California Writing

Pop Lit Fiction

LOS ANGELES has long been the most extreme example of American excess. Many writers have tried to capture SoCal’s special vibration; its captivating mix of ethnicity, cars, class, color/weather/nature jammed together like an expressionist painting come alive. One of the best writers on the subject is Robin Wyatt Dunn– who appeared in our modest first New Pop Lit print issue with a terrific story about Los Angeles. Now he’s given us another one, “Travelogue,” full of reality and imagination. A journey through L.A., but also, perhaps, through somewhere else. A Robin Dunn story is always a unique experience.  Don’t miss this one!

Here in the Big Sleep there is no moon, so the sea is tideless. However, it does move. Creeping tendrils of water you will find anywhere along it, shimmering in the darkness. I have walked along Seaside on many a moonless night.

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Speaking of California, be sure to read D.C. Miller’s Appreciation of Philip K. Dick, part of our ongoing All-Time American Writers Tournament.
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(Painting: “Herbstlandschaft mit Booten” by Wassily Kandinsky.)

Sweet Spring

Pop Lit Fiction

We’re near the end of spring– early enough for cool summer reading as heat descends upon the landscape.

Questions: Are there forces in the universe beyond our understanding? Does a talisman actually work?

These questions are asked in our new story, “Sweet Spring” by Scott Cannon, one of our favorite writers. If you want an enjoyable read, this is it!

It was dark within, but I thought I saw something pale in the heart of it. I was shoulder deep in the roots when I heard you ask if I found anything. My hand closed on something cool and smooth, and I drew it out.
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(Painting: “Springtime in Giverny” by Claude Monet.)

Secrets of the Writers Tourney

All-Time American Writers Tournament

Have people figured out what we’re up to?

We’re out to reinvent the American novel– and transform reading in so doing.

The All-Time American Writers Tournament is an ongoing novel– the novel as living entity– written in front of your eyes. Performed in real time across several platforms: twitter; website; blogs. Chief venue is here. The Tournament is part narrative, part criticism, part satire, and (hopefully) all fun.

The novel won’t survive as a vibrant and necessary art form unless it becomes as entertaining and immediate as possible. Our new kind of novel contains characters fictional and real. Living and dead.

A literary movie, in lights, STARRING:
Ernest Hemingway, Emily Dickinson, Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac, Maya Angelou, Norman Mailer, and a host of other literary stars.

WHO will win the Tournament? No one knows– yet.
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Moreover, it’s a novel in which YOU can take part. We’re soliciting “Appreciations” of individual American writers of any type or variety. Five words to 250. (See our latest.) If you’re game and able, send yours in an email to newpoplitATgmail along with link or mini-bio.
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At New Pop Lit the future begins NOW.

 

 

Four American Writers

All-Time American Writers Tournament

#2 Tournament Seeds

Make that Four GREAT American Writers. . . .

With our latest entrants into the big Tournament, discussed here, we have something to displease everyone. We live in hysterical times when everyone across the ideological spectrum is displeased by something.

Reminder:  We’re still one America. There yet exists that magical idea known as American literature; best expression of the American Dream– as we argue in the essay accompanying our announcement.

But:  Another Big Four. What do you think of them? Anyone among the Four to love? Anyone to hate?

there’s no “white” literature or “black” literature, or this division or that one. There’s only American literature.

Experiments in Pop

Pop Lit Fiction

THE FUTURE is in fiction and poetry written with clarity and conciseness. Short and to the point. Read quickly but meaningfully on an app.

Toward that end, we present a short short by our own Kathleen M. Crane, “Aloha from Detroit Revisited.” Set in Detroit’s punk rock scene near the end of the millennium, it’s a replay of an earlier tale by K.M.C., “Aloha from Detroit”– the title work in her e-book short story collection. “Revisited” presents a different perspective on the same events. Providing a different angle. A more rounded look.
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We’re based in Detroit, where we hear and read much about how the auto companies– not known for being cutting edge– have to adapt to the technologies of the 21st Century. How moreso literature!– whose Manhattan mandarins operate with the mindset of the 19th.

As lit moves onto new platforms like smart phones and e-books, the style of writing itself has to adapt and change. Slow-paced thoughts won’t work. Word-clotted writing is dead– whether from James Joyce or Joyce C. Oates; Jon Franzen or the acolytes of David Foster Wallace. In ten years the heavily-lauded writers of the present will be obsolete.

They already are. Writing is changing, via flash fiction and pop poetry. We’re at the forefront of that change.

