Writer Activism?


FOR ALL THE TALK of American literature today being heavily politicized, the results have manifested themselves– in stories, poems, and novels– chiefly in personal, solipsistic ways. Focus on the individual more than society. (See alt lit and autofiction.) Absent are sweeping novels or poems which encompass the broader world– whether like The Octopus by Frank Norris on the left, or Atlas Shrugged from Ayn Rand on the libertarian right. Or poems like “Thou Shalt Not Kill” by Kenneth Rexroth, or “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg.

Absent as well is a writer with the platform, credibility, and strong voice of an Emile Zola who proclaimed, “J’Accuse!” about the Dreyfus case.

WE’VE noticed even with our modest “Save the Writer!” petition a marked hesitation from writers, editors, critics, professors, and other literary people when one would think all would be on board for the modest ask that readers be notified, with brief statements on an inside page, when books are A.I.-generated.

We’ve asked a few of this nation’s most prominent authors (we won’t name them), to join our campaign, hoping to find an Emile Zola or Salman Rushdie among them. So far: Silence.


The direct opposite of a bot-generated writer was the Bard, William Shakespeare– as is described in a new post, “Shakespeare and Creativity,” at New Pop Lit’s News blog. Please read it and see what you think.

ALSO big thanks to all who’ve signed the petition to date!

Has the Tech Bubble Peaked?


Talk about perfect timing! Two days after we began our pushback petition against the A.I. ChatGPT chatbot onslaught, Silicon Valley’s key bank for tech money collapsed. Did they receive word that not everybody on the planet was buying into their latest scam iteration of mad technology? Maybe!

The purpose of chatbots? Encapsulated in a single word: MONEY.

Anyway, please sign the petition, if you haven’t already. Its goal is to protect readers and writers. You can check a box to be listed anonymously if you like. Thanks!

MEANWHILE, our feature poetry from Toronto writer-musician Tom Preisler is still “Top of the Pop” for us. Read it here.

Then stay tuned for other exciting pop-lit happenings!

Save the Writer Campaign


Are writers an endangered species?

You wouldn’t think so, based on how many of us there are. But the writer has become devalued in this society. “Oh, you write?” or, “You’re a writer?”– accompanied by expressions of disbelief, dismissal, and scorn.

We’re out to change that! FIRST, by fending off the assault of billionaire-generated fake writer-substitutes c/o A.I. devices whose purpose is to make further $$$ for their plutocratic proponents by wiping out writers as a class, while flooding the market with inferior books and articles.

To promote clarity about what’s happening, we’ve begun a “Save the Writer!” petition asking for proper labeling about A.I. content. Not much of a pushback, but the minimum. A start. Please read and sign!

SECOND, we continue to develop, behind-the-scenes, new kinds of literary products. We’re not against technology– we just happen to believe words, sentences, literature are also a complex technology. The original tech, one might say.

We also believe in human deep learning, instead of billions of dollars pumped solely into deep learning of machines!

Much to come.

The Importance of Poetry


Study the roots and context of Shakespeare’s poems and plays and you realize the extent to which people of his time and class loved language. They were first-generation literate but from an oral culture background, with all that entailed. They were extremely verbal people– more than we at great remove can appreciate. Ben Jonson and Stratford Will arguing at the Mermaid Tavern.

Poets and poetry have existed for millennia in all cultures. Poets practicing today are our connection to our past and to what it means to be human beings. To Homer the blind poet himself– and others before him.

Poetry isn’t logical. It expresses feelings beyond logic. Our sensitivity to this magical analog world we inhabit. Today we present Four More Poems from Tom Preisler, a young poet and a musician whose words capture that sensitivity and magic.

We hope you enjoy them.

nylon string guitars, denim jackets, the sound
of crinkled leaves under my boots, with a book
of longing in my pocket and ghost stories read. . . .


1850 painting by John Faed

All About Poets

Pop Lit Fiction


–a long-time center of America’s poetry scene, filled with memories of legendary poets Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and so many others– and legendary poetry readings such as the one at Six Gallery.

