Jan/Feb 2004

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 a BA in English from UW-Parkside, which isn't quite "panning out," at least where finding a "real" job is concerned. Her fun job is to work as assistant poetry editor for Eclectica. When not searching for that real job, she likes to monkey around on her computer, writing poems or creating photoart. She also loves to take her cat (Ponyboy) outside and watch him roll all over the patio. Tara's work has appeared in or is forthcoming in the following publications: Muse Apprentice Guild, Riven, Small Spiral Notebook, Poems Niederngasse, Wicked Alice, Eclectica, Stirring, Blind Man's Rainbow, Poetalk, and Primavera.

Kevin McGowin has enjoyed reading, writing and editing reviews for Eclectica for the second issue now, and the results, he hopes, continue to be better and better. In addition to these duties, McGowin teaches English and Humanities, hosts a popular web site of his own, and is writing and publishing his 4th novel, Flies in the Buttermilk, a Social Satire, online in installments at frontierpublishing.netóDickensian Style. Kevin formerly worked for many years as Contributing Editor for San Francisco's Oyster Boy Review and published three acclaimed novels on their parent site, Levee67.com, to which he will be always grateful. A graduate of both Auburn University and the University of Florida, where he also did his doctoral work on William Blake, Christian Mysticism and Children's Literature, McGowin has published numerous stories, essays, articles, reviews and poems; his and Kimberly Martin's production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya was staged at the University of New Orleans in 2002, and his upcoming full-length collection of poetry, The Weather, is his first in over a decade. Its title poem and dedication are to Angela R. Rineck, McGowin's companion and soul mate, who he loves with all his heart and soul, and if that sounds mushy, be sure to send him YOUR next book for a review in these pages.

Liliana Alba is an Argentinian-born New Zealand citizen living and working in Hong Kong. She holds a Bachelor in Labour Relations from the University of Buenos Aires and a Master's degree in Labour Relations from The University of Auckland (NZ), and she is currently a graduate student at The University of London External Programme, seeking to obtain an LLB degree. She says of her piece in this issue, "I chose to answer Darby Larson's article for two reasons: firstly his creativity and wit inspired me to reply and secondly, I thought that while he was making an excellent point showing the relativity of social mores he was being guilty of the same fault he was criticising, namely seeing things from a unilateral perspective."

Brad Bostian is a former Spotlight Author. He is an English instructor at Central Piedmont Community College, contributing editor to www.Forpoetry.com, and editor of Listen, Listen!, an annual publication of CPCC Press that features student and professional poetry and other creative writing, and for which Ron Rash will be the 2004 guest poet.

Kristy Bowen

Blake Butler has appeared in places such as Eyeshot, Haypenny, and Word Riot. His work can be found archived at his website. He currently edits Lamination Colony and will begin graduate study at Bennington in 2004.

Judy Goodwin is a poet living in Squamish, BC, Canada. She shares her life with a young girl and a dog, and works as a web designer, editor, and illustrator. Judy has had three published books, none of them containing poetry. Her poems have been published previously in Eclectica (July/August 2003) and she was feature poet on the Poetry Super Highway (January 2003).

C.E. Chaffin is a regular contributor to Eclectica and the editor of The Melic Review. He 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 website.

J.P. Dancing Bear has been published or is forthcoming in Verse Daily, Atlanta Review, Seattle Review, Poetry International, Midwest Quarterly, Evansville Review and many others. He is the host of "Out of Our Minds," a weekly poetry program on public radio station KKUP, and the Editor-in-Chief of The DMQ Review. In 2004, Turning Point Press will release his full-length collection, Billy Last Crow.

Joseph F. Delgado lives in Columbia, South Carolina. He reviews books for Críticas and writes fiction in English and Spanish. His English novels include Mr. Doppler Is Survived by Those Who Loved Him and Tropical Snow. His latest novel in Spanish is Lamentos Borincanos. His days as a college professor provided the inspiration for "Chameleons."

Kavita Dorai is a physicist whose research focuses on nuclear magnetic resonance techniques and quantum computing. Her writing interests are diverse and include fiction, science communication, cinema studies, and issues of sustainable development.

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

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.

