Apr/May 2002

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.

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, Poems Niederngasse, forthcoming issues of Poetalk and Wicked Alice 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.

Carolyn Steele Agosta is a former Spotlight Author whose short fiction and essays have been published in Conversely, Inscriptions, Lonzie's Fried Chicken, HotRead, Independence Boulevard, In Posse Review, BuzzWords (UK), and on-air at BBC Radio 4. "Another Weekend with Susie" was written after another weekend with 'Susie' and is, in fact, the first short story Ms. Agosta ever wrote. She is now working on her second novel and hopes to find a publisher before she has to go out and get a real job and actually work.

Kathryn T.S. Bass is this issue's Spotlight Author. She completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing in 1995. Her work has appeared in over a dozen literary magazines including Quarter After Eight, The Prose Poem, American Tanka, Poetry Motel, the Pedestal Magazine, and Red River Review. She finds joy in the smell of rosemary and in her friends, her decadent tomato garden, her dogs, and in her startlingly compatible husband, Joel. Last year, she was awarded first place in the Pierce the Heart haiku contest. In the hope of one day making a living from her poetry, Dr. Bass recently started a small business creating personalized poems to be exchanged as gifts. She says about her poem "Santa Fe": "It started out as an exercise from John Gardener's wonderful book, The Art of Fiction; his instructions were to write about a grieving person without mentioning the death of his or her loved one. I had recently visited Santa Fe for the first time, so it very naturally became a backdrop for this strange character." Regarding "Sometimes You Do Something Before It Happens," she says, "I wrote this poem because I was very interested in the phenomenon of a relationship in which one of the two partners is about to initiate a break up. I'm fascinated by this moment in which a relationship is over—maybe—for one person and still vital to the other. The speaker's ambivalence is the crux of the poem: He is teetering between the desired separation and the security and stability of the past. I've definitely been there, in that place where a word might break something forever—where you want to say it, but you can't, yet. The setting comes from a break up story of my husband's—his last girlfriend before me."

Kristy Bowen

Michelle Cameron has appeared or is forthcoming in several electronic and print publications, including Eclectica and 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’s 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, Jr. is a former medical editor turned high school teacher in Houston, Texas.

Glenn W. Cooper has previously published or has poems forthcoming in Adirondack Review, Southern Ocean Review, 3rd Muse Journal, Free Verse Journal, Wired Art From Wired Hearts and many others. He is influenced by Arthur Rimbaud, Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, Phillip Levine, and worships at the alter of Bob Dylan.

Laurel K. Dodge is an English major with a writing minor at the Stark campus of Kent State University. She has published two previous poems in Gumball Poetry and Melic Review, and won first prize in the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Competition sponsored by Kent State University last year.

Linda Falkenstein is working on a collection of short fiction.

Jennifer Finstrom lives in Chicago, IL. She is a former Eclectica Spotlight Author.

Michael Gates , a freelance business writer and editor, also writes short fiction, poetry and personal essays. His work has appeared in Eyeshot, The 13th Story, Twilight Times, 3 AM Magazine, Cenotaph, Poems Niederngasse, Melic Review, Think: A Newspaper of Literary and Visual Art and Red River Review. Gates grew up in the wilds of upstate New York, then lived in New York City for several years. He currently resides in Weird, NJ, with his wife and son.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, where she reports she is "now stuck in the non-solar-cooking season—sun too brief, too low, we're at too-high elevation and the pines are too tall. I spend my solar off-time spray-painting all the pots in my kitchen black, in preparation for 'opening day,' around May 22." She also helps her husband, a retired wildlife biologist, with his bird projects. She has poems recent or forthcoming in Blue Unicorn, Buckle &, Freshwater, The Iowa Review, Poetry International, and Reed Magazine. Her poems also appear in Cider Press Review, Descant, The Distillery, Red Wheelbarrow, The Chattahoochee Review, The Iowa Review, 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.

Joe Hackworth lives in the Missouri Ozarks with his wife and two boys. He reports just having gotten back into writing about a year ago, and has since had work appear online in Clean Sheets Magazine, PoetrySZ and Niederngasse.

Christine Hamm is a painter and poet. In her day job she's an art therapist for mentally ill adults. She received an MA in Creative Writing 13 years ago, and has had her poetry published in Poetry Midwest, Diagram, Babes in Toyland Salon, Sniffy, and 3AM Magazine, among others. She has taught creative writing workshops at SUNY-Binghamton, and has run workshops in New York City.

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 has written 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.

