Literary Fan Is Here!

Announcement

DEBUT OF AN EXCITING NEW LITERARY PUBLICATION

We are hewing a path, with our new print publications– “zeens”– toward the future of literature and publishing. Which means, making everything about literature and its presentation way more exciting.

OUR LATEST demonstration model toward that end is Literary Fan Magazine, now on sale at our POP SHOP.

Everything about this offering is fun and unique. For example: For most literary publications, visuals are an afterthought. For us they’re an essential part of the whole. In designing this modest magazine we worked to achieve synergy between words and images. To have each page complement the one next to it, when the journal is opened and you’re reading it.

WHY POP LIT?
a story

In 2012, after the television show “Mad Men” made reference to the movie “Bye Bye Birdie,” a Philadelphia theater on Broad Street showed the 1963 film on a giant screen. In attendance were many students from the nearby University of the Arts. Also in one of the seats was the future editor of New Pop Lit.

The film– hardly a classic; much of it is ridiculous– is a profusion of well-designed images. Presented in wide-screen Panavision, the movie’s day-glo colors and ceaseless energy popped off the screen. The experience was one of pure fun.

This is the kind of well-designed effect we want to give with our new print publication, Literary Fan Magazine.

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More Carnival Fun

Pop Fiction

IN LINE with the fun carnival vibe we’ve been following in anticipation of the March 3 release of our next print publication, we present today as featured story “Carnival Fun” by Jeremy Perry. Perry presents a vivid slice of old-fashioned Americana, a look at the experience of attending a small-town carnival– a precursor and reflection of our entire P.T. Barnum ballyhoo civilization full of life and color, grotesqueries and attractions. The story is entertaining yet conveys reality, even poignancy, regarding the characters and their experience. A terrific, deceptively subtle tale. We hope you enjoy it.

We traipsed down the makeshift hallway that was petitioned off with dark curtain barriers. Twenty feet in and to the right was Lizard Man. He moved around in a tall Plexiglas box. Mounted high in a corner was a flood light, and on the floor I saw a food dish with slices of fruit in it.On the far side was a log inclined against a boulder. He moved around slowly in his lizard habitat. He wore green Spandex shorts and like I said, the rest of him was tattooed and covered in green lizard skin. He came crawling over and stopped in front of the girl. His eyes locked-in on her. His head made snappy jerks, left, right, up, down, and his tongue flicked the air. He played the part well.

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(Art: “Pip and Flip” by Reginald Marsh; “Mermaid” by Fred G. Johnson.)

Literary Fan Is Coming

Announcement

LITERARY FAN MAGAZINE IS COMING!

SOON SOON SOON SOON SOON SOON SOON

WHY a photograph of a car?

Maybe to signal that our newest publication, Literary Fan Magazine, is manufactured downriver from Detroit, in an area of closed shops and abandoned vehicles– but also of new life and fresh opportunity.

“Manufactured” might be the wrong word, because Lit Fan will be hand-crafted. Organic. Nothing processed about it.

The car is there also to signal we don’t take this project or this new “zeen” ultra seriously. We want it to be fun. We’ve imbued a carnival vibe into it.

INCLUDED in the publication will be at least a dozen new writers, some writing seriously, others, not.

Our chief goal with the printed publication is this: That it be unlike anything seen anywhere. The reader of it will judge whether we accomplished that or not.

Available March 3rd at our POP SHOP.

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Valentine’s 2021

Poetry

LOVE PROSE/POETRY

WITH all the hating going on right now coming in from every direction, the universe could use more love.

Positive loving vibes issuing forth into the atmosphere to transform one and all.

With this in mind we offer before St. Valentine’s Day six love poems by Toronto musician/writer Tom Preisler. They well cover the inevitable ups and downs which come with loving someone.

(Tom will be featured in an upcoming print publication of ours, Extreme Zeen 2, due in April. We’ll also have a photo of him in our next print zeen, due soon. We like to spotlight the best new writers, and Tom Preisler is a good one.)

There is this loneliness everywhere,

You can see it in the front door of a supermarket store, its reflecting in your beer and untouched whisky,

It’s in the face of a woman waiting for a telephone call that never comes, in a one bedroom apartment with plastic flowers in waterless vase, untouched, unloved,
faithfully waiting for each night to pass.

