Jan/Feb 2002

Tom Dooley teaches seventh-grade English in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In terms of economic and social status, he is essentially a bum, but he loves his wife, and that counts for something. Recently, after watching Fire Down Below, On Deadly Ground, Above the Law, and Out for Justice, he became a bonafied Steven Seagal fan.

Julie King shares a birthday with Eminem. She has a Master's in creative writing, which she teaches along with film studies at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside. Her work appears in the Iowa Press anthologies Boomer Girls and are you experienced? and she has published in Fiction International, Sundog, Puerto del Sol, Quarterly West, Gulf Coast, and others. She wrote, directed, and produced the short film Worlds, sometimes stars in B-horror movies, and is a mother to four personality-rich cats. She first appeared in the magazine back in 1996 and has been a member of the staff since 1999.

Tara M. Gilbert-Brever has appeared in Primavera, Stirring, Children, Churches, and Daddies, and in previous issues of Eclectica, where she now proudly serves as an assistant editor. She spends her days either staring out the window of the shoe store where she claims to work, wondering if the soundtrack to her life would be in "muzak," or playing board games with her husband (her favorites are "Life" and "Clue" because she likes to pretend she has both). She is also trying as hard as she can to conjure new friends so there will be more hands available to dreadlock her hair this summer.

Tom Brennan is a thirty-six year old writer living near the sea in Liverpool, UK. He reports that on a good day he can see the mountains of Wales. He says about his story in this issue, "I wrote this when I believed Montenegro to be the next Balkans flashpoint, but the story could be anywhere. I saw a photograph of an exhausted soldier guarding a column of windblown, ragged refugees, and I thought of a line from Heine's 'Atlas': 'I carry that which can't be carried.' I saw that struggle and resignation in the soldier's expression, and I tried to imagine how that would feel."

Randy Burns says, "My story began in the folk scene of New Haven. Then, like anyone with the dreams of a vagabond, I set out on the road for Greenwich Village. From one open mike night to another, I slept on the subways and park benchs, flophouses when I had the money. I went on through the folk era into folk rock/ rock. A few years later I had albums released on major labels, Mercury and Polydor Records. "Randy Burns and the Skydog Band," that was the show. I wrote the songs and sang lead. We played all the biggest clubs in the country at one time, shining reviews in Rolling Stone, LA Times, Hollywood Reporter, New York Times Sunday Arts and Leisure Section. Came to the very brink of success, then the fourteen year slide back down the pole. That slide was no ordinary slide. It was a great slide. I hit the road again as a folksinger, just after I quit the Music Business. Along with my harmony singer, I sang across Ireland twice, played Block Island every summer, and LA, Texas, Chicago, New York, DC, and so on. It was a long road and it was hard at times, but once you learned how to survive on it, the world is your oyster, your friend, your energy. That road doesn't exist anymore for anyone. Owning nothing, bag over my shoulder and a guitar in my hand, I walked, played, and lived, where legends had for so many years before me, back in a period when small eras made legends out of time."

Michelle Cameron has appeared or is forthcoming in several electronic and print publications, including the e-zines Riding the Meridian, Niederngasse, Mentress Moon, Comrades, 2River View, Samsara Quarterly, Stirring, The Paumanok Review, and The Dakota House Journal. Her print magazine and anthology credits include poetry in LIPS, Comrades Anthology 2001, Midnight Moon, Martha痴 Vineyard: A Collection, and The Paterson Literary Review. Michelle, a founding member of No Retreat, a women's poetry collective, lives in New Jersey with her husband and two sons and has a day job as Creative Director for an Internet company that she says is distinctly not a "dot-com."