Ward Kelley has seen more than 1200 of his poems appear in journals worldwide. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Kelley's publication credits include such journals as: Another Chicago Magazine, Rattle, Zuzu's Petals, Ginger Hill, Eclectica, Sunstone, Spillway, Pif, Whetstone, 2River View, Melic Review, Thunder Sandwich, The Animist, Offcourse, Potpourri and Skylark. He was the recipient of the Nassau Review Poetry Award for 2001. Kelley is the author of two paperbacks: "histories of souls," a poetry collection, and "Divine Murder," a novel; he also has an epic poem, "comedy incarnate" on CD and CD ROM.

Nasrullah Khan says, "I live in a country where people are afraid of life. Their sleep has lost dreams. I want to reawaken their oppressed dreams; I want to share their woes; I want to share the suffering of their shrieking souls. Humanity is dying and I am trying to put a few drops of water on its dry tongue so that it should face death bravely. My writing is the echo of their flagging hopes and raging desires."

David King sits from time to time in a 16th-century house in Norfolk, England and taps words into a 21st-century computer. The results of this sporadic activity have been broadcast on BBC Radio and published in Southern Ocean Review, Cadenza, Peninsular, The New Writer, and World Wide Writers, where he won the $5,000 award for best short story of the year 2000. He is Fiction Editor of BuzzWords, a UK literary magazine. Regarding his story in this issue of Eclectica, he says, "One evening last summer, I and a group of fellow writers were sitting on a bank above my horse pond, drinking Italian wine. The company and the wine, especially the wine, loosened the jumble of memories and misinformation inside my head, and 'Dead Chrysanthemums' emerged."

Joshua Levy lives and works in Boston. He daydreams about living and working in such exotic locales as Montreal, Guadalajara, and Copenhagen. Maybe someday his dreams will be realized. For now he contents himself with half-written folk songs, Saturday night whiskeys, and love from his cats and Nicole.

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).

Kathleen McCall is a freelance and technical writer. Her work may be found in Skirt! Magazine, Tourist2000, The Story Garden, Buzzwords (UK) and on lab benches worldwide.

Patty Mooney is a poet living in San Diego. Her works have appeared in Stirring, Fairfield Review, Freezone Quarterly, pif Magazine, Thunder Sandwich, Pierian Springs, Eclectica and others. She is also an avid photographer, mountain biker and computer artist. Regarding the poems in this issue, she says: "'Last Flight' is based on a true story. 'Intoxication' is a remnant from a Catholic girlhood. 'Death Gets Around' is about that mysterious entity; that knowing smile is what death knows that we don't—yet."

Andrew Penland lives in Concord, NC at the moment. He turned 20 on March 17th, and currently works in an art supply warehouse. He studied for a time at the University of North Carolina and may return at some point. He says, "I enjoy creating art, writing, and music, particularily genres where they overlap."

Eric Prochaska teaches English in South Korea. His stories have appeared in such e-zines as Eclectica, Wilmington Blues, Comrades, Fictive, and The Morpo Review. About his story in this issue, he says: "'Echoes of Johnny Gosh' is a story dealing with a real event which occurred in Iowa in the 1980s. I think the most stirring part of the memory of those days was that there has been no closure, and this lack of closure has not allowed the event to be forgotten. When I originally considered writing these feelings down, I searched the Internet repeatedly for any news of Johnny Gosh. All I could find was a single posting on a site dedicated to news of lost and missing children. The posting was from someone similar to myself, I gather, and merely asked if anyone had heard anything about Johnny."

Shelly Reed studied creative writing in the Midwest in the 80's under the direction of Mark Doty and Perry Glasser. Before entering the medical profession in 1990, she managed a tanning/toning salon, sold Hallmark cards, and was an Avon Lady and a Mary Kay Consultant. "I was obviously not making enough as a poet to put corn on the table every night," she says. Most recently, she has had poems appear or be accepted for appearance in 42 Opus, Thunder Sandwich, Half Drunk Muse, The Curious Record, Whistling Shade, Fluid Ink Press, The Poets Cut, Branches Quarterly, Eclectica and Wicked Alice."

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.

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

John Sweet is 33 years old, has been writing for more than half his life, and publishing in the small press for less than half. He lives in a dying factory town in upstate New York, which he says seems to work for him, but which he doesn't recommend for everyone. He lives in a drafty, crumbling house with his wife and son and three cats who are more anti-social than himself. Of the pieces in this issue, he says, "like most of my work, they try to bring together elements of autobiography, local, national and world events, stories i've been told by others (everyone has their own grim autobiographical tales) and the geography of where i live. i like to keep everything in the "now" and it all seems to come out fairly dark. too much punk music seems to have made me bitter and fatalistic. His body of work can be seen at burningword.com, and chapbooks are available thru the websites for Via Dolorosa Press and Kitty Litter Press. He says, "in all honesty, i'm not really the biggest fan of poetry, which i think is a big factor in my poems ending up the way they do. i'm going for that non-poetic poetry thing."

Duncan White was last issue's Spotlight Author. He 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.

Ginny Wray 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.