New Fiction: “Homecoming”

Pop Lit Fiction

JUST when you’ve had enough of summer and its heat, we come along with great summer reading set in Buffalo, New York, during the winter holidays. Snow! Cold! Blizzards!

The story is “Homecoming” by Michael Howard. It’s about a young woman returning home from sunny California during the Christmas season, encountering all the familiar warm faces and smells, but also something darker, lying wait inside the comfortable house. . . .

Lucy had the sensation that the room was growing smaller. She could feel her pulse thumping in her temples as she forced another smile and told him that it was nice of him to say so, but that they really should go back downstairs now. Her words didn’t seem to penetrate–

at dusk childe hassam

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(Paintings: “Murnau Burggrabenstrasse” by Wassily Kandinsky; “At Dusk” by Childe Hassam.)

 

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War Within the Literary World

Controversy

RIGHT NOW the U.S. literary world is divided over the Junot Diaz Controversy– the Pulitzer Prize-winning author accused of sexual harassment by an array of accusers. Which side is telling the truth? On which side should be our sympathies?

WE’VE been covering the issue at our News blog. Our 14th post on the topic, “System versus Zeitgeist,” looks at the politicization of the U.S. book world itself, giving context to what’s happening.

The post in the series which best expresses our author’s purpose might be this one, “Unlocking the Junot Diaz Puzzle.” 

Which side in the dispute will win? That is yet to be determined.

illustration for New Pop Lit

New Fiction: Anne Leigh Parrish

Pop Lit Fiction

THE WAR between men and women in this culture is ongoing. Redress of long-held grievances. We’ve published an array of featured fiction and poetry addressing the issue.

Today we feature fiction from one of the best short story writers in America, Anne Leigh Parrish. The story, “He Said, She Said,” contains Anne Leigh’s trademark insights into the subtleties and outrages which entangle that tentative truce between the sexes we call marriage.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

He was a romantic character. Women outnumbered men at his book-signings, and when he went on tour, trips she couldn’t take with him, because of the children. His mystery novels were considered clever, good psychological studies of the criminal mind, the rationalization people engage in when they’ve done wrong.

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(Painting: “Landscape with Sun Disk” by Robert Delaunay.)

Toward Three-Dimensional Literature

Pop Lit Fiction

MANY have been those writers who realize we’re trapped in a linear mode not just of thinking, but writing. Yet many are the modes the writer can use to convey his tale– to depict three-dimensional reality– and isn’t using them.

The trick in experimentation in fiction writing is to keep the prose readable. Today we have  a story by literary magician Elias Keller which is very readable, but– and that’s all we’re going to say. (Note, however, subtle shifts in style.) The story is “On the Rails, Off the Rails.” You have to read it. Let us know what you think.

There was only one road leading out of the parking lot and he was blocking that. Surrounding the lot otherwise was the woods. She had no chance in raw combat, but she did run three miles a day.

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(Art: “Portrait of Albert Gleizes” by Jean Metzinger.)

New Pop Lit

The Great Hamlet Challenge!

Announcement

FATHERS AND SONS PART TWO

“To be or not to be.” The question is how much Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” is about the father-son relationship. Shakespeare’s son Hamnet (not making the name up) died before the play was written. The play may have been a tribute to the absent son– an imagined take on how the son would’ve turned out. Interesting that Shakespeare himself played the ghost of the father in the play’s first performances.

“Goodnight, sweet prince! And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

TO CELEBRATE Father’s Day and the father-son relationship, we’ve decided to offer–

THE GREAT HAMLET CHALLENGE!

–to see who can record for us the Best Audio Version of the most famous speech in the history of letters, which begins, “To be or not to be. That is the question.”

There WILL be a prize offered for the best recitation sent to us– a collector’s version of the book of the play. (More later on that.) ALSO, perhaps, a prize for the worst recording of it.

THE CONTEST is open to all writers, editors, spoken word poets and unsuccessful actors. New Pop Lit‘s editors may well record our own takes. We’ll try to post every speech submitted at our Open Mic. Send to newpoplitATgmailDOTcom, with “Hamlet Challenge” in the subject box.

WHO is up to the Challenge? Anyone?

We’ll find out!

