Jan/Feb 2021

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.

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.

Evan Martin Richards is Eclectica's Poetry Editor. He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and lives in Chicago. He received his MA in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University, where he worked as a writing tutor and facilitated creative writing and EdD candidate writing groups. His poetry has appeared in Poetry East and Eclectica. He has read fiction for Another Chicago Magazine and served as a poetry judge for the Golden Shovel Anthology Competition hosted by Roosevelt University. He works as an editor, both freelance and in the nonprofit management field.

Peter Amos is a native of rural Virginia. The son of an English teacher and a librarian, he studied music in college and moved to New York City where he lives, works, explores, and writes about it.

Joe Bardin is the author of Outlier Heart: Essays from my Lifeas an Immortalist (IFERS Press). His essays have appeared in numerous literary journals including Louisville Review, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Superstition Review, Eclectica, and Image Journal: Good Letters, and been anthologized in the Transhumanism Handbook (Springer). His plays have been performed both domestically and abroad. He is a messaging strategist and serves as Director of Communications for the Coalition for Radical Life Extension and People Unlimited.

Jes Battis teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Regina. He/they has published poetry in The Capilano Review, CV2, The Puritan, The Maynard, Ghost City Review, and Poetry is Dead. They're also the author of the Occult Special Investigator series and Parallel Parks series, both with Ace/Penguin.

Wade Bell is this issue's Spotlight Runner-Up for Nonfiction. He is the author of four books of fiction, most recently, Tracie's Revenge, published by Guernica Editions, Toronto. His work has appeared in over 50 literary print sites and on the Net. He has lived in Edmonton, Ottawa, and Calgary, Canada, and in Barcelona, Spain. His novel, In Barcelona, is short listed for the Guernica Novel Prize (Canada).

Deya Bhattacharya is a freelance writer and former business development manager from India who started exploring the world of literary fiction for the first time during the Covid-19 lockdown. An avid reader of literary fiction, she writes whenever and wherever there's a notebook and pen handy, even if it's just "What should I write today?" She enjoys painting, singing, cooking and working out in her spare time, has never been published before, and is excited to share her stories with the world. She says, "Knocker is about a young man who passes from the shadow of his petty-tyrant mother into the unsettling deference of the in-house attendant. It's a coming-of-age story where the vicissitudes don't go away, but are accepted as parts of a reality—even if the reality is somewhat too full of biscuits for the young man's liking."

David Comfort is the author of three popular humor books from Simon & Schuster and two nonfiction titles from Citadel/Kensington and Writer's Digest. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee and finalist for the Faulkner Award and Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Award. His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Evergreen Review, Pleiades, The Montreal Review, Stanford Arts Review, and Johns Hopkins' Dr. T.J. Eckleburg Review. "Elixirs, Baths, & Bloodletting" is taken from his work in progress, The New Dao: The Skeleton Key of Life and Afterlife.

Sara Dallmayr is originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she attended Western Michigan University and graduated with a BA in Creative Writing/poetry. She works for the post office as a rural mail carrier in South Bend, Indiana, where she lives with her husband and three cats. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Esthetic Apostle, Texas Literary Review, Third Coast, High Shelf Press, 3Elements, and others.

Arthur Davis is a management consultant who has been quoted in The New York Times and in Crain's New York Business, taught at The New School and interviewed on New York TV News Channel 1. He has advised The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, Senator John McCain's investigating committee on boxing reform, and testified as an expert witness before the New York State Commission on Corruption in Boxing. He has been published in over 80 journals, a single author anthology, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, received the 2018 Write Well Award for excellence in short fiction and, twice nominated, received Honorable Mention in The Best American Mystery Stories 2017.

Cat Dixon is this issue's Spotlight Runner-Up for poetry. She is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and The Book of Levinson and Our End Has Brought the Spring (Finishing Line Press, 2017, 2015), and the chapbook Table for Two (Poet's Haven, 2019). Recent poems have appeared in Parentheses Journal, Lowecroft Chronicle, and SWWIM Every Day.

Becca Downs is an Indianapolis-based freelance writer and assistant coach for collegiate cross country/track. She enjoys running, backpacking, chaotically reading several books at one time, eating donuts, and solo dance parties in her apartment. Her work has appeared in Glass Mountain, genesis, and Naturally Yours: Poems about Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs.

Prathim Maya Dora-Laskey teaches English Literature and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Alma College after graduate school on three continents. An alumna of Stella Maris College in Chennai, her awards include scholarships from the Pennathur foundation, the FSA board at the University of South Carolina, and a Violet Morgan Vaughan award at the University of Oxford. A poetry editor at JaggeryLit Magazine and a current moderator at SAWNET (south asian women's net @ sawnet.org), she has published work in Contemporary South Asia, Interventions: A Journal of Postcolonial Studies, South Asian Review, and Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. Her poetry has previously appeared in Yemassee, Mirror Magazine, Cerebrations, and a few anthologies.