Vincent Canizaro

Michael Catherwood holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas. He's published in Aethlon, Agni, Black Warrior Review, Blue Violin, Borderlands, Briar Cliff Review, CQ, Dismal River Review, Elkhorn Review, Georgetown Review, Graffiti Rag, Hawai'i Review, Kansas Quarterly, Laurel Review, Literature of Tomorrow, Mangrove, Mankato Poetry Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Midwest Quarterly, Metropolitan, Nebraska English Journal, Nebraska Review, Nebraska Territory, Pennsylvania English, Pittsburgh Quarterly, Smackwarm, and Plainsongs. where he also writes essays. He has poems forthcoming in Westview, Exit 13, and Louisiana Lit. He's worked as a truck driver, weed-wacker, garbage man, teacher, administrator, janitor, editor, and substitute teacher, and currently teaches at Creighton University. His awards include the Holt prize in Poetry, AWP Intro Award, two Lily Peter fellowships, and he was a national finalist, chosen by Donald Justice, for the Ruth Lily Prize. His manuscript entitled "Locations from the Blue Zone" was runner up at Pig Iron Press, judged by Jim Daniels. He says, "The poem came to me one Friday afternoon while looking out the window. It was very gray and I began to think about how lucky I was. I knew the sun made its daily pass, and I knew my wife would be home soon. The rest is about the luck of being able to leave the past and the faith in the present."

Alison Daniel has been widely published in her native Australia and has appeared in Eclectica before.

Stacey Fay is from Champaign, Illinois. She moved out to Seattle in 1994 and has lived there "amongst the mountains and hipsters" ever since. She holds a BA in English (creative writing) from Southern Illinois University, and lives with her husband and two cats, doing medical billing for a large group of medical clinics. Regarding her poem, she says, "I work on Beacon Hill, and during the summer I would walk everyday through the hilly neighborhoods on my lunch break. Wild blackberries grow everywhere here and I loved eating them on my walks straight from the bushes. I've found that the action of walking does something to the creativity part in my brain, and I have written several poems based on ideas I came up with while walking around Beacon Hill."

Cindy Funkhouser says, "I'm rather a drifter, having worked in nursing, medical and educational publishing, and K-12 teaching."

Jack Goodstein is a professor emeritus at California University of Pennsylvania, where he has taught English for more than thirty years. His criticism and fiction has appeared in scholarly journals such as Critique, Theatre Journal and College English and in literary magazines such as The Maine Review, The Small Pond Magazine of Literature and The Jewish Digest. He has appeared online in Eclectica, Novel Pursuit, Flashquake, Bovine Free Wyoming and Ken*again. He says, "In 1990 at age 51, I tried my hand at acting, and while I had always loved the theatre from the audience, discovered an unexpected addiction to the stage as a performer. Since then I have appeared in more than sixty plays throughout Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania容verything from Malvolio and Creon to Willie Clark and Al Lewis. I have also done film and commercial work. In May I had the featured role of Wilbur Visser, your typical "dirty old man," in the independent film production , Losing Hope. I am currently appearing as Marley's Ghost in the West Virginia Public Theatre's Christmas Carol. Jack has also written a number of works for the stage.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. She also helps her husband, a retired wildlife biologist, with his bird projects, and she's trying to become proficient at solar cooking. Her poems appear in Cider Press Review, Descant, The Distillery, Red Wheelbarrow, The Chattahoochee Review, The Iowa Review, Poetry International and elsewhere; online, she was featured in the May issue of Poetry Magazine and is a former contributor to Eclectica. Her collection, "An Hour in the Cougar's Grace," received a Pipistrelle Best of the Small Press Award, and she has a new collection called "This Morning According to Dog," a stocking-stuffer for lovers of dogs and cats.

Susannah Indigo is the editor of Slow Trains Literary Journal and also the Editor-in-Chief of Clean Sheets Magazine, a literary zine devoted to sexuality. She is the author of Oysters Among Us: Erotic Tales of Wonder, and the co-editor of the anthology From Porn to Poetry: Clean Sheets Celebrates the Erotic Mind. Her work has appeared in many anthologies, including The Best American Erotica, and she is also a contributor to Salon Magazine. "Mapping Charlotte" is excerpted from a novel in progress.

