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 provided the artwork for this issue, in addition to serving as a co-editor. About the art, she says, "A lot of my ideas for artwork come out of nowhere, so it was a challenge to translate the words and emotions of another person into the visual. I feel like all the credit for my artwork should go to the authors of this issue, since their work was the sole inspiration for each and every piece. I hope each piece will catch the eye of the reader and then pull them into whatever version of literature the art advertises. As for my life outside this issue, I've shaken the whole thing up (like what you're not supposed to do with lava lamps). Now I spend my time drawing plastic grapes, flashlights, log cabins, and pseudo-Greek columns for my introductory Graphic Design classes. Unfortunately, my poetry is being shoved to the back of my brain, closer and closer to the rummage sale pile." Tara's literary publications (past, present, and forthcoming) include: Eclectica, Primavera, Stirring, Children, Churches, and Daddies, Poems Niederngasse, Wicked Alice, Poetalk, Blind Man's Rainbow , artisan, and Copious.
anjuna is a poetess currently living in West Africa.
Tammy Bakos is a fiction writer living in suburban New Jersey, where she and her husband Rich are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child. Her work has appeared online at Pulse and has been featured at "Short Story Theatre" at 12 Miles West, in Montclair, New Jersey. She is a member of Tunnel Vision Writer's Project and is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Shannon Bell lives in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her daughter, two friends, four horses, countless cats, seventy-something bird dogs, and a couple thousand daylilies. She is a poet and visual artist, and she hybridizes daylilies and trains bird dogs. She says she has been a "professional gypsy" most of her life, having lived in the Florida Keys, North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, California, Washington, Vermont, Arizona, Maine, and now Pennsylvania. Her most recent poetry publication was in the June 2002 edition of Stirring.
C.E. Chaffin published his first book of poems, Elementary, in 1997 with Edwin Mellen Press, available through Amazon and bookstores. He recently edited and published the anthology, The Best of Melic, available at the Melic Review website. Regarding one of the poems featured in this issue, he says, "My little poem on Dylan, of whom I am a huge fan, came to me while listening to his new album, Love and Theft (surprisingly good despite his degenerating voice)."
Annette Ferran lives in Philadelphia with her husband and assorted canine and feline companions. She works as a freelance editor and fills most of the rest of her time acting as an assistant (to her husband) home renovator.
Allen Gaborro is a business information content editor and a freelance writer based in San Francisco, California. He has written various essays on socio-political topics, as well as book reviews, for printed and online publications. Gaborro is also a board member of the Philippine American Writers Association (PAWA) based in Northern California.
Pamela Gemin Pamela Gemin is this issue's poetry Spotlight Author. She is also the editor of Are You Experienced?, a poetry anthology forthcoming from University of Iowa Press, and the co-editor of Boomer Girls: Poems by Women from the Baby Boom Generation, also from Iowa Press. Her poetry collection Vendettas, Charms, and Prayers was published by New Rivers Press. Boomer Girls, a BookSense 76 selection, was featured on NPR's All Things Considered, and Gemin's work has been performed by Garrison Keillor on The Writers Almanac. Recent honors include a D.H. Lawrence Fellowship from the University of New Mexico. She is Assistant Professor of English at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She admits to a freakish infatuation with Mexican folk art, particularly images of Our Lady of Guadalupe. "When I wrote this series of poems," she says, "I was a resident at the Ragdale Foundation, reading day and night about Mary and the female saints that inhabited my childhood imagination. Teresa of Avila is a fascinating woman. The italicized passages are from her own writing, so most of the pantoum is 'found,' and it almost feels like cheating—but then once I got into her voice and got its cadences into my head, my own passages also became hers. I liked that she was able to admit joyfully to all of her unsaintly behavior (like her addiction to romance stories), and I wanted to confront her tendency to speak about God as if he was her boyfriend—there really is no other way to describe this affection in contemporary terms. Her visionary encounter with an angel, who wounds her with a sword, has become a "nudge/wink" sexual metaphor in the secular writing about her, but it seems to have gone over her head, and the heads of the faithful as well. I hope this poem will give voice to Teresa's purest obsessions with God, and that's why I chose the obsessive, meditative pantoum form so well suited to writing about the saints."
Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, where she reports the solar cooking season is "in full swing." She 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, she has a new collection called "This Morning According to Dog," a stocking-stuffer for lovers of dogs and cats, and she has a new book out, part of the Pudding House "Greatest Hits" archiving series.