Amy L. Fair is a West Virginia native who makes her home in rural Oregon, where she teaches at a small community college and plans to grow old without any grace whatsoever. On "Broken Women," she says, "This poem is very recent work—I wrote the earliest drafts in early fall, from a place of feeling unmoored, both by the continuing surge of the COVID-19 pandemic and by substantial, never-ending political unrest." She keeps a small blog about her writing (among other things), The Scar Swallower.

David Flynn 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. He lives in Nashville and teaches at Tennessee State University.

Virginia Bach Folger lives in an 1888 Victorian house in Schenectady, New York. She is a member of the Wednesday Night Writers. She has worked as a gas station attendant, paralegal, claims adjuster, and corporate learning manager. Her poetry has been published in Lumina, Eclectica, The Fourth River, and Adanna, among others.

Amelia Franz is a Pushcart-nominated short story writer living in the Baltimore area. Her fiction and nonfiction are published or forthcoming in Image, Hippocampus, Peatsmoke Journal, The Texas Review, and other literary magazines. She teaches online writing for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. She says, "When I began writing 'The Parable of Kim,' I was thinking about the fundamentalist southern churches I grew up attending, and the ways girls and women are sometimes victimized and oppressed in those church cultures. But I was also thinking of biblical parables, especially the parable of the good shepherd. At some point, that parable became the driving image, and the story itself began to seem like a strange version of the parable, as a girl like Kim might experience it."

Beau Lee Gambold was born in Texas, raised in Mississippi, and lives in Virginia. He worked for the first Obama campaign, then served in the Peace Corps in Thailand. He's waited tables, taught karate, and traveled to 27 countries. When his wedding was postponed due to Covid, he and his partner Sara spent the fall bicycle-camping across America, raising money to get out the vote—this trip was the main inspiration for the poem in these pages. In his writing life, Beau is a graduate of the Columbia MFA, has taught creative writing workshops and seminars, and his stories have been published or are forthcoming in From the Depths, Bluing the Blade, The Rational Creature, and Passengers Journal. He's a recipient of the Hemera Tending Space Fellowship for Artists and the 2020 Haunted Waters Press Award for Fiction, and he is in the late drafts of his first novel.

Elisabeth Hewer received a Masters in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University and is currently writing her second novel. Her poetry collection, Wishing for Birds, was published by Platypus Press in 2015. Her poetry and flash fiction has appeared in Apeiron Review, Ellipsis Zine, Phoenix Review, and Hypertrophic Literary. Her first published short story appeared in C Word Mag in June 2020. She originally trained as a journalist and is now a copywriter at an agency in England's green and rainy South West.

Thomas J. Hubschman is a regular contributor to Eclectica's Salon and is the author of Look at Me Now, My Bess, Billy Boy, Father Walther's Temptation, Song of the Mockingbird, and The Jew's Wife & Other Stories, as well as three science fiction novels. His work has appeared in New York Press, The Antigonish Review, The Blue Moon Review and many other publications. Two of his short stories were broadcast on the BBC World Service. He has also edited two anthologies of new writing from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, and he was the founding editor of the pioneering online publication Gowanus. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, which remains his chief inspiration.

Alison Iglehart is a fourth generation Floridian retired from serving as Coordinator of the Tallahassee Community College Writing Center. She has had a dozen literary nonfiction narratives and memoirs published in Florida newspapers and magazines, as well as online.

Jarrett Kaufman is a Ph.D. Candidate in English at the University of Louisiana. He has been awarded scholarships from the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, the Cambridge Writers Workshop, and the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has won numerous literary awards, including the Mary Mackey Fiction Award, the Tennessee Williams Short Story Award, the Missouri Writers Guild President's Award for Fiction, and the Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Prize. His stories have been published in over a dozen literary journals. Most recently, his work has been published in or is forthcoming in The Saint Ann's Review, Fiction Southeast, Arkansas Review, and Another Chicago Magazine. His work has also been anthologized in The Storyteller Magazine, Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, and Short Story America.

Robert P. Kaye has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Gulf Stream, Penn Review, Hobart, Juked, and elsewhere. He facilitates the Works in Progress open mic at Hugo House and is a fiction editor at Pacifica Literary Review.

Deborah Ketai writes from the intersection of bipolar, bisexuality, and creative self-doubt, leavened with humor and wordplay. Her poetry has been featured in Think, North Dakota Quarterly, and other venues. She and her wife live in Connecticut's Naugatuck Valley.

David Lohrey has had his plays produced in Switzerland, Canada, and Lithuania. His poems can be found at Expat Press, Terror House, Spillwords, and Modern Literature, along with the publications of the University of Alabama, Illinois State, and Michigan State University. His fiction appears in Storgy Magazine, Terror House Magazine, and Literally Stories. His first collection of poetry, Machiavelli's Backyard, was published in 2017. His newest collection, Bluff City, appeared this month, published by Terror House Press.

Heather M. F. Lyke is a writer living in southern Minnesota. By day, she works in the world of K-12 education. On evenings and weekends, she creates. She builds things out of nothing: sometimes with paint, occasionally with fabric, but most often with words.