New Pop Lit

(Paintings by Benjamin West and Edwin Austin Abbey.)

painting to illustrate New Pop Lit fiction

New Fiction: “Up On the Mountain”

Pop Lit Fiction

FATHERS AND SONS PART ONE

Father’s Day is less than two weeks away, so at New Pop Lit we’re marking the holiday with a small two-week celebration of relationships between fathers and sons, one of the primal relationships in our lives. In our new featured story, “Up On the Mountain,” Jack Somers captures the nuances in that relationship. Dad can be at times an embarrassment, a disappointment, a burden, or a revelation. An unavoidable shadow, good or bad, for us all.

(WRITERS: Note Somers’s ability to create atmosphere without excessive detail. You feel what it’s like to be a tourist in Athens. Photos to illustrate the story were unnecessary– but we added a few anyway.)

I had to come with him, if only to make sure he didn’t kill himself. I found myself thrust again into a role that had become all too familiar to me over the past few years: the parent of the parent. It seemed the older my father got, the more reckless and impulsive and childlike he became.

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ON OTHER FRONTS we’ll shortly have new audio at our ongoing Open Mic, as well as a review of the latest novel from one of our favorite writers. Stay tuned– much more will be happening.

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(Painting: “Greek Theatre at Taormina” by Tivader Csontvary-Kosztka.)

What's the Future of Poetry?

What’s the Future of Poetry?

Poetry

IN WHAT DIRECTION is poetry going? Is its future visual or audio? Or a combination of both?

WHICH of the many new poetry movements– flarf, sedserio, instapoetry, neo-modernist– will be able to sustain itself?

WE WILL be examining this question in more depth in future months– as well as re-examining the greatest poet of them all. “That is the question.” In the meantime we present as our feature two new works of visual poetry by Audrey Rhys. Two amazingly 2018 poems, the first about scholarship and the academy, the second about police and the seeming chaos of our world– or maybe it’s just in our minds. Hyper-intelligent poetry which makes you THINK! Read it.

FIRE, FIRST NAT’L BANK
OFFICER DOWN ON MAIN
WACO RERUNS, BRING A TANK
savor it in my brain

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ALSO be sure to keep up on our ongoing and always-terrific Open Mic.

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(Painting: “The Fortune Teller” by Jehan Georges Vibert.)

Book Reviews!

book review

YES, the sun also rises and we also write book reviews– they’re found at our Book Chat blog aka NewPopLitExtra. We’ve posted several interesting reviews (and one interview) the past few months. Currently we have a review of a short-but-dynamic book/pamphlet named Police Stories with an easily obtained freebie at the end of it.

CHECK IT OUT!

vivid photographic proof that evil had taken on a new definition for me, that my understanding of true evil had, in just a few brief seconds, made a horrifying leap from assumption to reality.”

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(Painting: “Miss Auras, The Red Book” by Sir John Lavery.)

More Poetry!

Poetry

MORE MORE poetry poetry. We’ve been on a poetry kick of late. We continue it with three sparkling quick poems from Ohio poet James Croal Jackson, full of wry insight combined with slices of realism. Read them!

think of those
who have lost
the soup
steams the kitchen
sunken chicken
in chunks
salt boils
the tea kettles
green
the minced leaves
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DON’T FORGET also our ongoing Open Mic, smoky low-light venue of dynamic spoken word performed by today’s most fascinating and talented literary personalities. We’re at a short pause– the crowd is buzzing because next up are Dan Nielsen and Georgia Bellas, reading words while backed by the band Sugar Whiskey. Or maybe Dan and Georgia are Sugar Whiskey. We’ll find out!
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(Painting: “The Knife Grinder” by Kazimir Malevich.)

The Writer’s Struggle

Announcement

THE STRUGGLES OF A WRITER can seem lonely indeed– often resulting in rejection and neglect. Yet they keep at it, pursuing their art because they believe it’s important to express truths about life and the world.

When those struggles find notice– and a sense that a reader gets it, understands what the work’s about, this keeps the writer (and in our case, editors) going. No, the effort expended was not for naught!

Christopher Landrum at the literary site Bookbread has examined here four recent short stories, three of which appeared at New Pop Lit. They are:

“The Fetus” by Clint Margrave.

“Eighty Pounds” by Jon Berger.

“The Professor” by A.K. Riddle.

If you’ve read these three excellent tales, they’re worth rereading. If you haven’t, please do so! Then see what Mr. Landrum says about them.

De briefschrijfster

(Art: “The Passion of Creation” by Leonid Pasternak; “Woman Writing” by Gerard ter Borch.)