The Populist Alternative

Announcement

(Featured painting: “Festival” by Daniel Celentano c/o Smithsonian.)

We’re not just an alternative to an embalmed establishment literary scene that’s artistically frozen in time. We’re the alternative to the alternatives. We offer the only possible way to unite antagonists on all sides to revive the literary art. We believe in the need for uniquely American literature– art which helps define and give voice to this land and people. We reject fragmented culture– the constant cultural warfare which those highly placed above the fray seem to want.

We present instead to readers and writers our banner of POP!

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A populist ethos is one aspect– not the only aspect– of pop literature. Pop Lit!
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As evidence of our dedication to American lit we’re presenting the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Latest happening there is the #4 Seeds announcement. Upcoming are profiles of J.D. Salinger, Misty Copeland(?), Mary Gaitskill, Ayn Rand, Henry Miller, Saul Bellow-versus-Herman Wouk, and many more of our literature-and-culture’s brightest stars. Plus official choices for #5 Seeds.
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We also believe in giving you news about the literary world. Stories and scandals which no one else in literature today will touch. The newest post at our News blog is “The Lit Scene Now,”  — first part of a revealing analysis of the literary business, examining current players and real motivations. Not to be missed!

Pop lit is alive and well!

1934 Reginald Marsh (American artist, Locomotives, Jersey City, 1934
(Painting: “Locomotive, Jersey City” by Reginald Marsh c/o Smithsonian.)

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Storms and Shelters

Pop Lit Fiction

Storms have been in the news of late. As such, they’re the theme of the moment at New Pop Lit.

First, we feature a subtly emotional short story from one of the best story writers in America, Anne Leigh Parrish. The story is “Shelter.” Its underlying motifs are refuge and authenticity.

Cara’s truck bumped up the road, the rain in the headlights so thick it looked like snow. Drake was at the wheel. He insisted on driving. She was no good at it, he said, not on a road like this. Plus, the transmission was going. Hadn’t she said she was going to get it fixed?

We’ve just nominated a previous story of Anne’s “Picture This,” for the Best of the Net 2017 anthology, along with other work. See our nominations at our News blog.

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For other storms, at least stormy personalities, check out the four most recent selections at the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Volatile personalities. Volatile art. Examples of the energy of which American literature can occasionally generate.

We’re out to capture, create, and showcase similar literary energy. Keep following us!

(Painting: “Storm in the Mountain” by Albert Bierstadt.)

Of Princes and Posts

Pop Lit Fiction

What makes a good short story?

Conciseness, crisis, atmosphere, character– along with insight on human nature and the world. Above all the tale must be compulsively readable. Our new feature story  “The Little Prince” by Brian Eckert embodies all of this. A thunderstorm and a curse– can the self-possessed “prince” get out of his dilemma?

Really what Greg wanted was to be left alone, to his devices—and as he got older, his vices. His aloofness was what others found distasteful about him. There was a mark of royalty on a man who preferred to be alone. Others felt diminished in his presence.
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Also keep up-to-date on our exclusive coverage of the  All-Time American Writers Tournament! #4 bracket seedings coming soon.

(Painting: “Starry Night Over the Rhone” by Vincent Van Gogh.)

Experiments in Pop III

Pop Lit Fiction

WE LOOK for writers to invent pop lit style– new writing which is readable but also intelligent, meaningful, and real.

This week we have a new story by Dr. Wred Fright which qualifies as a possible pop lit template: “Operative 72 Takes a Swim.”

29) 73 wasn’t sure how much time had passed. There was always just the sea, the sun, and an island full of retired intelligence operatives rewarded with Sodom in the South Pacific.

65) Johnson was very drunk one night. “God wouldn’t care,” he said, pointing around at the rest of the bar, “If we killed every single one of them.”
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American literature needs to be reinvented to retain credibility as an art form– for it NOT to be ghettoized within the broader culture. With changing technology, the art itself must change.

We believe in artistic change. The more esteemed “literary” segments of publishing have forever been last to jump on a change bandwagon.

This dates from 1955, when low-priced paperbacks began conquering the interest of the general reader. Harcourt Brace published a poetry anthology, edited by Oscar Williams, containing work from all the great American poets. Distinguished publishers Charles Scribners and Sons, and the MacMillan Company, refused to to permit the work of their poets, T.S. Eliot and Allen Tate among them, to appear in the paperback edition– because it was a paperback.

Question: Does literature belong to an enlightened few, or to everyone?
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(Painting by Paul Gauguin.)

Detroit Meets New York

Pop Lit Fiction

We could call this week’s feature “Portrait of a Young Detroit Guitarist.” We’re privileged to run excerpts from an exciting new novel by a New York City photographer. “Frisky Moser” (his pen name) was once in a Detroit rock band, and has now penned a fictionalized-and-fresh version of events, “Jack Strat and His Baby Blues.”

Lately there’s been an influx of talented New Yorkers– artists, entrepreneurs, edge-seekers– into Detroit, as the Motor City continues its comeback. The aptly-named Frisky is evidence it’s a two-way interchange.

