Jul/Aug 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.

Joshua James Amberson is a writer and teacher out of Portland, Oregon. He's served as a regular contributor to Propeller, Hobart, and The Portland Mercury, and his work has appeared in The Rumpus, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Tin House, among others. He's the author of the essay collection Everyday Mythologies. The story in this issue will appear in Slow Motion Heroics: Selected Shorts, 2011-2021, due out on Two Plum Press in fall, 2021.

Haresh Bhojwani is this issue's Spotlight Author Runner-up for poetry. He was born in Karachi. His family left Pakistan in exile and settled in the Canary Islands, where they ran a small perfume shop frequented by immigrants, refugees, tourists, and sailors. He studied in Wisconsin and became a human rights lawyer focused on immigration, indigenous rights, conflict, and economic development. He served as Deputy Director for the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University. He now lives between Cusco, Peru, where he is a distiller of rare Andean sprits, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he enjoys the company of his father, sisters, and old friends.

Andrea Bianchi is this issue's Spotlight Author. She lives in Chicago, and her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Witness, Epiphany, The Rumpus, The Smart Set, The Boiler, Eastern Iowa Review, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and elsewhere.

Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His chapbook, All the Songs Sung (Angel Flight Press), and his fourth poetry collection, The Broad Grin of Eternity (WordTech Editions) arrived in 2021. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net Anthology and three times for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Chiron Review, The Paterson Literary Review, The Sunlight Press, Sparks of Calliope, and elsewhere.

Peter Bridges is a former Spotlight Author whose great-grandfather emigrated from County Donegal. Several years ago he led a trek across County Kerry, whence St. Brendan sailed for America. Bridges holds degrees from Dartmouth College and Columbia University, and spent three decades as a career Foreign Service officer, ending as American ambassador to Somalia. Kent State University Press published his diplomatic memoir, Safirka: An American Envoy, and the biographies of two once-famous Americans, John Moncure Daniel and Donn Piatt. He has self-published a second memoir, Woods Waters Peaks: A Diplomat Outdoors. His shorter work has appeared in Eclectica and many other journals.

Karen Carter is a career educator who teaches high school English in Tyrrell County Schools, Columbia, North Carolina, a place of rural-remote beauty near the Outer Banks. She holds the distinction of being the first female to earn a PhD in religion at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Her poems have appeared in The Broadkill Review, Miller's Pond, Wild Roof Journal, The Write Launch, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, and The Avalon Literary Review.

Christie Cochrell has lived most of her life in northern California and traveled far and wide, but she was once New Mexico Young Poet of the Year, and Santa Fe remains her spiritual home. She worked with ship cargoes and academic books, participated in some archaeology in the Italian Alps and near Hadrian's Wall, and has recently settled by the Pacific Ocean—too often lured away from her writing by pelicans, otters, and seaside walks. Her poetry, creative nonfiction, and short fiction has been published in an array of journals and won several awards. Her book of collected poems, Contagious Magic, was published last year. She says, "Quotes about the theft of La Conquistadora (an absolutely true event, during March and April my senior spring of high school, turning out to involve one of my classmates) comes from an excellent article by Richard Melzer, 'Kidnapping La Conquistadora, 1973.'"

Amelia Díaz Ettinger is a "Mexi-Rican," born in México but raised in Puerto Rico. As a BIPOC poet and writer, she has two full-length poetry books published: Learning to Love a Western Sky by Airlie Press; a bilingual poetry book, Speaking at a Time /Hablando a la Vez by Redbat Press; and a poetry chapbook, Fossils in a Red Flag by Finishing Line Press, in 2021. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in literary journals and anthologies. She is working on an MFA in creative writing at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande Oregon. On "House Wren," she says, "This is the poem I wrote just for Eclectica's word challenge. Presently, I have challenged myself to write a 'bird' poem a day. So this new challenge fitted quite well into my goals. Writing with a theme in mind has been stretching my writing muscle, but what I have found is that this practice has stimulated my unconscious in ways I didn't fathom."

Adele Evershed is an early years educator and writer. She was born in Wales and has lived in Hong Kong and Singapore before settling in Connecticut. Her prose has been published in Every Day Fiction, Free Flash Fiction, Ab Terra Flash Fiction Magazine, and Grey Sparrow Journal. You can find her poetry in High Shelf, bee house Journal, Sad Girls Club, and Green Ink Poetry.