Allen Itz lives in San Antonio, Texas. He has published in a number of on-line and print journals, including Alchemy, Neiderngasse, The Melic Review, The Horsethief's Journal, The Green Tricycle, AvantGarde Times, Maelstrom, Dynamic Patterns, The ShallowEnd, The Poet's Canvas, Experimentia, Hawkwind, Nectarzine, and, most recently, Beatnik. This is his third appearance in Eclectica.

Stanley Jenkin's stories and essays have or will appear in Amelia, 32 Pages, The Blue Moon Review, CrossConnectand the Oyster Boy Review. A former Spotlight Author, Stanley now writes a regular column for the Salon. He lives and works in Queens, New York.

Amy Crane Johnson is a former Eclectica Spotlight Author who lives and works in Green Bay, Wisconsin, her native birthplace. She received her BA in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. While working in advertising, she wrote award-winning video and radio scripts. In addition to children's books, she enjoys writing poetry and short stories. She can often be found reading in bed or watching movies with her husband, children, and Walker, her darling dog.

Rebecca Lu Kiernan is the editor of the print journal GECKO. She has appeared in Ms. Magazine, Southern Ocean Review, Naked Poetry, Exquisite Corpse, Gargoyle, and others in the US and Australia, and has poetry upcoming in Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and North American Review. 2 River Press recently released her chapbook, "Sex With Trees And Other Things Equally Responsive."

Cynthia A. Kim lives, writes, works and takes long walks in the woods with her husband and their beagle in Connecticut. She has recently had stories appear in FUTURES, Cenotaph Pocket Edition, and at Conversely.com.

Don Mager has published some two hundred and fifty original poems and translations from Czech and German over the last thirty years, including two books: To Track The Wounded On (1986) and Glosses (1995).

Prasenjit Maiti is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at Burdwan University, West Bengal, India. Dr Maiti is interested in publishing his maiden poetry chapbook.

Patty Mooney is an adventuress living in San Diego, where she partners with her husband in their video production company, Crystal Pyramid Productions, and stock footage library, New & Unique Videos. She has been writing poetry since 1973. She also enjoys photography, mountain biking and world travel. Her works have appeared in pif Magazine, Stirring, Fairfield Review, Freezone Quarterly, and earlier editions of Eclectica. She says, "'Hot Pants' is a true story, while 'In a White and Yellow Kitchen' comes directly from imagination."

Chris O'Carroll is a writer, actor, and comedian. This is his second appearance in Eclectica. His poetry can also be seen at his website, www.anticdisposition.com, and in a variety of journals, including Thunder Sandwich and Mentress Moon (the soon to be published all-boy issue of that normally all-girl zine). He is the author of Take These Rhymes... Please: Rude Limericks and Other Crimes Against Literature, and the forthcoming Shakespeare's Marijuana and Other Poems the Authorities Don't Want You To Read.

Kimberly Townsend Palmer was born in Los Angeles in 1960, of Bohemian, English, French, German and Italian ancestry, and grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She received a BS in Psychology in 1982 and a JD in 1985 from the University of Florida. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband and two daughters. Her poetry and short fiction has appeared or will soon appear in The Adirondack Review, The Blue Fifth Review, Cenotaph, The Charlotte Poetry Review, CrossConnect, Earth's Daughters, Eclectica, Exquisite Corpse, Images InScript, New Laurel Review, The Panhandler, The Paumanok Review, Poetry.St Corner, Red River Review, Snake Nation Review, Snakeskin, Stark Raving Sanity, Stirring: A Literary Collection, and Xavier Review. She received an honorable mention in the North Carolina Writers' Network Thomas Wolfe Fiction Contest, judged by Barbara Kingsolver.

