Fiction: Death, Dying, Grief

Pop Lit Fiction

READERS enjoy stories which deliver an emotional punch. This is not all that stories can do, but it’s one of the things stories can do.

It might take the writer 500 pages in a novel to deliver the impact. Or it might take a shorter time period– which is what the short story is about. Condensed emotion. Concentrated impact.

Our current story, “Racquetball” by Don Waitt, condenses many things into a small narrative space. Families, history, loss. Less can be more. Take a look.

“And I saw my Mom getting sucked into a black hole of despair. It was like looking into an old brick well filled with cold, dark swirling water being sucked into the bowels of the earth, and my Mom was in the middle of that water. And I knew that if I did not reach down and grab her hand and pull her up, she would be lost forever.”


Be sure to check out New Pop Lit‘s Open Mic feature. Dan Nielsen is our current performer– with more spoken word to come, including from Brian Eckert and Philadelphia poetry legend Frank D. Walsh!


(Painting: “Kosovo Maiden” by Uros Predic.)


Zizek-Peterson Debate in Detroit?


WHY NOT? We’re promoting the idea of holding the big Slavoj Zizek versus Jordan Peterson debate in the reawakening city of Detroit.

THE CONTEST will pit the planet’s most famous philosopher, Slavoj “The Beast” Zizek, against the world’s most formidable psychologist, Jordan “The Slasher” Peterson.

BOTH are renowned heavyweight intellects.

BOTH are well-practiced masters of communication.

THE EVENT would be akin to putting two undefeated heavyweight fighters into the same ring.

NO ONE except New Pop Lit could give the confrontation the coverage it deserves and the attention it needs.

WE are preparing to stage it!

We have a tentative venue selected, a promotional strategy in place, and will be contacting representatives of both esteemed personages to make our case.


POP LIT Carnival!


A LITERARY CARNIVAL full of sights, sounds, and mental stimulation is what we offer for you the unwary reader. DO NOT simply dawdle on this page and scurry away. Remain for a time. Take off your shoes. Sit back and relax. Explore the many options we have available for your time-spending pleasure.

CHIEF among them at the moment is the Writers Combine happening NOW as part of our exclusive coverage of the All-Time American Writers Tournament. At the moment we’re featuring some truly big names, giant talents, enormous personalities– such as Count Leo Tolstoy and Ernest Hemingway. WHO ELSE but New Pop Lit has the futuristic technology to bring these legends alive??

tolstoy2(The Count.)
You want storytelling? WE HAVE IT!— the best new fiction on the planet, including our most recent tale, “Unraveling” by young writer Tianna Grosch.

You want audio? Spoken word poetry-mixed-with-comedy? Yes! Enter through this doorway– where you may find a well-known but deceased celebrity, with whose voice we’ve taken a few liberties.

Book reviews? NO ONE presents more stunning reviews of more striking and provocative literary works– the kind of books literary critics will be discussing fifty years from now, if not this moment. Future literary Gauguins and Van Goghs. Read about those here.

Politics? Do you really have to read about politics? If you insist-– we even have politics! Or at least, reports on a politicized publishing scene and politicized intellectual journals. From us you receive, at our NPL News blog, the real story– what takes place behind the scenes.

Scout around at our links and drop-down on this page and you’ll discover other fascinating and bizarre sights and happenings. Spend the day!

We ARE the most exciting literary site.

(Featured painting: “Circus” by August Macke.)

Fiction: Writing of the Mind

Pop Lit Fiction

THE LARGEST TOPIC for any writer– the greatest expanse of territory to cover– is the human mind. BUT WE ALSO live in a time with a dystopian vibe. Combine the two elements and you create fearful possibilities for the reader.

Our newest feature story, “Unraveling” by Tianna Grosch, is a plunge into the depths and memories of the mind– at the same time it’s a commentary on the contemporary age, on a kind of soullessness consuming everyone. Writers and artists seek metaphors for what’s happening. Zombies, pods, androids, robots. Loss of affect. Of emotion, depth, mind. What does it mean? Where are we going? Where have we been?

There’s much to be discovered in this thought-provoking tale by a talented young writer.

The doctors’ infinite, empty eyes peered out above crisp white masks. Masks shrouding the remainder of their faces so the crown of heads surrounding him became nothing more than a sea of irises ranging in color and depth, but never in emotion.


(Paintings: “Murnau” by Vassily Kandinsky; “Hospital Ward in Arles” by Vincent van Gogh.)

New Fiction: by Alexander Olson

Pop Lit Fiction

New talent? WHO is devoted to new writing talent?

WE are! As we seek to move the center of literature out of the golden island of Manhattan, we’re hearing from new writers from the heartland of this country. Our plan: To showcase talented writers before they approach or cross the many barriers erected by the established publishing industry. To spotlight the best new writers first, before anyone else locates them.


Toward that end we present  Two Flash Fiction works about life today by Alexander Olson. One is about consumerism. The other is about a dying relative. Both different– expressing emotions ranging from cynicism to compassion. Both are thought provoking.

