Apr/May 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.

Devon Balwit has six chapbooks and two collections out. Among them: We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books); Risk Being/Complicated (a collaboration with Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic); Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders); and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found in Timberline Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Fifth Wednesday, the Aeolian Harp Folio, Red Earth Review, The Fourth River, The Free State Review, Red Paint Hill, Rattle, and more.

Gian-Paul Bergeron is a writer, comedian, and director living in Los Angeles. He has a short story forthcoming from EscapePod in August and his humor writing can be found in McSweeney's Internet Tendency. An earlier version of this story received an honorable mention for the Dell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. He is incredibly grateful to John Crowley for his mentorship in crafting this piece and to Charles Yu for inspiring his writing and referencing him to Eclectica. His comedy podcast, Don't Need To Know, discussing topics from paid mourners to foley artists and making audio sketches, can be found on iTunes.

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.

Amy Braziller is a former punk rocker, sometimes banjo twanging foodie, and current Professor of English at Red Rocks Community College, located just outside Denver, Colorado. Publications include (or are forthcoming in) Evansville Review, Hippocampus, Entropy, Split Rock Review, Crack the Spine, and Punchnel's. Regarding "One Act," she says, "One evening I found myself wandering the twittersphere. I came upon a particular feed, and I found myself obsessed with its narrative. In "One Act," I wanted to play with the concept of polyvocality and the act of blending narratives."

Priyam Goswami Choudhury is an Assamese poet who lives in Berlin. Her work was shortlisted for the Srinivas Rayaprol Prize for Poetry in 2016 and has appeared in two anthologies of Indian poetry and journals like Rattle, Vayavya, The Bombay Literary Review, The Sunflower Collective, Jaggery, and Fearsome Critters (forthcoming).

Antonia Clark is a medical writer and editor, has also taught creative writing and co-administers on online poetry workshop, The Waters. She has published in numerous print and online journals, including 2River View, The Cortland Review, Eclectica, The Pedestal Magazine, and Rattle. Her poetry collections include Smoke and Mirrors and Chameleon Moon. Toni lives in Vermont, loves French picnics, and plays French café music on a sparkly purple accordion.

Jessica deGruyter provided the artwork for this issue. A self-taught artist and metal smith, she learned her craft through workshops, books, and experimentation with unusual materials. Her maternal grandparents were teeth-makers by trade and jewelers by hobby; her paternal grandfather was a watchmaker, so perhaps this is her blood, this desire to create. She has always collected the ephemeral, and much of her jewelry features found natural elements, such as withered leaves and seeds, molted bird feathers, and insect wings. It also incorporates raw and uncut stones found on her hikes in the deserts and mountains of her home state of New Mexico—including Luna druzy, Pecos diamond, and Sandia granite. When she is not finding or making, deGruyter stays involved in the vibrant local community of artists in Albuquerque by showing and selling her work at galleries and art/craft markets around the state and region. Her work was recently included in a Sunset Magazine article, and has been featured in multiple local publications.

Jessica de Koninck is a retired attorney and the author of one full length collection, Cutting Room (Terrapin Books), and one chapbook, Repairs (Finishing Line Press). Her poems appear in journals and anthologies including PoetryMagazine, The Paterson Literary Review, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, and US1 Worksheets, and her poems and manuscripts have been finalists in the Raynes, Dobler, Juniper Press and Black Lawrence competitions. She is the poetry editor of Jewish Currents magazine. A long-time resident of Montclair, New Jersey, Jessica is engaged in many community activities. She says, "I am fortunate to have an office with a lovely view. The setting figures in many of my poems. The poem in this issue is written to a four word prompt. Word prompts, I find, permit the poem to develop in a simultaneously spontaneous and structured way. I enjoy the challenge such prompts offer."

Darren C. Demaree is the author of eight poetry collections, most recently Two Towns Over, which was selected the winner of the Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press. He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and children.

Steve Deutsch lives with his wife Karen—a visual artist—in State College, Pennsylvania. He writes poetry, short fiction, and a blog. His most recent publications have been in Misfit Magazine, Word Fountain, Eclectica Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, New Verse News, and The Drabble. He was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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.

Linda Griffin is a lifelong resident of San Diego California and has a BA from San Diego State University and an MLS from UCLA. She has retired after a career as a librarian for the San Diego Public Library to spend more time on her writing. She has had fiction published most recently in The Binnacle, Eclectica, Orbis, The Nassau Review, Verandah Literary & Art Journal, I-70 Review, Thema, and The Storyteller Anthology.