D.S. Maolalai has been nominated eight times for Best of the Net and three times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019)

Marianna Marlowe lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. After devoting many years to academic writing, her focus now is creative nonfiction exploring issues of gender identity, motherhood, feminism, cultural hybridity, and more. Her short memoir has been published in Hippocampus, Motherwell, The Nasiona Magazine, The Write Launch, Sukoon, Mutha Magazine, and The Acentos Review, among others. She is at work on a memoir in vignettes titled Portrait of a Feminist.

Carole Mertz has appeared in numerous literary journals including Eclectica, League of Canadian Poets, Main Street Rag, Mom Egg Review, The Bangalore Review, The Ekphrastic Review, and World Literature Today. She is author of the poetry chapbook, Toward a Peeping Sunrise (Prolific Press) and the 2021 ekphrastic collection Color and Line (with Kelsay Books). Carole is Book Review editor at Dreamers Creative Writing. View her writer profile at Poets & Writers.

Azin Neishaboori was born and raised in Iran. In 2003, after finishing college, she moved to the US to attend Penn-State University where she received her PhD in Electrical Engineering. Her works of fiction have appeared or will soon appear in Bellevue Literary Review, Oyster River Pages, The Deadly Writers Patrol, and Potomac Review. In her writing, she aspires to challenge the prevalent narrative and hopes to share an authentic and non-politicized perspective of Iranians and other Middle Easterners with the readers.

Marlene Olin was born in Brooklyn, raised in Miami, and educated at the University of Michigan. Her work has been published previously in Eclectica as well as in journals such as Catapult, The Baltimore Review, and PANK. Marlene misses both her hairdresser and her grandchildren, but not necessarily in that order.

Robert Pfeiffer has published two full-length collections of poetry, Bend, Break (2010) and The Inexhaustible Before (2018), both from Plain View Press. Individual poems have appeared in journals internationally, including The Connecticut River Review, Indefinite Space, Iodine Poetry Journal, The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, The Flint Hills Review, Freefall Magazine, The Fourth River, and The Concho River Review. He is a professor of English at Clayton State University, and lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife, daughter, and their dog. He is on Twitter @bobpfeiffer4. About the poem in this issue, he says, "This was written soon after a loved one made an extremely difficult and important change in their life. It tries to deal with the uncertainty that remains in the wake of a necessary change that is not at all guaranteed to succeed. Sometimes we are overbearing out of affection. Sometimes worry needs to be internalized. Always, we must be the cheerleaders for those we love."

Christine Potter is a writer and poet who lives in the lower Hudson River Valley. Her poetry has appeared in Eclectica, Rattle, Rattle Poets Respond, Mobius, The Anglican Theological Review, HOOT, and has been featured on ABC Radio News. Her time-traveling young adult series, The Bean Books, is published by Evernight Teen. Christine's quarantine pivot has been to become the sound engineer for her husband's excellent choir, out of Scarborough Presbyterian Church in Briarcliff, New York.

David Raney is a writer and editor living near Atlanta with his wife, kids, and a titanic Labrador. His essays have appeared in numerous journals and on the Notables list in Best American Essays 2018 and 2019.

Claire Scott is an award-winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has appeared in the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, New Ohio Review, Enizagam, and Healing Muse among others. Claire is the author of Waiting to be Called and Until I Couldn't. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters' Journey in Photography and Poetry.

Nirushan Sivagnanasuntharam is a graduate of York University, and his fiction has so far appeared in Maple Tree Supplement and Cosmonauts Avenue. He lives in Toronto.

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.

Gregory Stephenson grew up in Colorado and Arizona but has lived for many years in Denmark. His most recent book is Fleabag Shrine: Diverse Particulars Apropos of No. 9 rue Git-le-Coeur (Heidelberg: Ober Limbo Verlag).

Jonathan Truong is a creative writing student at Orange County School of the Arts. His work appears in Eunoia Review, Polyphony Lit, and Heritage Review, and has been recognized by the National Youngarts Foundation, Poetry Society of the UK, and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. He studied fiction in the 2020 Adroit Summer Mentorship, and in the fall he will attend Columbia University.

Emma E. Vogl is a content specialist for DealerSocket, where she spends her days writing about cars and local events. She has a degree in English and was formerly the managing editor at The Wisconsin Review. She enjoys writing short stories, poetry, and longer works of fiction.

Omer Wissman is 36 years old, single asexual, and a multidisciplinary artist living on disability due to several mental disorders. He narrowly escaped high school, but not junior high. Barely graduated from university, albeit with some honors. His soul was partially saved by a birthday gift, a book of poems that opened up into a life of writing. Omer's work has been published by Sensitive Skin, Serotonin, and Overland, among others. About the piece in this issue, he says, "Entertainment, née civilized pleasure principle, is beyond good and evil, through their synthesis, from the eschatological cathexis of doomsday religion fantasy, through Breugel's orgiastic hell, to the sweet melodies of doom and gloom post-punk."