She started putting on makeup, mostly working her lashes and lips, checking me out as I was sitting on the couch with my guitar in my lap. I could see her stealing glances at me in the mirror. We were alone.
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Art: “Harlequin with Guitar 1919” by Juan Gris.
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With the fiction and at our Features page you’ll find actual photos of Jack– and his boots.
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(Also keep up-to-date with the All-Time American Writers Tournament.)

A Pop Canon?

All-Time American Writers Tournament

Did pop literature exist in the past?

Absolutely! Our latest bracket selections for the big Tournament include two of the most famous, hugely popular, world-renowned writers ever— both American– in the persons of Jack London and Edgar Allan Poe. From the days when the most fascinating, charismatic, or crazy persons in society became writers. (Which made for fascinating reading.)

Another selectee, Emily Dickinson, could be called a pop poet. The fourth, Tennessee Williams, a pop playwright? That’s stretching it.

Does their work hold up?

Read Jack London’s terrific story “Lost Face” and find out.

–in the foundations of the world was graved this end for him– for him, who was so fine and sensitive, whose nerves scarcely sheltered under his skin, who was a dreamer, and a poet, and an artist. Before he was dreamed of, it had been determined that the quivering bundle of sensitiveness that constituted him should be doomed to live in raw and howling savagery–

Fiction as Life, as Emotion, as Art

Pop Lit Fiction

PART OF OUR MISSION at New Pop Lit is to present the most powerful fiction we can find, from the best new writers. We fulfill that mission with our newest short story, “The Fetus,” by Clint Margrave. It’s a tale of high school and bullying, but it’s more than that. Art’s task is to give us the complexity and confusions of life; of our crazy, cruel, three-dimensional world.

The bell rang and Mr. Schlosser asked us to open our textbooks to the introductory chapter.

“Biology is the study of living things,” he said. “One of the central questions we’ll be exploring this semester is what does it mean to be alive?”

(Artwork: “Still Life” by Juan Gris.)
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p.s. Also stay up on the All-Time American Writers Tournament!

Literature and the Underground

Feature

THIS WEEK we briefly explore the subculture of literature with our long-overdue final installment of Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age, in which we examine a diverse array of personalities from Bob Dylan to Aaron Cometbus, on up to underground writers of now– who create work just a tad rougher, wilder, and real than standard refined “literary” writing.

Accompanying the essay is a new story by one of our favorite zine writers, fishspit. The story is titled, “I Was a Juvenile Delinquent– Now I’m Just a Delinquent.”

Even the title wouldn’t make it through an MFA program!

Them teachers weren’t the sharpest set of educators. You had to be pretty doltish to wind up down there . . . nobody with an ounce of spirit, a dram of intelligence, would put up with that kind of horror-show. We were a regular freak show . . . the teachers were about as intelligent as carnies.

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(ONGOING at one of our blogs is the All-Time American Writers Tournament. The latest news there is an appreciation of a prominent American author by Samuel Stevens. Don’t miss a post!)

Hemingway and Pynchon?

Announcement

Pynchon and Hemingway? Could two writers be more dissimilar, yet, as slightly cracked and original American authors, so much the same?

PYNCHON APPRECIATED
First, see the latest Appreciation, this one by D. Greenhorn, at the All-Time American Writers Tournament.

HEMINGWAY DAY REVISITED
Second, as today is Ernest Hemingway’s 118th birthday, we invite readers to partake again of last year’s festivities, with discussion of his reputation here, and our “Searching for Hemingway” travelogue here. (An Appreciation of Hem by Samuel Stevens is upcoming next week.)
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We have much new stuff upcoming, including terrific new fiction from Clint Margrave, Wred Fright, Anne Leigh Parrish, and other familiar and unfamiliar names. Plus other surprises.

Until then, enjoy July– when dogs are sleeping, editors are lazy, and everyone should be reading New Pop Lit, the stay-cool literary site.

Double Controversy

All-Time American Writers Tournament

NOW we’ve stepped into it! Two literary controversies at one time, both of them connected to the All-Time American Writers Tournament. (We’ve been offering exclusive coverage of the tourney here.)

FIRST is the seldom-discussed matter of T.S. Eliot. Where lies his allegiance? America or Britain? Is Eliot considered a British poet– or an American one? Where should lie our allegiance? Contribute to the discussion, if you dare– should you care– here.

SECOND, we believe we’ve thrown new and historic light on the friendship between the two biggest names in American literary history, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. How deep went their feud? WAS Scott a passive actor– a simple punching bag; on the receiving end of Ernest’s shots and scorns– as our nation’s most esteemed lit critics seem to believe? Or did Fitzgerald get his shots in against one-time protégé Hemingway– not once, but twice?

Are we prepared to take on the entire U.S. lit-crit establishment over this issue?

YES!

Read about the matter here.

State-of-the-art thinking about writing and writers, letters and words, only at New Pop Lit.
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(Public domain image of Ritz Bar in Paris with photo of Scott Fitzgerald.)