D.W. Hayward was born in Boston, Massachusetts as the United States detonated its first Hydrogen bomb. He attended Kent State University and may have been the first student to flunk out of the Experimental and Honors College, a distinction that was not entirely intentional. He never returned to college. Mr. Hayward is a partner in a Recycling Development Company. He is a highly regarded musician and has been a working guitarist for more than 30 years. He lives near a river with his wife of 22 years, his children, and two dogs: a big one and a little one.
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 fourth 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 has written a regular column for the Salon. He lives and works in Queens, New York.
Anne Kellas is an Australian poet and occasional book reviewer who has been published in a variety of Australian journals since 1990 and more recently in anthologies such as Moorilla Mosaic (Tasmania 2000). Although she left her native South Africa in 1986 during the apartheid years, she has maintained links there and appeared in the following South African anthologies: Like a House on Fire (South Africa, COSAW, 1994), and A Writer in Stone (South Africa, 1998). Since emigrating to Australia, she has lived on the island of Tasmania—home of the presumably extinct Thylacine, mysterious wild rivers and some of the world's most ancient forests. Her second book, Isolated States was released in 2001 (Cornford Press). She is a poetry editor for Famous Reporter, and with her husband, writer Giles Hugo, manages the online zine The Write Stuff. She writes web sites for a living. "From the City of Alice" was written three years before September 11, and she says, "I almost didn't include it in my second collection, Isolated States—I wrote it in a bit of a blur one night just before I fell asleep. But I am glad I included it, because the book was launched ten days after September 11, and on reading that poem a reviewer commented: 'In miniature this book takes up the kind of apocalyptic vision of Doris Lessing...'"
A. Lebowski is an artist with a small, but noteworthy, underground reputation.
Duane Locke is a Doctor of Philosophy in English Renaissance literature, Professor Emeritus of the Humanities, and was Poet in Residence at the University of Tampa for over 20 years. Has has had over 2,000 of his own poems published in over 500 print magazines such as American Poetry Review, Nation, Literary Quarterly, Black Moon, and Bitter Oleander. He is also the author of 14 print books of poems, the latest print book being Watching Wisteria. In September 1999, he became a cyber poet and started submitting on-line, and since September 1999 he has had 2,238 poems accepted by e-zines.
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).
Amanda Millay works as a copy editor and freelance writer. She lives in Atlanta with her dog, Tristan, and enjoys literature, philosophy and poetry.
Chris Murray lives in Arlington, Texas, with her family, which consists of three teenagers that she describes as "the most vocal first audience any writer could ever hope for." Chris and family have also lived in Rochester, NY and Grand Canyon, AZ. She says that the poem, "Dream after Reading Dramatic Monologues," found its way into her writing from two influences: "Eclectica's intriguing prompt to work with four arbitrary words, and some close readings of Ai's dramatic monologues, which led to some, well, dramatically populated dreams." Chris has won an Academy of American Poet's prize, gives readings locally, has published recently in the Yale Angler's Journal, teaches courses in composition, literature, and creative writing at the University of Texas at Arlington, and is also the director of UTA's Writing Center.
Ben Passikoff is a retired industrial engineer. His poems have appeared in The Quarterly Review of Literature, Poetry International, Atlanta Review, Texas Review, Literal Latte, Harvard Review, Sarah Lawrence Review, Rattle, and many others.
Christian Peet is a Bennington graduate, winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize and a semester away from a Goddard MFA, meaning he has worked as a carpenter's apprentice, sheetmetal fabricator, dishwasher/prepcook, hired hand on a goat farm, maintenance man, landscaper, and convenience store clerk. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Dazzling Mica, Spent Angel Press, and The Adirondack Review. His screenplay for the short film "Jack & Cat" was just produced by 257 Films. Christian lives in northwest Washington.
