majoring in English Literature. By 26, he was the head football coach of a small high school near the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. These days, he's traded in the pigskin for a word processor, writing from Arkansas where he lives with his wife and daughter. His work has appeared recently in the Arkansas Review, BULL, Eclectica Magazine, and is forthcoming in the Greensboro Review.

Barbara De Franceschi is an Australian poet who lives in Broken Hill, a small mining town in outback New South Wales. Besides two collections of poetry, her work has appeared in anthologies and journals Australia wide, on-line, and in other countries, as well as being featured on national radio. For the past four years, Barbara has been part of the Enrich-Art in Health programme, an initiative of the NSW University Department of Rural Health to increase communication skills through creative writing and expand attitudes to compliment undergraduate studies for health professionals. She is also a member of The University of the Third Age and shares her skills with the community at large and people in aged care facilities.

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.

Jean-Luc Fontaine is a recent graduate of Florida State University. He lives alone in New York and works as a SAT tutor. He enjoys cheap coffee and fishing. He is trying to learn to laugh at himself a little more often, especially when he feels vulnerable. He hopes to one day break into the horoscope writing industry, but he isn't holding his breath.

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. He is seeking a publisher for his first book of poems, Getting Lost.

Henry Goldkamp has lived along the Mississippi River his entire life. Recent work appears in Cutbank, SLANT, Bridge Eight, Blood Orange Review, mojo, and Permafrost. This year, his work was nominated for a Pushcart and two Best of the Nets. His public art projects have been covered by Time and NPR.

Robert Hilles divides his time between Salt Spring Island and Khon Kaen Thailand and has won the Governor General's Award for Poetry for Cantos From A Small Room and his novel, Raising of Voices, won George Bugnet Award. His second novel, A Gradual Ruin, was published by Doubleday Canada. His books have also been shortlisted for The Milton Acorn People's Poetry Prize, The W.O. Mitchell/City of Calgary Prize, The Stephan Stephansson Award, and The Howard O'Hagan Award. He has published 15 books of poetry, three works of fiction, and two nonfiction books. His latest poetry books are Partake and Time Lapse. His next poetry collection, Line, will appear in the spring of 2018. He is also working on a novel set in Thailand tentatively called Don't Hang Your Soul on That, and a new poetry book called One of Not Many. The story in this issue, "Interventions," is from a collection of short stories in the works called Little Pink Houses. Many of the stories in the book are set in Vancouver and Calgary, Canada, but a couple, like this one, are set in Thailand. He says, "I am married to a Thai woman named Rain, and we spend half the year in Khon Kaen Thailand and half the year in Canada. This particular story evolved out of experiences I had in Thailand over the past year. Through my wife I have learned that every event, every interaction is significantly more complicated than I had previously imagined. I am also a poet, so I tend to see even the simplest of acts through a poet's eyes. Through Rain and her Buddhist beliefs I have also come to understand there are greater powers at work than I knew about until now. This story attempts to encapsulate all of that and I hope portrays a different way of perceiving the world and our deep connections to each other." Robert also has two poems in this issue's poetry section, about which he says, "Lorca is a hero of mine as he is for many poets and that poem is my attempt to highlight among other things the brutal way he was assassinated by militia during a very fragile political time in Spain. Later when Franco took power Lorca's work was banned. There is much speculation about the motives for Lorca's assassination and the location of his grave is still in question. Many of the specific details of his murder were only made public with the release of police reports in 2015. 'Your Maker' is written very much in the spirit of Lorca's work and grew out of a startling photo I saw. The photo is described at the end of the first stanza."

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.

R.W. Jagodnik has appeared in The Cortland Review, M Review, The Poeming Pidgeon, Borrowed Solace, and The Mantle.

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).

Nancy Jentsch is a runner-up for this issue's Spotlight. She has taught German and Spanish for over 30 years at Northern Kentucky University. She has published scholarly articles, short fiction, and poetry in journals such as Journal of Kentucky Studies, Eclectica, Aurorean, and Blinders. Cherry Grove Collections, an imprint of WordTech Communications, published her chapbook Authorized Visitors in 2017. She has seven ekphrastic poems in the collaborative chapbook Frame and Mount the Sky (Finishing Line Press).

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.

Chuck Kramer is a Chicago writer of fiction, poetry, journalism.