He wondered who was dealing Rick, after his warnings. He shrugged. Rick was an adult. He glanced at Rick, pale and slumped under his black mohawk at the end of the bar. Sure, an adult.

First Press Conference!

All-Time American Writers Tournament

See our first-hand report.

Featured are four of the biggest names in American literary history: Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Mark Twain. Not to be missed!

The All-Time American Writers Tournament is underway.

(New fiction from current writers is upcoming next week.)

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(Photo of Hemingway c/o JFK Library & Museum in Boston.)

Of Maps and Melvilles

All-Time American Writers Tournament

One of our favorite lines from Herman Melville’s magical novel Moby Dick is this one:

“It is not down in any map; true places never are.”

Melville was speaking about the novel form itself. He could as well have been referring to our Tournament. Appropriate, then, that Herman Melville is the third #1 seed entered into the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Read our reasons for his selection– and discover the fourth #1, here.

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Since our theme with this post is the novel, we’ve also written a short review of the latest novel by Samuel Stevens, Lone Crusader. The American has traditionally been a seeker. An adventurer. Melville wrote about this kind of person. So does Stevens.

Adventure was once in the American bloodstream, was long a key component of American writing. “Literary” fiction of the New York/Iowa variety has long discounted this component. Today, we at New Pop Lit celebrate it.

Happy reading!

Turmoil at New Pop Lit?

All-Time American Writers Tournament

SOME turmoil anyway as we experiment with our All-Time American Writers Tournament to see how alive or dead interest in historical American writers is in this crazed nation. Who’ll stand out?

We’ve announced our first two selections. See what you think.

We’ll keep the Tournament chiefly at our Interactive and News  blogs– while we soon get back on track posting current fiction, book reviews, and the like. Stick with us!

(Email tourney suggestions to newpoplit@gmail.com.)

Who’s Good Enough?

All-Time American Writers Tournament

el cid tournament

Who’s good enough to make the tournament? Certain writers are gimmes– but 64 spots, when you start listing writers, isn’t a lot. The New Pop Lit Competition Committee hasn’t decided if there will be a play-in game. Who should we start thinking about?

Sinclair Lewis? Anne Sexton? Pearl Buck? David Mamet? Zora Neale Hurston? Fanny Hurst? Maya Angelou? John “The Mummy” Updike? Charlie Bukowski? Ezra Pound? Carl Sandburg? Gertrude Stein? Sherwood Anderson? Truman Capote? Zane Grey? Herman Wouk? James Jones? James Baldwin? Ray Bradbury? James Cain? James Fenimore Cooper? Harriet Beecher Stowe? Isaac Asimov? Ayn Rand? Mario Puzo? John Berryman? Bernard Malamud? Richard Wright? Ray Carver? Raymond Chandler? Lillian Hellman? Mary McCarthy? Katherine Anne Porter? Any contemporary poets? Any fantasy writers? Let’s have some names!

In the meantime, we’ll start on the easy part– the #1 seeds. Coming next.

(Image from the 1961 classic movie, “El Cid.”)

By Dictate or Argument?

Announcement

SO MUCH of what’s considered literature today is run by dictate, that we hope at some point with the All-Time American Writers Tournament to do things differently.

The recent Granta issue of “Young American Novelists” is an example. Four well-placed judges decided the matter– then word came down from on high. “You WILL accept these selections culled mainly from those given us by the Big 5 conglomerate book companies.”

It’s how the system is run and how it’s always been run. Tops-down in every aspect. The professor tells you, “You WILL appreciate these authors, no matter how stuffy, irrelevant, meaningless, or boring they may be.”

Recent p.c. changes in the university have scarcely altered this– only the names mandated to be appreciated have changed.

The student, like the hapless consumer of Granta, has no say. The decision runs always, always one way.

castro

As many have noted, the situation, in academia and the greater intellectual community, has become ever more totalitarian. There is one accepted ideology. One acceptable set of ideas. One way of thinking.

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We’ll be setting up our brackets for the Tournament with a new mix, according to our best judgment and the standards we’ve outlined– but we don’t pretend to have all the answers. We’d like to receive throughout the course of the Tournament suggestions and arguments about which writers should be included– from writers, general readers, and elite critics alike. If “literature” is to be a living thing and not just an authoritarian dictate, names and ideas should come from everybody.

The All-Time American Writers Tournament will be at our Interactive blog, previously used for fun stuff and pop poetry. (Which we’ll still sneak in on occasion.) Here’s format information. Here’s other tourney info.

We’re at newpoplit AT gmail.com.

#1 seeds are upcoming. . . .