TODAY we have a feature story set in San Francisco, about poets: “My Poet Friend” by San Francisco writer-poet William Taylor Jr. A story of atmosphere and humor centered around one poet in particular, who is– like so many practitioners of the poetic art– a character.

More, it’s a story about the lives of struggling writers. Many of us struggle for years and never “make it”– but writing is not about making it. Being an artist of any kind is about the mad pursuit and the lifestyle and the experience. Creating and sharing those creations, and in turn, experiencing the works– the sounds, images, words– of others. Always learning, opening brain pathways, developing spiritually, hopefully, while experiencing more vitally and viscerally than many the echoes of life. Falling short in our artistry, maybe, but leaving behind some legacy or trace we were here, or at least leaving our carcass on the slopes of the artistic mountain we were trying to climb.

Anyone having met writers both high and low knows the more authentic version is the poet friend found in William Taylor’s entertaining story.

My poet friend returned to the bar and we drank in silence, looking at the girls and wrestling with our existential dread. The Revolutionary Poets got louder and drunker as the night went on, their table crowded with half-empty pitchers of beer as they argued about poetry and politics. Linda was standing now, swaying a bit as she drove her points home, wine sloshing out of her glass.

New Fiction 2023

Pop Lit Fiction

ALREADY one month into the New Year and we finally put our first fiction feature up at our site. (A sign of our selectivity? The benefits of waiting?)

The story is “Glow Worm Farm” by Kathy Lanzarotti. One of the rare stories where both NPL editors not only agreed on the selection, but 100% agreed, in that we’d both give it scores of 10 out of 10. The question: Why?

Perhaps because it’s a template for an ideal short story circa 2023, when the task is to make the art form relevant and compelling. The story has it all– acknowledgment of the madness of today’s world, including the future of that world (robots)– with swipes at media and consumerism– with no shying away from politics, in highlighting violent aspects of the current extremist political landscape. Ostensibly set three years into the future, the tale makes the reader realize that future is here. The story contains also, amid the madness, an embrace of the natural, the living. That which gives life meaning. We’ve run a series of topical stories of late– as well as stories with great sensibility and emotion. “Glow Worm Farm” scores on both counts.

Topicality and emotion: a powerful combination. Must reading for anyone interested in where short fiction is now, and where it’s going. Where it should be going.

When the National Guard arrived, most of the neighbors were outside. Sarah watched them trade rumors from the nutshell of her porch swing. Mayberry on her lap. A cup of cinnamon coffee in her green mug that read, I’m a Ray Of Fucking Sunshine. Rumors and speculation was all anyone had at that point. The WiFi and cell service, TV and radio, stopped with the blast. Sarah was no scientist but she’d watched enough movies to know this wasn’t a good sign. And then there was the sky, cast a hazy pink orange that was both light and dark at the same time.

New Poetry 2023


OUR FIRST FEATURE of the new year is a good one– Four Prose Poems by talented Toronto musician and poet Tom Preisler. The poems are set in Toronto, at nighttime. They’re first of a two-part set of writing from Tom for New Pop Lit, the second set to appear in a few weeks.

What distinguishes Tom Preisler’s work from the crowd is its ability to convey atmosphere and mood. With a phrase or a word, the reader is put into the world, the moment. Simple yet evocative. “Do more with less!” we’re often told. Here’s a writer who does it. His edge is that he creates in more than one art form– which enhances the quality of both.

If today’s literary scene is to be transformed– we believe it will be– it will be through new writers like Tom Preisler.

No Robots!



This is to affirm we will be accepting no literary work– fiction, nonfiction, or poetry– created with the use of an A.I. program. As the task for human writers today is difficult enough as it is, and as we enjoy the human element in art, we seek to delay the march toward artificial everything as long as possible.

YES, WE KNOW the dream of the hyper-plutocrats– billionaires like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, and Elon Musk– is to control everything themselves from the top down and eliminate all human employees, so they can run their massive businesses strictly via robots and phone apps. To this we say: Do what you will, world, but WE at New Pop Lit Headquarters will be cooperating with this insane plan as little as possible. -K.W. and K.M.C for NPL.

p.s. New feature works by human writers ARE upcoming.