Apr/May 2024

Tom Dooley co-founded Eclectica in 1996 and serves as its Managing and Fiction 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.

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.

Marko Fong is Eclectica's Nonfiction Coeditor. A former Spotlight Author, he lives in North Carolina with his wife, dog, and two cats. He's written fiction and non-fiction for many years, and publications include Solstice, Prick of the Spindle, RKVRY, and Volleyball Magazine.

Ankush Banerjee is a former Spotlight Runner-Up. He is a poet, Culture Studies PhD research scholar, and serving Naval Officer stationed at New Delhi, as well as the author of An Essence of Eternity (2016). He has been recipient of the 2019 All India Poetry Prize, as well as the United Services Institution of India Gold Medals in 2013, 2017, and 2022, for his essays on Military Ethics and Leadership. His poetry, reviews, and essays appear in Eclectica, Cha, The Bombay Literary Magazine, The Tupelo Quarterly, Kitaab, and The Indian Express, among others. His work has also appeared in the anthologies Yearbook of Indian Poetry 2020 and 2021, Best of Asian Poetry 2021, and Converse: Contemporary English Poetry by Indians.

Oreste Belletto lives in San Francisco and has a master's in poetry from UC Davis, with poems published in Byline Magazine, Exquisite Corpse, Lullwater Review, and The Lilliput Review and online by The Greenbelt Review and nycbigcitylit.com.

A.J. Bermudez is an award-winning writer and filmmaker who serves as editor of The Maine Review and Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Miami. Her work has been featured at the Yale Center for British Art, Sundance, SXSW, the LGBTQ+ Toronto Film Festival, and in a number of literary publications, including The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney's, Story, Electric Lit, Chicago Quarterly Review, Boulevard, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She is a former boxer and EMT, a 2023 Lambda Award Finalist, and 2023-2024 Steinbeck Fellow, and a winner of the Pushcart Prize, the Diverse Voices Award, the Page Award, the Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize, and the Iowa Short Fiction Award.

Elizabeth Boquet was born and raised as one of nine in New Hampshire. She left for a year abroad in Paris with Middlebury College (MA 1989) and likes to say she's still on it. Poetry in English has been her linguistic refuge throughout extended stays in France, China, and Switzerland, where she's always either studied or taught. Over 30 of her poems have been published in various literary journals and anthologies. Naomi Shihab Nye granted her a Geneva Writers' Literary Prize in 2017, and her poetry has been featured on Billy Collins' Poetry Broadcast twice. She is the author of Galoshes (2020) and lives in Switzerland with her husband, a watchmaker, near their two grown children. Regarding "Blessing the Grass in Muddy March," she says, "I live in Switzerland where my yard last March (when I wrote the piece) looked nothing like what you might find on those postcards of the country—no snowy peaks or flowering alpine meadows. Just a mass of mashed muddy hopeless looking grass."

Joyce Brinkman was Indiana Poet Laureate from 2002-2008. She believes in poetry as public art and creates public poetry projects involving her poetry and the poetry of others. Collaborations with visual artists using her poetry for permanent installations include her words in a 25-foot stained glass window by British glass artist Martin Donlin at the Indianapolis International Airport, in lighted glass by Arlon Bayliss at the Indianapolis-Marion County Central Library, and on a wall with local El Salvadoran artists in the town square of Quezaltepeque, El Salvador. Non-collaborative public literary art includes her poem First Impression at Circle Center Mall in Indianapolis and a collaborative piece, Quilting Words at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center in Zionsville. An Individual Advancement Program Grant in 2019 helped her work on combining her poetry with personally created visual art culminating with an Exhibition in the Indianapolis Artsgarden. Joyce organized the collaborative poems for the Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Book Mapping the Muse. One of those poems, "Following the Rivers' Flow," traveled to the Moon on a NASA flight in March of 2024 as part of the Lunar Codex. She is the producer of Off the Bricks, a poetry podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and other popular podcast platforms. It was recently named #10 in a list of the 90 best poetry podcasts in the world.

Clay Cantrell is this issue's Spotlight Runner-Up. He holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Memphis, and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Sycamore Review, The Tampa Review, swamp pink, The Journal, and elsewhere.