John Hall writes plays, short story and poetry. He was a member of the South Manchester Poetry Group during the 70s and was a regular reader at The Why Not pub in Liverpool during the 80s. He attended Lancaster University and read Social History during the 90s. His poetic influences include William Blake and Robert Creeley. He is now writing a Science Fiction novel called The Drowning Fish in between editing his new reportage style arts/poetry magazine Citizen32 (themed 'War & Peace') due out in October 2004. Published recently in Fire (January 2004, Issues 21 & 22), Coffee House Poetry (2004, Issues 2, 3 & 4), Left Curve (Issue 28-Poetry Editor Jack Hirschman), The Peoples Poet Anthology (2004 & 05), The Ugly Tree (Issues 2, 3 & 4), Harlequin (Issue 8), Sacramento Free Press (2003), Current Accounts (2003, Issue 17), The Journal (2003, Issue 8), Running Water (2003), Fabric (2003, Issue 6), Outlaw (2003-4), and Orbis (2004). Regarding the Poem "Humphrey": "Humphrey Bogart represents America to me, an actor sometimes playing violent, emotional characters. Sometimes the same actor plays romantic, comic figures. A dramatic figure unable to show his true feelings, but when he does it bursts out in forceful shows of passion and violence. Soft and hard. The name 'Humphrey' sounds soft and ineffectual. Whereas the surname 'Bogart' or 'Bogie' sounds like a gangsters nickname. The last line of the poem encapsulates this theme. America dropping bombs on people while avowing concern for those below. The fall of the bomb echoes the ancient fall of man's soul. America's role in the world, a poison apple from a loving people.

Mostafa Hefny is a senior student of economics and film living in Cairo, Egypt. He was born in 1981 in Giza, Egypt, and spent his childhood both there and in Saudi Arabia. He finished high school early and entered into medical school, but what he describes as a "a strange combination of satisfactory grades and a nervous breakdown" led him to the American University in Cairo to study economics. He has traveled extensively, visiting most of Europe, North America, Kenya and Apartheid South Africa. He is an ardent soccer and arsenal fan, plays basketball, and can generally be found hanging around the university or at one or more political party headquarters (leaning toward the left). He says he is left-handed and right-footed and does not care for the odor or taste of seafood ("with the great exception of shrimp").

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.

Alex Keegan lives in Newbury, England with his wife Deborah, son Alex and daughter Bridie. Born in Wales in 1947 of an Irish mother and Welsh father, he played around with writing almost all his life, but only got serious when recovering from injuries and mental trauma after the Clapham (London) train crash in December, 1988. In October, 1992, he decided to "give up the day job" and give himself five years to get published. The result was five "Caz Flood" mystery novels, the first of which was shortlisted for an Anthony Award for best first novel. Since then Alex has moved to writing literary short fiction. His publications include Atlantic Monthly Unbound, Mississippi Review, Blue Moon Review, The Alsop Review, Crania, and of course, Eclectica.

Amy King longs for a simpler time, though the ever-lasting present may be as simple as it ever gets. She looks to poetry to work the equation. Her summations can soon be found in Lodestar Quarterly, Tarpaulin Sky and Word For/Word. Her ebook The Citizen's Dilemma is available at Duration Press. Her chapbook The People Instruments won the Pavement Saw Press award in 2002. Amy currently teaches English at Nassau Community College. Please visit her website at www.amyking.org for more.

Deborah P. Kolodji is a native Californian who works in information technology to fund her poetry obsessions and pay for her children's college tuition. She is a member of the Haiku Society of America, the Southern California Haiku Study Group, and the California State Poetry Society. Her short poems have appeared in Modern Haiku, Bottle Rockets, The Heron's Nest, Hummingbird, and many other journals both on and off the web. One of her haiku has been selected for the 2003 Red Moon Anthology. She is the editor and co-founder of Amaze: The Cinquain Journal, a webzine and print journal specializing in the cinquain poetry form.


Carole Lanham is a full time writer whose latest project involves finding an agent for her historical novel Law of the Last Thought. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri with one very supportive husband and two very busy children.

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).

Will Manuel was born in 1973. He had an essentially uneventful childhood and graduated college in 1996. He cannot remember the five years following, and wishes he couldn't remember the last three. The last two weeks have been atrocious. But soon, he will move to Boston, and all will be forgiven. Of late, he has been taking all his pictures using a Canon G3 digital camera, although he insists his next one will not be digital.

Jalina Mhyana is co-editor of Rock Salt Plum Poetry Review, an online journal, and her chapbook Spikeseed is forthcoming from Bad Moon Books in January. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming in A Room of One's Own, Slow Trains, Moxie, and Branches Quarterly. Jalina has lived in northern Japan for the past six years, where she owned and operated A Touch of Calm Institute and Clinic of Therapeutic Massage. Currently the bulk of Jalina's time is spent homeschooling her two wonderful daughters.

Troy Morash comes from Canada but has lived and traveled all over the world. He currently lives in Odessa, Ukraine, where he teaches English and translates fairy tales. He has been published or is forthcoming in Fables, Monkey Bicycle, The Rose and Thorn, Sun Oasis, The Summerset Review, Prinsess Tarta, and Ken*Again, with one story having been nominated this year for the 2003 Pushcart Prize.

John O'Toole spent most of his life in Chicago, the location of many of his stories. He recently moved to Los Angeles, where he is Cataloger of Rare Books and Manuscripts at USC. He studied playwrighting at Chicago Dramatists Workshop, where three of his plays were staged. His stories have appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Pindeldyboz, Wild Violet Magazine, and Muse Apprentice Guild, where his novel Loftus is currently being serialized. His poetry has been published in numerous journals here and in Ireland.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy has published poetry, prose and translation in many journals, paper and electronic, including Jacket, Poetry International (San Diego State University), Grand Street, SLANT (University of Central Arkansas), Orbis (UK), XS, The Danforth Review (Can.), Elimae, Thunder Sandwich, Cosmoetica, and Polyphony. He accepts poetry, poetry-related and topical nonfiction books for review at Gilbert Wesley Purdy, P. O. Box 5952, Lake Worth, FL 33466-5952.

