Jan/Feb 2003

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 Literature and is pursuing certification as a graphic artist. A former contributor to Eclectica, she now serves as an assistant poetry editor. Her literary publications (past, present, and forthcoming) include: Primavera, Stirring, Children, Churches, and Daddies, Poems Niederngasse, Wicked Alice, Poetalk, Blind Man's Rainbow , artisan, and Copious.

Brian Van Schyndel is a senior at UW Parkside majoring in English with a concentration in writing. After graduation he plans on pursuing a Master's Degree in creative writing. As an Eclectica intern this past semester, he served as an assistant fiction editor.

Judy Beatse

Vincent Canizaro lives with his wife and two dogs in Houston, Texas.

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)."

Avik Chanda is a management consultant and freelance writer living in Kolkata, India, who has had several articles, art reviews, short stories published in Indian dailies and a solo exhibition of paintings in Kolkata in June of 2001. Publications include Black Bear Review, Other Poetry, Adirondack Review, Three Candles, Morpo Review, 3rd Muse, Richmond Review, Voices, King Log and Sulekha.

Samuel deFayette is twenty-three years old and a native of Portland, Maine. He has written several political essays for local newspapers, but this is his first published piece of fiction. He wrote a small novel entitled "Refusal" over a year ago and has been trying to get it published.

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

J.C. Frampton is a journalist and communications consultant, as well as a longtime practitioner of fiction. Creative work has appeared on stage in Southern California and in both print and Web journals, including a previous appearance in Eclectica.

Kevin Frazier works for Art Films Production, a Helsinki-based company that specializes in international documentaries. In 2007 his first novel, Nicole, was published by Avain, and his short stories have appeared in Fiction, Event, The South Carolina Review, and many other places. He has also published studies of the Russian poet Vladislav Khodasevich.

Jon Fried is this issue's Spotlight Author. His published work includes a piece in the January 2003 issue of BeeHive; a graphic novel called "Neh-tu Not You in Legend of the Dog Rockets," created with artist Erik Wrobel, now being serialized in Greetings; and songs he has written and co-written with Deena Shoshkes, his wife, with whom he lives in New Jersey and started the Cucumbers, a band currently preparing to release their sixth album in spring of 2003. "Troddy" is his first published narrative fiction.

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.

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.

Mike Knight was born in Geneva, NY, and converted to Islam at 16. At 17 he studied at the International Islamic University of Islamabad, Pakistan. During a period of estrangement from organized, formal Islam, Michael only went to his masjid at night, bringing a portable typewriter. The result was a novel, Where Mullahs Fear to Tread, which has earned him the distinction of the world's only Islamic science-fiction writer according to Adherents.com. His second novel, The Furious Cock, is distributed in Buffalo from the trunk of his car.

A. Lebowski is an artist with a small, but noteworthy, underground reputation. Regarding "Hidden America: Vermont": "(It) is a collaboration between me, "Alice," one of its authors, and "Max," a man with whom I corresponded. Names (as well as other critical identifying information) have been altered, and the letters have been gently abridged, but, aside from these slight changes, the text is pretty much verbatim. As I understand it, the theme that emerged from this correspondence was resistance to the illegitmate use of power. These letters were written circa 1992-1993. Now, in the transitory grip of the Bush administration in which we Americans are currently held, "Hidden America: Vermont" reads as curiously and chillingly prophetic."

Roderick Maclean will be the centerfold in the April issue of Naked Male Authors Quarterly. Maybe.

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).

Kristen Merola resides in Rochester, New York and is pursuing an M.A. in Visual Studies. She has made several short films and one feature, but is currently dabbling in photography and artists' books. When Kris is not taking pictures, making movies, or assembling books, she is looking at pictures, watching movies and reading books.

Chelle Miko resides in the Chicago area, where she teaches gymnastics. Her work has appeared in or been accepted by Moondance, can we have our ball back, The Paumanok Review, Poet Lore, The North American Review, and The Poet's Canvas.

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.

Stephen Newton is Assistant Professor of English at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, where he also directs the Writing Center. His essays and poetry have appeared in The Adirondack Review, BWe, Tattoo Highway, GLOSS, Downtown Brooklyn: A Journal of Writing, College English Notes, and The English Record.