Susan Hatters Friedman is a psychiatrist specializing in forensic psychiatry and maternal mental health. She is pursuing a Master's in Crime Fiction at the University of Cambridge, and has studied satire writing with the Second City. Her recent creative writing can be read in (or is forthcoming in) Hobart, JMWW, and Drunk Monkeys.

Erica Goss served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, California, from 2013-2016. Recent and upcoming publications include Creative Nonfiction, North Dakota Quarterly, Spillway, A-Minor, Redactions, Consequence, Slant, The Sunlight Press, The Pedestal, San Pedro River Review, and Critical Read. She is the founder of Girls' Voices Matter, an arts education program for teen girls.

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.

Judy Kaber is the Poet Laureate of Belfast, Maine, as well as the author of three chapbooks: Renaming the Seasons, In Sleep We Are All the Same, and A Pandemic Alphabet. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications such as Atlanta Review, december, Crab Orchard Review, Hunger Mountain, and Spillway. She has won the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, the Larry Kramer Memorial Chapbook Contest, and second place in the 2016 Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest.

Max Keisler is a graduate student in archaeology at Tel Aviv University, focusing on colonial encounters in the ancient eastern Mediterranean. He is completing the final revisions of his first novel.

Alex Kudera drafted his award-winning adjunct novel, Fight for Your Long Day (Atticus Books) in a walk-in closet during a summer in Seoul, South Korea. In 2016, he published Auggie's Revenge with Beating Windward Press as well as a Classroom Edition of Fight for Your Long Day with Hard Ball Press. The e-singles "Frade Killed Ellen" (Dutch Kills Press), "Turquoise Truck" (Mendicant Bookworks), and "The Betrayal of Times of Peace and Prosperity" (Gone Dog Press) are available most anywhere books are downloaded. His published short stories include "Awash in Barach and Bolano" (The Agonist), "My Father's Great Recession" (Heavy Feather Review), and "Over Fifty Billion Kafkas Served" (Eclectica Magazine). Although he has primarily served as a writing and literature instructor, Kudera has been acquainted with the car lot.

Sydney Lea is a former Vermont Poet Laureate who has most recently published Seen from All Sides: Lyric and Everyday Life, essays. The mock-epic graphic poem, The Exquisite Triumph of Wormboy (2020), was produced in collaboration with former Vermont Cartoonist Laureate James Kochalka. His 13th collection of poems, Here (Four Way Books, NYC), appeared in late 2019.

Julius Lobo is a teacher and writer who lives in the southern Connecticut area. His work has been published and is forthcoming in Zone 3, Book Riot, and Rue Scribe.

Pete Mackey has been published in such places as Connotation Press, Cumberland River Review, Bangalore Review, Cathexis Northwest Press, New Verse News, Innisfree, The Dewdrop, The Drabble and Global Poemic; and has been a finalist in poetry contests by Panoplyzine, Sweet, Third Wednesday, and others. He founded and runs a communications company that serves colleges, universities, and other non-profits across the US. On "Magnolia," he says, "The imagined scene in this poem was influenced by a spectacular magnolia that grew outside of my home in Pennsylvania back when my father was fighting numerous illnesses in the last year of his life and the illuminations that could arise as we sometimes struggled to communicate."

Anthony Mohr is a 2021 Fellow at the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard. His work has appeared in, among other places, Brevity's blog, DIAGRAM, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Hippocampus Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Superstition Review, ZYZZYVA, and several anthologies. He has been nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize, received honorable mention in Sequestrum's 2016 Editor's Reprint Award, and was a finalist in Living Springs Publishers' 2019 Stories Through the Ages contest. He is an associate editor of Evening Street Review. For the past 27 years, he served as a judge on the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles. This is his second appearance in Eclectica Magazine.

Martha Peterson writes from the prickly but beautiful Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona. Her work has appeared in Witness, Silk Road Review, Prime Number Magazine, and others. Her essays have been nominated for multiple awards and have been listed in the Best American Essays Notable Essays. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Disparates: Essays was published in April 2020 by University of Nebraska Press.

Rituparna Sahoo is a proud mad poet from Bhubaneswar, India. She is a post graduate student at University of Hyderabad. Writing offers her a productive outlet to manipulate her interior experiences into creating something intelligible—something of value that embodies a part of who she is.