She didn’t deserve me gazing at the floor, wondering vaguely if it was always like this. She deserved movie-quality sadness. Broadway-level grief. 


Be sure to check out all the many other things happening at our site–  audio; reviews; news. An easy way is to click on the drop-down menu at “All Other” on this page. Thanks!

(Featured painting: “Isle of the Dead” by Arnold Bocklin.)

New Pop Lit KO’s the Competition!


WE’VE ADDED New York City journal The Baffler to our knockout victims. See our analysis of that strangely esteemed magazine. In response to the seriousness of our points, to date the Baffler‘s editors have not been able to say anything.


At the same time we have an Open Mic feature going– which we promise to keep entertaining.


Kicking things off: “Kate Hepburn” reads a poem penned by one of our favorite writers. Listen to the recording. Let us know what you think.

Next week: New fiction.

(Art by George Bellows.)

Men and Women: “The First Time”

Pop Lit Fiction

RELATIONS between men and women have been under stress the last several months as never before. Fiction is proving to be the best forum for examining those tensions. Under the guise of the non-factual the writer is able to get to actual truths.

ONE OF THE BEST writers on the topic of men and women– one of the best American short story writers period– is Anne Leigh Parrish. We’re privileged to have another short work from her– short, but as always, with condensed impact. The tale is called “The First Time.” We hope you find it as striking a work of reality and art as we do– and that if this is the first, it not be the last time you come to our site!

I was stunned. Not that we might one day regret our liaison, but that you regretted it now.

(Featured art: “Ashes” by Edvard Munch.)

Pop Lit: An Anti-Political Movement


EVERYONE right now seems to have a cause or political movement, colored red, pink, purple, blue, or green, or is hysterically running around with signs about something. Mad ideologies from antifa to alt-right and all things in-between. There are dozens– maybe hundreds– of flavors of Marxism alone, whether Maoist, Leninist, Stalinist, Shigalovian, Trotskyite, Fabian (not the 50’s rock star); social democrat or democratic socialist; mixed with scores of identities of the academic pomo crowd– and at least as many varieties on the right. Cue the propaganda– the bots and printing presses are working overtime.

Far be it for us to miss a trend– so we’ve started our own movement. We reject ALL political cults and sects and invite those seeking change, dissatisfied with things as-they-are, the status quo, the Establishment, the established order and alternatives to the established order, cable and network news shows all of them as well as BBC propaganda biopics about queens and history dramas about Vikings, to unite together under our banner of POP LIT.



1.)  We’re not a party but we like to party.

2.)  Ideologues are androids.

3.)  The only revolution that matters is the revolution of art. (The word art used broadly.)

4.)  The way to access the creativity of the universe is by being creative.

The only requirement to join our movement is that you enjoy reading.

(Send your writings and paintings to us. If we like them we’ll use them.)

-Karl and Kathleen
(Featured art: “Composition with Two Figures” by Heinrich Campendonk.)


New York City Avant-Garde Invasion!


AS A POP LIT website we’re out to redefine the mainstream– but aren’t beyond occasional forays outside our familiar lines if the work deserves it. (Our roots are in the literary underground.) Even if the source of the unfamiliar material is that dreaded monster-metropolis of New York.

(Accompanying NYC music.)

It’s in places of highest power and station– among wavering skyscrapers– that one finds an underside. The literary obverse.


We start then with one of Brooklyn’s best young poets, Rus Khomutoff. He calls his work surpoems. We have four of them here.

Fading away
in a sea of dotted infinity
the rhythm of life
against monumentality


(Painting: “New York from Brooklyn” by Colin Campbell Cooper.)

NEXT we have an Appreciation from New York avant-garde icon Richard Kostelanetz, of New York poet Frank Kuenstler, part of the ongoing ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITERS TOURNAMENT.

Has New Pop Lit been taken over by, gasp!, New Yorkers? Not quite.



FINALLY, we have a review of the January 29 issue of The New Yorker— flagship of the literary establishment and woefully decrepit. Or: The future is US.

(Feature painting: “Tower of Babel” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.)

Conflict in Fiction

Pop Lit Fiction

THE FICTIONAL NARRATIVE is strengthened immensely by the presence of conflict. It doesn’t have to be all-out war– well covered over the years in works like War and Peace. It can mean merely the hint of approaching conflict. The sense of tension between characters– a troubling undercurrent saying, “All is not right here,” and, “This could if not carefully managed get quickly out of hand.”

The art of the fiction writer comes in creating and managing that tension. We see it in our current feature story, “Park Rangers,” by Joshua Caleb Wilson. A short tale about parents and a playground in which, like a modernist painting, one can see different things, depending on how you view it. On what you bring to it. A reminder that in the world, potential conflicts are endless and can be encountered anyplace.

Oh, are you child psychologist?Matt asked.

No, I just thought…”

But you dont really know do you?Matt interrupted.


(Art: “Battle of Legano” by Amos Cassoli.)