Eljay Persky grew up in New York City's Greenwich Village, attending the High School of Art and Design. By a fluke of fate, her neighbor, the playwright H.M Koutoukas, cast her as "The World's Most Perfect Teenager" in an Off Off Broadway play at La Mama E.T.C. Her film debut was as Robert Duvall's daughter in The Great Santini. Other movie and television credits can be seen on the web at Lisa Jane Persky. She is a freelance writer, photographer, and editorial collage artist for numerous publications, including the recently released book, New York Rocker: My Life In The Blank Generation with Blondie, Iggy Pop and Others, 1975-1981 which also tells some of her story. Collage and photo credits include: The L.A.Times, L.A. Weekly, L.A. Style, Q, and MOJO (London), and corporate annual reports such as New Line Cinema's. In addition, she is a recipient of a Print Magazine Award for design excellence. Her writing and photography was first published in The New York Rocker, of which she was a founding member, and her first short story was featured in BOMB magazine. Lisa's recently published chapbook, "From The Ground Down" is available from firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a member of The Los Angeles Poets and Writers Collective and is currently working on her first novel, A New York Story. About "Give Me A Light, God " she says, "The story is somewhat autobiographical. My mother always thought it was a great idea to go out and randomly meet new people but that one should never talk to strangers. I live somewhere between the trust of Dr. Seuss' (cq) 'Horton Hears A Who' and the dark paranoia of James Whitcomb Riley's 'Little Orphant Annie,' (cq) with its warning that '...the Gobble-uns 'at gits you ef you Don't Watch Out!'" (cq)
Tania Rochelle has appeared in several print and online journals, including Iris, New York Quarterly, Snake Nation Review, Blue Moon Review, The Drunken Boat, and Three Candles, and in the anthologies We Used to be Wives and Split Verse. She teaches writing at Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and lives in the Land O' the Strip Mall with her husband and four kids. She says, "When I was 32 and the divorced mother of 3, I went back to school. Despite my vow to boycott men forever, I met my current husband when I was about halfway through the program. He was 27. I think he had a much easier time introducing/explaining me when he could add, "She's in grad school." Once I finished, though (no one crowns you 'Poet'), I was simply a 30-something mom to his 20-something architect. I wrote 'Three Weeks After I Finish My MFA...' in response to his actual question. It was more a tirade than a poem. He's trained now."
Paul Sampson has been a professional writer and editor for many years. Until recently, he worked for a mammoth corporation. Now he has been downsized, although he remains the same height and weight as formerly. Some of his essays and poems have been published in Image, The Alsop Review, The 2River View, Illya's Honey, The Sulphur River Literary Review, the British publication World Wide Writers II, and the anthology Best Texas Writing (Rancho Loco Press). He lives on the outskirts of a small town east of Dallas, Texas.
Laura Ellen Scott is this issue's fiction Spotlight Author. She has been published online in Hayden's Ferry Review and Ploughshares. She lives with poet Dean Taciuch in Fairfax Virginia, where they oversee the moral education of two cats and a beagle. Regarding her story in this issue of Eclectica, she says, "On the day that I wrote the new ending for this story, 72 year old Buzz Aldrin decked a guy for asking him to swear on a bible that the moon landings were real. A lot of people, including myself, thought that was kind of cool for a minute before we remembered that we were, in general, against that sort of thing. Like all of my strongest stories, 'Adult Education' was conceived as a response to someone who irritated me. Writing fiction is the only thing that keeps me from smacking people in the head all the time."
Steve Silkin has worked as a ticket-taker at a porno theater in Los Angeles, a night manager of a cheap hotel in London and an English teacher in Paris. He studied French literature and politics at La Sorbonne, then began a career in journalism at the International Herald Tribune and has worked as reporter and editor in California since returning from Europe in 1986. Silkin is seeking a publisher for his first novel, Matt & Mariko, while completing his second, The Cemetery Vote. Another of Silkin’s stories, "Illium," can be read online at Kimera: A Journal of Fine Writing.
Ann Skea lives in Australia. She is the author of Ted Hughes: The Poetic Quest (UNE Press, Australia).
Alex Stolis has been a janitor, a counselor, a waiter, a bartender, a housekeeper, a salesman, a cook, a criminal, a has-been and a never-was. He loves his wife, his dog, his kids, The Replacements, The Pixies, Smarties and Paris. Some previous publications include Chiron Review, Thin Coyote, Poetry Motel, Black Bear Review, The German Niederngasse, Illya's Honey, Unwound, Nerve Cowboy, Lynx Eye and Staplegun, and Stirring. A chapbook "Obsidian Butterflies" is due out in the fall.
Rob Walsh likes writing inappropriate material and speaking of himself in the third person. He recently completed his first book, Catholescence, a humorous memoir of growing up in a large Irish Catholic family, and is currently working on another book, a collection of his short stories, and a screenplay. He fends off repeated requests from his mother-in-law for grandchildren by pointing at his dogs and saying, "There they are."
James R. Whitley has had his poetry nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been published in dozens of journals including Coal City Review, HEArt, Paumanok Review, Peregrine, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Xavier Review. His poetry book Immersion (Lotus Press, 2002) was selected by Lucille Clifton as the winner of the 2001 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. Currently, he lives in Boston.