Jenna Rindo lives in Pickett, WI with her husband and blended family of five children. She teaches English to Hmong, Arabic, Chinese and Spanish children. She writes to keep sane, and randomly battles bouts of insomnia (an ongoing theme in her poetry). Previous poems have been published in the Wisconsin Review and Faquier Poetry Journal.

Tom Rogers is 40 years old and a happily married father of one daughter. He says, "When I pick up my daughter, I want the world to be one without bigotry. I hope my article might help promote this."

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.

Sumanta Sanyal is a freelance writer working from Calcutta, India. He also writes poetry, some of which have been published in various publications in the U.S.A., U.K., Canada and India. Some recent publications have been in The Richmond Review (U.K.), Pemmican (U.S.A.), and The Harrow, all ezines. Some of his poetry reflects the hardships faced by people living in a developing country, but he tries to bring out the strength of such people in the face of such hardships.

Nita Sembrowich lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she works as a transcriber, studies landscape design, and helps to manage a (theoretically) cooperative apartment building. She has been writing all her life, in a variety of forms and genres. "Reality" is the first of her works to be published on the Web.

Tom Sheehan is a former Spotlight author. He wrote the poem in this issue for his daughter Betsy and now her five year-old daughter Alexa coming for sleepovers at Grandma's house. His fourth poetry book, This Rare Earth & Other Flights, was recently released by Lit Pot Press. A third novel, Death for the Phantom Receiver, an NFL mystery, just released by Publish America, to go along with last year's Vigilantes East. 3amMagazine.com is serializing another novel, An Accountable Death. Wind River Press will soon issue a poetry chapbook, The Westering. He has four Pushcart nominations, a Silver Rose Award from ART for short story excellence and won last year's non-fiction competition at Eastoftheweb. His material appears in many Internet/print issues such as Tryst, Paumanock Review, Summerset Review, Slow Trains, Three Candles, Small Spiral Notebook, Nuvein, LitPot Press, Fiction Warehouse, Poor Mojo, Square Table, The God Particle, Story South, Snowbound, Eleven Bulls, C/Oases, etc., and four more novels looking for publishers.

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

Amy Taylor is grateful to the editors of Eclectica for helping her to stave off a massive mid-life crisis by accepting her poem for publication just weeks before her fortieth birthday. Other than a few theatre reviews for the local paper, this is her first work to be published. Amy has an interdisciplinary bachelors degree in communication, education and theatre from Biola University and is currently working on an interdisciplinary masters degree in northern studies and creative writing from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Chika Unigwe is this issue's Spotlight Author. She was born in Enugu, Nigeria and lives in Turnhout, Belgium with her husband and three young sons. She is the author of two EFL books for Primary Schools published by Macmillan, London. Her fiction has appeared in Wasafiri, Voices and Okike, and in the e-zine Openwide Magazine, among others. She also has published fiction in the anthologies Lines in the Sand: New Writings on War and Peace (Frances Lincoln, London) and Sea of Voices, Isle of Stories (Triple Tree Publishers). Her stories have been broadcast on the BBC. In 2003, she was a co-winner of the BBC Short Story Competition and a Highly Commended Winner, 2003-2004 Commonwealth Short Story Competition.

christopher watkins lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York. He leads a double life as both a professional songwriter and recording artist, as well as a published poet and short story writer. His lyric poetry has been published in the critically lauded Generation X anthology In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself (MWE Press), as well as in such esteemed poetry and literature journals as 3RD Muse and Electric Acorn. He is currently completing work on SongPomes, a collection of his lyrics to be published as a book of poetry. Excerpts from SongPomes have recently been published in the above publications, and in addition 3RD Muse has just published Watkins' essay "Constraint And Emancipation -or- Why I Think Song Lyric Ought To Be Considered A Legitimate Poetic Form," which will serve as the book's introduction. As a songwriter and recording artist, Watkins (under the name Preacher Boy) has released four albums, most recently The Devil's Buttermilk (Manifesto Records), and is featured in The Rolling Stone Guide to Jazz and Blues. His fifth album will be released in spring of 2004. He has also written songs with and for a number of other artists, including six songs on Eagle-Eye Cherry's 2001 album Present Future, which sold over 700,000 copies worldwide, and his new album Sub Rosa, which features four co-writes.

Diane Zinna received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Florida in 1998. She now lives in the Washington, D.C., area and teaches Creative Writing at Marymount University and Northern Virginia Community College. Her stories have also been published in Evolution and The Northern Virginia Review.