Corinna Schulenburg (she/her) is an artist and activist committed to ensemble practice and social justice. She's a white queer transgender woman, a mother, a playwright, a poet, a founding Creative Partner of Flux Theatre Ensemble, and the director of communications at Theatre Communications Group. As a playwright, actor, director, and community builder, Corinna has worked on over 40 plays in New York City and across the country. She has poems published in upcoming editions of Oroboro and LUPERCALIA Press. On "The Trans Girl in the Tree House," she says, "The poem is inspired by an actual treehouse that hangs from a circle of redwoods near Half Moon Bay in California. I stayed there while visiting family and was transported by the feeling of rocking in the wind, which was not so different than a boat on water. It's a liminal space, a space for transformation, and the prompts from Eclectica's Word Poem Challenge were the perfect catalyst for the poem that had been building up inside me.

Jessica Scirocco is a writer, painter, and designer whose work is playful, lush and intricate. She can find a story in simple acts like cleaning dishes, going for a walk in the forest and picking flowers. She believes finding beauty in peculiar things is where everyday magic can occur. She has been published in Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Plants & Poetry Journal, Ariel Publishing LLC, and Eclectica Magazine.

Zach Semel is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Northern Arizona University. He is an avid Celtics fan, a wannabe psychoanalyst, and a lover of all things garlicky. Some of his previous work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, CutBank, The Nervous Breakdown, Wordgathering, Breath & Shadow, and other places. His chapbook Let the tides take my body was awarded the May Day Mountain Prize by Hunger Mountain.

Evan Silver is a hybrid writer, director, and composer staging encounters across theatre, music, video, and the literary arts. Raised in the vibrant city of Chicago by a banjo-playing printmaker and an architect, Evan is fascinated by birds, gods, strangers, myths, and the living universe. Evan graduated from Brown University with a BA in literary arts, and holds master's degrees in theatre and classical reception from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and King's College, Cambridge. Evan has written and directed 13 original theatre productions on three continents, and has had essays published in Eclectica, Artists Book House, and The Mays. Evan is a Luce, Marshall, and Fulbright Scholar.

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.

Margaret Speer is a PhD candidate in English at the University of California, Irvine, where she largely thinks about transitioning as a dissertation procrastination tactic.

Corrie Thompson is a writer, editor, and photographer from the greater Chicago area. Her writing appears in Good Life Literary Journal, Haiku Journal, Flash Fiction magazine, and Aboite Independent, and her photographs appear in Clubhouse Magazine, Clubhouse, Jr., magazine, and Parnassus.

Gina Troisi is this issue's Spotlight Author Runner-up for fiction. She is the author of the memoir, The Angle of Flickering Light (Vine Leaves Press, 2021). Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Fourth Genre, The Gettysburg Review, Fugue, Under the Sun, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, and elsewhere. Her stories and essays have been recognized as finalists in several national contests, including the 2020 Iron Horse Literary Review Trifecta Award in Fiction, the 2018 New Letters Publication Award in Fiction, American Literary Review's Creative Nonfiction Contest, 2018, and others. She has taught classes and workshops in both traditional and nontraditional settings, including writing workshops for female adult survivors of sexual assault. She lives in coastal Maine.

Steve Vermillion is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He has had many works of short fiction published in both online and print magazines as well as Eclectica Magazine itself. He has also been nominated for a "Best of the Net" award.

Melody Wang resides in sunny Southern California with her dear husband. In her free time, she dabbles in piano composition and also enjoys hiking, baking, and playing with her dogs. She tweets @MelodyOfMusings and is either eating or craving pizza.

Guinotte Wise writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection Night Train, Cold Beer won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. Six more books since. A five-time Pushcart nominee, his fiction, essays and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals, including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Southern Humanities Review, Rattle, and The American Journal of Poetry. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it (until shelter in place order).

Ed Werstein is a Regional VP of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. His fourth book of poetry, Communique: Poems From the Headlines, is available from Water's Edge Press.

Vivian Zenari lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where she teaches at Athabasca University in the Centre for Humanities. Her story "Royal Visit," published in The Prairie Journal, won the Silver Award for Fiction at the 2015 Alberta Magazine Publishers Association Showcase Awards. She was awarded an Edmonton Arts Council grant to work on a collection of poetry about Alberta's natural regions. Her novel Beth and Ralph's Children will be published in 2022 by Inanna Publications.