AJ Francia lives in New York, where he's sampled all of the pizza shops within a three mile radius of his apartment. When he's not thinking about his next meal, he spends most of his free time writing fiction for an in-progress short story collection.

David Guaspari was trained as a pure mathematician and considers himself to be, of all post-19th century mathematical logicians, the funniest. In addition to technical papers, he has published short fiction, essays, humor, and reviews, and has had plays performed in states totaling 331 electoral votes as well as five foreign countries. A member of the Dramatists Guild, he lives in Ithaca, New York.

Jeff Hartnett grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and now lives in rainy Portland. He is a retired professor of architecture whose job was to introduce students to the studio culture of the discipline. He tries every day to be a good father and to see and appreciate both the world of reality and of possibility. He's thinking seriously of moving to Japan because the people there are very nice. Jeff hopes those reading his work will contact him with their thoughts and reactions

Rachel Hinton has previously appeared in The Boiler, Cimarron Review, The Denver Quarterly, The Hunger, Salamander, and other journals. Her debut poetry collection, Hospice Plastics, won the Cowles Poetry Prize and was published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in October, 2021. National Book Award Winner Mary Szybist called Hospice Plastics "that rare collection that I've not been able to stop re-reading."

Bruce Holbert is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he held a Teaching Writing Fellowship. His work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Hotel America, The Antioch Review, Crab Creek Review, Other Voices, The Contemporary West, Quarterly West, The Common Reader, Story Quarterly, and the New York Times. His first novel, Lonesome Animals, was a top ten pick in 2012 for The Seattle Times; his second, The Hour of Lead, published in 2014 won the 2015 Washington State Book Award and was named by Kirkus as a top 100 pick for 2014. His third novel, Whiskey, was published in March 2018 with FSG.

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.

Said Ibrahim is this issue's Spotlight Runner-Up for Nonfiction. He is a high school graduate and a refugee living in Kenya.

Meghan Kemp-Gee is the author of The Animal in the Room (Coach House Books, 2023), as well as three poetry chapbooks: What I Meant to Ask, Things to Buy in New Brunswick, and More. She also co-created the webcomic Contested Strip, recently adapted into a graphic novel, One More Year.

Melissa Matury is 50, which means she's at least halfway dead. The other half writes wicked stories, runs long distances, and respects the Oxford comma.

Sohana Manzoor is a Bangladeshi writer and academic, and the editor of Our Many Longings: Contemporary Short Fiction from Bangladesh. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies in South and Southeast Asia, and she received a special mention in the Best Asian Short Stories 2020. She holds a PhD in English from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and teaches English and creative writing at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh.

Adam Mieczyñski grew up in Poland where he studied English Literature and Translation Studies. Since then, he's lived in sunny Barcelona and not so sunny Glasgow, to finally settle in temperate London where he works as a translator by day and writer by night. His publications include Tierra Templada, a book of poetry published by Ouroboros Independent Books, as well as stories placed in the Fabula Press Anthology and Eclectica Magazine. Regarding "Irregular," he says, "This story was inspired by the life of my grandmother Czeslawa Mieczyñska. Although much of it is pure fiction, just like her fictional alter-ego, Czeslawa was a great scholar and a wonderful woman who bequeathed upon me a passion for literature and taught me English, which proved a saving grace to my F-ridden school reports, and in my adult years gave me access to a higher education, a vocation and a world of strange lands and strange people I could only dream of as a kid growing up among the grey, sheltered ruins of post-Communist Poland. It is my firm belief that without that woman's help, I wouldn't have amounted to anything in life nor written, much less published, a single story, which is why I dedicate this work to her memory."

Lauren Mirzakhalili is a clinical social worker living in Maryland. She was recently published in The Light Ekphrastic. She is an MFA student in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore.

Paul Ongtooguk graduated from high school in Nome, Alaska, in 1975. An enrolled tribal member, he retired as the former Director of Alaska Native Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He says, "Tom Dooley was my student. He has done well and shows promise."