Rajgopal Nidamboor is a Mumbai-based features writer, critic, and editor.

Crispin Oduobuk is 30, single and the magazine editor of The Weekly Trust. He's a read-a-lot, travel-when-can, music and Internet freak. A 1995 best-graduate of Literature-in-English of the University of Abuja, he's been published in BBC Focus on Africa Magazine, Ken*Again, The Ultimate Hallucination, www.eastoftheweb.com and a number of other literary sites. When not disturbing his neighbors with loudly played rap or rock and roll songs, Crispin battles the dreaded literary disease RTD (Revision to Death), while pretending to write, with jazz or classical music as a backdrop. About "Time Must Wait" he says, "Forneeso is a village I would have loved to have been born in—it's a composite of so many things Nigerian and then more. Since I didn't have that opportunity, I decided to create characters that can get up to all the no-good things (like gasoline blackmarketeering!) that would get me locked up for trying."

Karen Bingham Pape

Jonathan Potter is a faculty member and librarian at Gonzaga University. His work has appeared in Christianity and Literature, The Delta Factor, ERIC, Niederngasse, The Walker Percy Project, and Z Miscellaneous. He congratulates himself for resisting the temptation to mention wooden shoes in the present essay.

Gokul Rajaram lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. A native of India, he has published in online magazines such as Wilmington Blues, Inkburns, and Fuzzynet.

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.

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

Jaap Stijl was born in Leiden, The Netherlands and received his BS in Agronomy from Denventer Agricultural College in the Netherlands before moving to Argentina to work as a gaucho and tour guide at the Estancia Los Potreros. Following a brief stint as a vermicast sculptor, he returned to The Netherlands to become an apprentice juggler with The Netherlands National Circus. During that time he published "Tussen Nacht en Naakt," a collection of essays and poetry on Dutch colonial exploitation of Indonesian coffee workers. Since then, Jaap has moved to NYC to begin work on an exhaustive research project covering the history of Dutch and Walloon settlements in Brooklyn. He spends his spare time playing speed chess for money in Washington Square Park.

Russ Wellen says, "Devoid of a graduate school or even college degree, I was, however, mentored by Ed Wellen, my older cousin and author of Mind/Matter. The yet-to-be-published novel through which he guided me, Pond Scum: Water's Way Clear, is set among that subdivision of the developmentally disabled known as the mentally retarded. A concern of mine, those subject to victimization are also featured in my next novel, Her Vindictive Ways, which chronicles the deadly aftermath of a clerical child abuse incident." More of Wellen's work appears online at Muse Appreciation Guild.

Ian Randall Wilson is on the faculty at the UCLA Extension and an executive at MGM Studios. He is also the managing editor of the poetry journal 88. Recent work has appeared in the North American Review and The Gettysburg Review. His first collection, Hunger and Other Stories, was published by Hollyridge Press. About the story in this issue of Eclectica, he says, "The impetus for writing "Sometimes Rest is Always Good" came from two sources. First, a close friend made an off-hand remark that fat men make the best dancers. At nearly the same time, a story broke in the entertainment Trade papers about a talent agent who was fired for making inappropriate remarks in a speech, to the effect that his job as an agent was to rape and pillage and plunder. The combination was irresistible."

Ginny Wray has appeared or is forthcoming in Absinthe, BigBridge, Brevity, Carve Magazine, Eclectica, Eyeshot, Hope Magazine, Linnaean Street, nycBigCityLit, Pindeldyboz, PoetryBay, PoetryMagazine, and SamsaraQuarterly. She has a B.A. in Literature, and is on the editorial board of Fictionline.

Alessio Zanelli is an Italian poet, born in Cremona in 1963, who adopted English as his artistic language. He has about 100 poems featured in over 30 magazines around the world, among them Potomac Review, Möbius, The Poetry Magazine, Poetic Voices, The Journal, Pulsar Poetry Magazine, Copious Magazine and Freexpression. His first collection Loose Sheets was published in the UK in 2000, and a new one, titled Small Press Verse & Poeticonjectures, is just out in the USA through Xlibris.