From Tom Dooley, Managing and Fiction Editor
Welcome to the beginning of Eclectica's thirteenth year online. This issue, like those that have come before it, is packed with a dizzying array of work, much of it accompanied by painter Robert Hoover's vivid images.
The Spotlight Author is Chris Epting, who can be described as a pop culture docent. Using words and photographs, Chris has captured, either as it happened or after the fact, thousands of priceless pop culture moments, a smattering of which you'll find in the four pieces presented here.
It's great to see so many familiar names back in the table of contents, some of them appearing in sections where they haven't before. Dennis Kaplan and Kimberly L. Becker, for example, have previously published fiction and poetry with us, respectively. This time, Dennis has a review of Vincent Bugliosi's The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, and Kimberly interviews Susan Settlemyre Williams, prizewinning poet and author of Ashes in Midair. Meanwhile, Stephen Healey, always a bit off kilter with his fiction, has gone all out and landed in Humor and Satire, and John Palcewski, also known to our readers for his short stories, has an excerpt from his memoir in Nonfiction.
The three interviews in this issue all touch upon the topic of "Wom-Po." One of the interviewers, Wendy Vardaman, explains what Wom-Po is:
Wom-Po is short for "Women's Poetry Listserv," an internet community founded 11 years ago by poet Annie Finch as an online group to discuss issues of concern in women's poetry and poetics, as well as to promote the reading and understanding of women's poetry. Membership is open to all, and list members can and do post questions and responses regarding, for example, teaching, poetry, specific poems and poets, poetry programs, a writer's concerns, careers, women's lives, and politics. Since its beginning, the list has expanded from less than a dozen American academic women poets, to a diverse group of over 600 that includes members from all over the US as well as many other countries, non-academics, poets of varying experience levels and publication histories, the famous and the beginner, editors and other interested nonpoets, and men, too. As the editors of its first publication, Letters to the World, note, Wom-Po is a "vibrant inclusive electronic community" which has "inspired poems, blogs, essays, readings, syllabi, conference presentations and spin-off lists," as well as the anthology to which all of the poet-interviewers and interviewees in this issue contributed. Letters to the World represents 259 of the list's members and was created in an inspired and inspiringly democratic way: members were invited to choose one poem and send it for inclusion. No screening took place, no thematic requirements were made, and no one who wanted to be included was excluded; the story of the anthology appears in the volume's introduction and is a fascinating episode in the history of poetry publication, the publication of women's poetry, and the way that the Internet changes how we communicate with one another.
As always, the quality and quantity of material in this issue wouldn't be possible without the help of our dedicated staff of volunteer editors, the generosity and patience of my lovely wife for allowing me to "hunker" (as she puts it) in front of the computer for hours on end, and the faith of all our contributors, who continue to send me submissions to consider and then wait until the last possible minute to see if I really will put the issue out on time.
Former contributors continue to experience success in the world of literature, and here are a few updates: Jumoke Verissimo has a book out called I am memory. Annette Hyder has a new
As I have the last few issues, I'll close with a quick update on our adoption process. We just got back from our fourth visit to Haiti, and we're happy to report that the children are doing very well. We couldn't possibly love them more, and it will be a huge relief when we're able to finally bring them home. When that will be, of course, is still a mystery. We're thinking it might be this coming summer, but there's no way to know for sure.
I sincerely hope that each of you enjoys this issue and has a wonderful year in 2009. Happy reading!