Matthew Bruce Harrison has appeared in West Branch, Sixth Finch, Cincinnati Review, At Length, Bayou, Carolina Quarterly, Crab Creek Review, Adroit Journal, and Texas Review, among others. He lives and teaches in Minnesota.

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.

Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission, and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation, and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fiction Daily, and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. He has been nominated seven times for the Pushcart Prize. He is the 2012 winner of the Thin Air Creative Nonfiction Award. His books include Light from a Small Brown Bird (Bitter Oleander Press, poetry), Sharpen (The Newer York, fiction chapbook), The Ballooon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking (What Books), and Tunneling to the Moon (Silenced Press, hybrid).

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).

Dyna Kassir studied at the American University of Beirut where she graduated with a BA in Economics and an MA in Philosophy. After graduation, she worked as a journalist and reporter for various organizations including the Daily Star and the German Press Agency (DPA). In 1987 she immigrated to the US and has lived ever since in Florida, first in Melbourne and now in Hollywood where she earns her living as an insurance agent. Before that, she worked as a travel agent. She has two sons. Regarding "The Children of So Many Tears," she writes, "The title of my essay is inspired by St. Augustine's mother St. Monica who, crying and worrying about her son's dissipated youth and his immersion in life's pleasures, was told by the Bishop of Milan to calm down, and that her son would soon find Jesus because "it is impossible that the son of so many tears should perish."

Ann Malaspina was born in Brooklyn, New York. She has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BA in English from Kenyon College. She is a published poet, journalist, and children's author.

Sharon and David Mathews are a mother and son duo from Chicago. 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, this is her first publication. David's recent work can be found in CHEAP POP, Midwestern Gothic, and Eclectica Magazine.

Andrew Shattuck McBride was a semi-finalist for the 2017 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize for his poem "I Was Happy as an Ant." His work appears in Crab Creek Review, Cirque:A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim, and Clover, A Literary Rag. He edits novels, memoirs, and poetry collections.

Leigh McDonald writes poetry, podcast scripts, and anything else she can get her hands on. Her poetry has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine, and she produced an upcoming episode of the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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.

Carole Mertz has recent poems at Writing in a Woman's Voice, The Write Place at the Write Time, Prairie Light Review, Indiana Voice Journal, The Society of Classical Poets, and elsewhere. She is the winner of several Wilda Morris Poetry Challenges. Her reviews of contemporary poetry collections appear in various literary journals. She resides with her husband in Parma, Ohio.

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

Marlene Olin was born in Brooklyn, raised in Miami, and educated at the University of Michigan. Her short stories have been featured or are forthcoming in publications such as The Massachusetts Review, Upstreet Magazine, Arts and Letters, Slippery Elm, and The American Literary Review. She is the winner of the 2015 Rick DeMarinis Short Fiction Award as well as a nominee for both the Pushcart and the Best of the Net prizes.

John Palcewski is a former Spotlight Author. He has enjoyed an eclectic career as a publishing house copywriter, wire service photojournalist, corporate magazine editor, music/drama critic, short story writer, and fine arts photographer. His work appears in the literary and academic press as well as in a substantial number of online publications. He has a BA in Journalism from Moravian College, and studied photography and videotape production at New York University. Palcewski's profile of jazz great Miles Davis appears in Miles on Miles, an anthology recently published by Lawrence Hill Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press.

Kenneth Pobo had an ekphrastic book of poems published in 2017 by Circling Rivers called Loplop in a Red City. Forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Press is a collection of his prose poems called The Antlantis Hit Parade. In addition to Eclectica, his work has appeared in Into The Void, Mudfish, Indiana Review, The Queer South anthology, and elsewhere. He says, "I usually let poems speak for themselves, but 'Broken High Heels' is about my great-grandfather. I didn't really know him, but through surrealism I feel I can gain access to more of his life. 'Butterfly' didn't really become a poem until I shut up, cut out a bunch of blab, and let the image be."

Bryan Prasifka is originally from Dallas, Texas, and served in the US Army. He has a BA from DePaul University in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse, and an MA from Southern Methodist University in The Humanities.

David Provost goes strictly by his surname and was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia—because he had no other choice. "Provost" enjoys studying hip-hop, encouraging the usage of Oxford commas, and podcasting. He is finishing up his undergrad degree in English at Sewanee: The University of the South.