Robert Pfeiffer received his MFA and PhD in Creative Writing from Georgia State University. He has published three poetry collections, Bend, Break; The Inexhaustible Before; and most recently, Love’s Wishbone with Plain View Press out of Austin, Texas. He also just published his first novel, The Dark Unseen. Individual poems have appeared in journals internationally such as The North Dakota Quarterly, 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 spent 12 years as a Professor of English at Clayton State University, where he taught Composition, Argumentation, Literature Surveys, and Creative Writing. He recently moved with his family from Atlanta to the Seattle area, where he continues to teach and publish.

Bryan D. Price is the author of A Plea for Secular Gods: Elegies (What Books, 2023). His stories and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Santa Monica Review, Diagram, American Chordata, Boulevard, JMWW, Rhino Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in San Diego, California.

Jessy Randall has appeared in Asimov's, Nature, and Scientific American. Her most recent book is Mathematics for Ladies: Poems on Women in Science (MIT, 2022). She is a librarian at Colorado College.

Diane Raptosh was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award in poetry for her collection American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press). The recipient of three fellowships in literature from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, she served as the Boise Poet Laureate (2013) as well as the Idaho Writer-in-Residence (2013-2016). In 2018 she won the Idaho Governor's Arts Award in Excellence. She teaches literature and creative writing and co-directs the program in Criminal Justice/Prison Studies at the College of Idaho. Her ninth book of poems, I Eric America, will be published in fall 2024 (Etruscan Press).

Eric Rasmussen is a western Wisconsin English teacher and writer serving as fiction editor for Sundog Lit, as well as editor of the upper Midwest literary journal Barstow & Grand. He has published short fiction in Third Coast (2022 Fiction Contest finalist), North American Review (2022 Kurt Vonnegut Prize runner-up), Blue Mesa Review (2022 Fiction Contest winner), Fugue, and The Penn Review, among others. Regarding "Dance Floor Rapture," he says, "Back in my Catholic school days, the biblical story of the wedding at Cana always struck me as odd. As his first public miracle, a deity-become-human conjured alcohol to keep a party bumping? That's my kind of divine power."

Yura Riphyak wrote his first book at the age of five. Okay, technically, he dictated it to his grandpa. Seventeen years later, he graduated from the Medical University in Lviv, Ukraine, with a degree in pharmacy. After another eleven years, he relocated to the Bay Area in California, where he resides with his wife and two children. He quit smoking shortly after the move. During all that time, he wrote sporadically but became serious about it two years ago. His debut story, "All Men Are Created Equal," was recently published in Black Sheep Magazine.

Kris Saknussemm provided the photographic art for this issue, as he has for a previous one. A prolific artist across many mediums, he is the author of the novels Zanesville, Private Midnight, Enigmatic Pilot, Reverend America, and Eat Jellied Eels and Think Distant Thoughts, as well as a short story collection Sinister Miniatures, a memoir Sea Monkeys, a play The Humble Assessment, and a portfolio book of paintings The Colors of Compulsion. Check out his Lost Xplorers podcast or look for him on YouTube.

Linda Saldaña is a former journalist and escaped technical writer now finding truth in fiction around and about the San Francisco Bay Area. Her stories and plays have appeared in MacQueen's Quinterly, Flash Boulevard, Every Day Fiction, Ocotillo Review, and other print and online journals, and she serves as a submissions editor for Wordrunner eChapbooks.

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.

D.M. Spatchek grew up in rural Wisconsin. He has taught high school English in South Korea for the past ten years. His work is forthcoming in The Ocotillo Review, Great Lakes Review, Mobius Blvd., and Seems.

Alyssa Troy is an English teacher in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She received her BA from Rider University and has an MEd from both Cabrini and Eastern University. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Blue Unicorn, Cool Beans Lit, In Parentheses, 300 Days of Sun, The Road Not Taken, as well as other journals and magazines. She is the author of Transfiguration (2020).

Mark Williams is this issue's Spotlight Author. He has appeared in Eclectica, The Baffler, Cleaver, BULL, and other journals. His stories are forthcoming in Gargoyle, The Main Street Rag, Valparaiso Fiction Review, and a Running Wild Press anthology. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Rattle, Nimrod, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere. His collection of poems, Carrying On, was published in 2022. He lives in Evansville, Indiana, where he and his wife, DeeGee, bought a bed that inspired Stuckey.