Sylvia Antonia Branden Perez was born 1949, La Habana, Cuba and now lives in Pennsylvania. She is the mother of four sons and one daughter, and the new abuela to two beautiful little girls. In addition to being a former Eclectica spotlight author, she has appeared in Conspire, Disquieting Muses, Recursive Angel, Third Muse, The Poet's Canvas, and Melic (forthcoming). She published poems in Spanish in a Barcelona print anthology called Juntos this past fall, and she is the editor of the Spanish edition of Niederngasse, an online and print poetry journal currently on hiatus. In the meanwhile, she is involved in a new venture with MiPo Poetry Zine called "La Rosa Blanca," a bilingual quarterly for any type of literature that has to do with the experience of being a latino or a transplanted anything in exile. She says, "'Via Dolorosa' is based on growing up as a Cuban Catholic child in exile, and thus has much autobiographical material. During Lent (Cuaresma), we were not allowed to eat anything except for fish, and during Semana Santa (Holy Week) which ended in Domingo de Pascua (Easter Sunday), in particular during Thursday through Saturday before Easter, we were not allowed to turn on even the radio. We did not celebrate Easter as such, there is no place for the Easter bunny or for hats or new dresses, but there was always a hoopla about the via crucis, which represented the various stops along the way made by Jesus prior to his crucifixion and death. Via dolorosa means painful way, and is a reference to the via crucis. Cuban Catholics are very strict with their girl children, but there are always terrible prices to pay, and in particular that of silence and guilt, even when the issue is sexual abuse of the child by an adult, or incest."

Sam Rasnake has been widely published, both in print and online, in journals such as Literal Latte, Poem, Portland Review, nycBigCityLit, and Switched-on Gutenberg. He is the author of one collection, Necessary Motions (Sow's Ear Press), and one chapbook, Religions of the Blood (Pudding House). He also edits an online poetry journal, Blue Fifth Review. The poem "Life of the Poet" is part of a just finished manuscript called "Inside a Broken Clock." The manuscript is part two of a long work-in-progress called "The Divination of Sticks."

Rohana Reading is 48 years old and lives in the North West of the Republic of Ireland. She says, "I have always indulged in 'verbal doodles' but earlier this year I decided to make a committment to learning the craft of writing properly. A few days prior to learning that my piece had been accepted by Eclectica, I heard that I had won a short-story competition. This brings the total of my published stories to two! Since then I have had a rejection slip from another magazine which brought me back to earth." Regarding her story "A Threnody," she says it was "written a few days after September 11th. It was one of those times when I could not wait to get home and get down on paper what I wanted to say. It was my attempt to deal with my response to what happened in New York and the terrible things that occur in the world all the time."

Shelly Reed studied creative writing in the midwest at Drake University. She has appeared in Whistling Shade, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Prairie Poetry, 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, Beatnik, Fluid Ink Press, Poet's Cut, Poetry.St Corner, Eclectica, The Write Gallery and Poetry Mag. Shelly publishes a monthly column for The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature under the guise of "Lil Earlene." She is from Iowa, where the tall corn grows.

Paul Sampson labors heroically as a technical writer for a mammoth corporation. He has been a professional writer and editor for many years, but he prefers to do the kind of writing you can't make a living from. Some of his recent essays and poems appear in The Alsop Review, The 2River View, the British publication World Wide Writers II, and the new anthology Best Texas Writing (Rancho Loco Press). He lives on the outskirts of a small town east of Dallas, Texas.

Tom Sheehan has been retired for ten years. In the last year he was reunited with five comrades not seen since 1951 when he was in the Korean War. He was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his novel is being serialized on 3amMagazine.com, with another in print production at a Baltimore publisher. He says, "I have an affinity for old barns and this poem is one of about 25 on the subject." A former Eclectica Spotlight Author, Tom appears or will appear in smallspiralnotebook, 3amMagazine, The Paumanok Review, slowtrains.com, Electric Acorn, Comrades.org.uk, Kota Review, Stirring, Samsara, Split Shot, Clackamas Review, and others.