Tom Laichas has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Brackish, Blue Unicorn, Convergence, and Lotus-eater. His essays also appear at his blog, Left Write & Centaur, and at World History Connected, where he is senior editor. He lives in Los Angeles.

Seth Lorinczi is this issue's Spotlight Author. He is a Portland-based writer, musician, and audio engineer. Though he's worked as a journalist and editor for many West Coast publications including the San Francisco Chronicle and The Oregonian, this is his first publication of a purely personal nature in 20 years.

David Mathews earned his MA in Writing and Publishing at DePaul University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Eclectica Magazine, After Hours, CHEAP POP, One Sentence Poems, OMNI Reboot, Word Riot, Silver Birch Press, The Ghazal Page, and Midwestern Gothic.

Sharon Fagan McDermott is a poet and literature teacher at Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh. Her work has been published in three chapbooks: Voluptuous, Alley Scatting, and most recently, Bitter Acoustic, which was chosen by poet Betty Adcock as the 2011 winner of the Jacar Press chapbook contest. In the spring of 2018, McDermott's first full manuscript, Life Without Furniture, will be published by Jacar Press.

Lisa McMonagle grew up on the Allegheny Front of Central Pennsylvania. She works as the Coordinator of English as a Second Language for an Adult Education program in State College. Her work has appeared in The Women's Review of Books, West Branch, and the Ekphrastic Review.

Marjorie Mir is a retired librarian, living in Bronxville, NY.

Dike Okoro teaches postcolonial literature and African diaspora studies at Harris-Stowe State University, Missouri. His poetry, fiction, book reviews, and nonfiction have appeared in Witness Magazine, World Literature Today, Eclectica, Pindeldyboz, Hackwriters Magazine, Yellow Medicine Review, and numerous other magazines. He is the editor of several anthologies, including Speaking for the Generations: An Anthology of Contemporary African Short Stories and We Have Crossed Many Rivers: New Poetry from Africa. He received his PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Sarah Russell has published poetry and short fiction in Kentucky Review, Red River Review, Misfit Magazine, Rusty Truck, Psaltery and Lyre, and many other journals and anthologies. She was recently nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize.

Daryl Scroggins taught creative writing and literature for a number of years at The University of Texas at Dallas and The University of North Texas. He and his wife, Cindy, now live in Marfa, Texas, where they pursue art and writing projects. His poems, short stories, and creative non-fictions have appeared in magazines and anthologies across the country, and his most recent book is This Is Not the Way We Came In, a collection of flash fiction and a flash novel (Ravenna 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.

Christopher Smith graduated from DePaul University with a Master of Writing and Publishing degree in 2011. He's also completed the Writing Program at Second City in Chicago. He's at work on a poetry chapbook and a young adult novel.

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).

S. P. Tenhoff has appeared in Conjunctions, The Southern Review, American Short Fiction, The Antioch Review, The Gettysburg Review, Electric Literature's Recommended Reading, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the 2017 Editor's Reprint Award and Columbia University's Bennett Cerf Memorial Prize for fiction, and is a recent finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize, the Calvino Prize, and the Autumn House Fiction Prize, among other awards.

Lakshmi Arya Thathachar is an academician based in India. She teaches and researches in the areas of law, gender, history, and philosophy. She also writes creatively. Her current work includes short fiction and poetry, the latter having previously appeared in Pratilipi and Eclectica. The poems in this issue, in fact, previously appeared in Pratilipi, which is a bilingual e-journal published from India.

Jeffrey Trespel is a lawyer and musician in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A photography buff since childhood, he recently decided to focus on the cell phone medium as his means of expressing his vision. "Using a cell phone to project abstractions of the world I view is a natural extension of my other artistic endeavors. This medium encourages me to be completely in the 'here and now' at the time of the shot, whether it be a landscape, portrait, still life, or nature shot. In addition to the usual framing and lighting choices, a range of onboard editing tools allows me to capture the emotion and flow inherent in an exposure at that moment in time. I can then expand the story to create additional views that develop the story of the moment through character development, context, subject, shadow, and color."

Wells Woodman writes and gardens in Oak Ridge, North Carolina, where he has far too many children and curses under his breath far too often. Technically he doesn't live in the town, which saves him from being roped into periodic municipal water consolidation schemes.