Aditi Rao is a writer, teacher, and potter. Her essays and poems have been published widely, including in InfochangeIndia, Black Rabbit Review, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Four Quarters Magazine, The Feminist Wire, and others. Aditi has been a fellow at the Sangam House International Writers' Residency and the Jayanti Residency, and she is currently a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude. She received the Srinivas Rayaprol Prize for Poetry and the TFA Creative Writing in English award, and her first book, The Fingers Remember, won the Muse India-Satish Verma Young Writer Award 2015. Her second book, A Kind of Freedom Song, is forthcoming from Yoda Press in 2018.

Patrick T. Reardon is the author of eight books, including Requiem for David, a poetry collection published in 2017 by Silver Birch Press, and Faith Stripped to Its Essence (ACTA, 2016), a literary-religious commentary on Shusaku Endo's Silence, the basis of the recent Martin Scorsese movie. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016 and 2017. Reardon worked for 32 years as a reporter with the Chicago Tribune, specializing in urban affairs. His essays, book reviews and poetry have appeared frequently in American and European publications. Regarding "Path," he says, "Vacant lots have always been evocative for me, seeming to hold in this present moment what was there before and what will be there in the future, a sort of triple-layer experience."

Evan Richards is a graduate student, writer, and bush league musician living in Chicago. Always White Sox, never Cubs. His work has appeared in Poetry East.

Seth Rogoff is the author of the novel First, the Raven: A Preface (Sagging Meniscus Press 2017) and is working on a collection of fictional lectures. The first lecture in the series, "The Burrow, Revisited," appeared in Epiphany Magazine. The second piece, "Guests at the Hotel des Bains," was published in Cagibi. His second novel, Thin Rising Vapors, will be published in the fall of 2018 with Sagging Meniscus Press. He grew up in Portland, Maine, and, after spending many years in Berlin, now lives with his wife and two kids in Prague.

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.

Karlo Sevilla writes from Quezon City, Philippines. He is the author of You, a small collection of love poems (Origami Poems Project microchap, 2017). His work has appeared in Philippines Graphic, Radius, Riddled with Arrows, Poetry24, Social Justice Poetry, Quail Bell Magazine, and others. He also coaches wrestling, trains in Brazilian Luta Livre, and volunteers for the labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Solidarity of Filipino Workers). He says, "My lovely four-year-old daughter Maleeha figures prominently in both poems. That's all I have to say about each piece, and that may be all that really matters."

Rachel Sprague is an artist and writer living in Seattle, Washington, with a certificate in Natural Science Illustration from the University of Washington and a BA in English from UC Berkeley. Through all of her work, she likes to explore the characters she finds in the natural world, often combining words with images. She is working on a series of illustrated poems relating to the time she spent in India several years ago. "Snail" is intended to illustrate a moment of interaction—between words and between elements of nature. She says, "It was fun puzzling with the words in the [word poem] challenge, seeing how they themselves could interact, and then bringing this moment in time from the garden to life."

Annie Stenzel is this issue's Spotlight Runner-Up. She was born in Illinois but has lived on both coasts and a couple of other continents at various times in her life. Her book-length collection, The First Home Air After Absence, was published late last year by Big Table Publishing Co. Her poems appear in a wide range of print and online journals in the US and the UK, from Ambit to Rat's Ass Review to Whale Road with stops at Catamaran Literary Reader, Eclectica, Kestrel, Peacock Journal, Quiddity, and The Lake, among others.

John Sweet was born in 1968, still numbered among the living. A believer in writing as catharsis. An optimistic pessimist. Opposed to all organized religion and political parties. Avoids zealots and social media whenever possible. Latest collections include Approximate Wilderness (2016 Flutter Press) and Bastard Faith (2017 Scars Publications). All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing.

Christine Taylor resides in her hometown of Plainfield, New Jersey. A multiracial English teacher and librarian, she serves as a reader and contributing editor at OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Modern Haiku, apt, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Rumpus, and The Paterson Literary Review, among others.

Jenny Wong is a writer, traveler, and occasional business analyst. When she's not attempting to use her computer science degree for good, she's writing at home in her loft or out adventuring with her wise-cracking husband and their grumpy, middle-aged dog. Her publications include The Quilliad, 3Elements Review, Peacock Journal, Vallum, NoD Magazine, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and others.

Vivian Zenari is a writer, editor, and instructor from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Most recently, her work has appeared in The Forge Literary Magazine, WestWord (Alberta), Canthius, Ascent Aspirations, and The Richest. She is seeking a publisher for her first novel Beth and Ralph's Children, polishing her second novel True to Nature, and drafting a poetry manuscript, Biome. Vivian is also in the middle of a taking a web programming course.