Ann Skea lives in Australia. She is the author of Ted Hughes: The Poetic Quest (UNE Press, Australia).

Gary Sloan is a retired English professor in Ruston, Louisiana, and a frequent contributor to freethought media. His essays often appear in Free Inquiry, American Atheist, and The Freethinker (London). He also writes editorials for the Scripps Howard News Service.

Francis Smith lives in Massachusetts.

Anthony Stephens has lived in the upper Midwest for all of his life and is a first-time contributor. He has taught humanities and writing of various types容ssay, fiction, drama, and (his first love) poetry葉o college students for... too long. His own teachers continue to be almost any current poet, along with some of the great dead ones用articularly Emily Dickinson, e e cummings, W. C. Williams, and Gustave Flaubert. Having endured the extremes of sub-zero winters and sunny summers for so long, he admits to being a cynical romantic.

Penelope Talbert is a poet from Pennsylvania whose work has appeared in Concrete Wolf, Moonwort Review, Highland Quarterly, Curbside Review and many other magazines and journals. She was the featured poet in the July 2001 issue of Newsletter Inago. She is also the founder of Circle Publications, editor of The Circle Magazine (www.circlemagazine.com), a quarterly print and electronic literary journal; a member of the Executive Board of BerksBards, a nonprofit poetry organization based in Berks County, PA; and a member of the Lebanon Poetry Project, a not for profit poetry organization in Lebanon County, PA. She also manages the spoken word poetry band Left Sock Theory.

Tasha aka Tasha Klein aka Petra Klein is a receptionist for a retirement facility in the Chicago area. This is her second appearance in Eclectica. She has work forthcoming in The Melic Review, Artemis Journal and Kimera. Her new online portfolio can be found at tashaklein.com.

Duncan White is 23 years old and lives and works in London. He says, "About the writing, I like things to be simple and clear. The stories I write are all very short, driven the way narrative poetry is driven (Bukowski, Frank O'Hara etc)." He has work currently online at Thundersandwich.com, 3amMagazine.com and Comrade.org.uk.

Liam Wilkinson was born and grew up in Doncaster but now lives with his fiance in Scarborough, England. At 20 years of age, he is currently studying English and Art History at the University of Hull in Scarborough. He says, "'Uninvited Thoughts Intruding' is an exploration of time and the tenses. I find nothing more unnerving than the loss of control over the course of time, but at the same time find it quite thrilling. This, to me, is the essence of poetry葉o bottle a feeling of such ambiguity and create an image that can be universally realised."

Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh is a former nurse, paralegal and legal secretary. She has three grown daughters, but her firstborn was lost to adoption. She is co-founder of Origins USA (a demand for government investigation into improper adoption practices) and "Birth" Parents for Open Records Now. She is a member of Concerned United Birthmothers, the American Adoption Congress, "Birth" mothers Exploited By Adoption and Origins, Inc. (NSW Australia). In 1966, Karen was admitted to the Florence Crittenton maternity institution in Washington D.C. She completed her senior year of high school while at Crittenton, gave birth to her daughter, Michelle Renee, at George Washington Hospital in D.C. that July and returned to Crittenton with her baby for ten days. On August 1, baby Michelle was taken from her arms for what Karen was told would be forever. Thirty years later, an investigative agency located her daughter, now named Maria, in just four days. Contact was made through a friend by telephone in January 1997. Karen and Maria were reunited in-person in February 1998. Karen's adoption story Relative Strangers: A Story of Adoption Loss is scheduled for publication in 2002.

Ginny Wray states she just began writing poetry in the last three months. She has published personal essays (Hope Magazine, Fall and Spring, 2000), and currently has a humorous (she hopes) short story online at Carvezine.com ("Our Lady of Miami Beach"). She was also recently accepted as a member of the editorial board of Fictionline.com.