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(Art: “The Dancer” by Andre Derain.)

Are Fast Food Poems Pop?

Poetry

DILEMMAS OF CORPORATE CULTURE

ARE fast food poems pop? Or art? Andy Warhol would argue they’re the essence of pop art.

Corporate culture is ubiquitous and it’s also America’s addition to the culture of the world. Coca-Cola wasn’t simply a brand. It advertised American populist ideology to the planet. Some might call it cultural imperialism and others would say it’s only a soft drink.

Jimmy John’s is just a sandwich.

Where do we draw the line? Is the intersection of art and commerce allowable? The bigger question: Is it avoidable?

Our take: If a competing literary site can dedicate their entire oeuvre and reason-for-being to a fast food taco chain, then we can present three terrific prose poems about Jimmy John’s.

Chelsea Sieg is one of the best young writers we’ve come across in a while. A writer with the rare ability to combine humor and poignancy with a perfect flow of words so that afterward you shake your head at the accomplishment. Three prose poems: “The Jimmy John’s Poem Collection.” Read them.

it was a simple, quiet, two am kind of happiness, the kind you don’t have to think that hard about. it was a small, soft hope. and I would have eaten every sandwich on the goddamn menu, mustard and all, to keep it alive.

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(Art: “Still LIfe with a Beer Mug” by Fernand Leger.)

Adventure and Style in Fiction

Pop Lit Fiction

STANDARD in classic fiction of the past, especially from short story writers, was a sense of style or adventure– or both. Jack London and O. Henry emphasized adventure— albeit very different types of adventure: wilderness and oceans on the one hand, stray unpredictable adventures which could assault a person in cities like New York on the other. Writers Edith Wharton, Henry James, and F. Scott Fitzgerald placed more emphasis on the kinds of styles exhibited by their characters, and from the sophisticated settings in which they moved. This was back when the short story was the popular American art form.

Today we present a story which captures that much-needed sense of mystery, adventure, and style, “The Names Divine” by C. A. Shoultz. Our first feature of 2021, with more to follow.

In due course they arrived atop the stairs. Simon walked beyond the masked man and beheld a table covered in black velvet. A sign above it, written in gold script, said: “Choose your mask. Choose your name.” Sure enough, upon the table were a small number of masks just like his escort was wearing. They were widely and irregularly spaced apart, a sign that many others had come here before him and done what he was about to do.

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(Art: Above: “At the Masked Ball” by Jean-Louis Forain. Below: A section of a poster for a movie by Gaumont Films.)

Welcome 2021!

Announcement

FOR US and what we’re trying to accomplish with this project, 2020 was a learning year. Learning not only about paper, printing, and design– which will pay dividends (we hope) with our print publications this year, but also, further learning about what does and does not work with the short story regarding pace, viewpoint, momentum, the ending, and much else. Our philosophy is simple: Always Be Improving.

WE BELIEVE more than ever the short story can be much better than it is now, or has ever been. The trick is perfecting new techniques to prove this.

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COMING to this our main site early this year will be new work by talented writers such as Charles Shoultz, Chelsea Sieg, and Tom Preisler. Fiction, prose poetry, poetry– and much else. We’re very selective– we have our own unique standards– but the one thing we look for is talent. New talent wherever we can find it. Follow us or otherwise keep up with what we’re doing, because a lot is going to happen in 2021.

IN THE MEANTIME, check out the latest post at our NEWS blog. Thanks!

After Christmas Fiction

Pop Fiction

TWAS THE DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS. . . .

Many people are off work the week between Christmas and New Year’s– and this year many are out of work– and given winter weather in many parts of the world containing our audience– and with the lockdowns– many are stuck at home regardless. Which means it’s an ideal time to read a Day-After-Christmas story, “The Huffy” by Richard Daub, about– what else– a gift gone awry. Give it a read.

“They got you a Huffy?” Eric laughed, referring to Carl’s new bike. “Huffys are for losers. Did they buy it at Sears?”

“I don’t know,” Carl said, knowing they probably did. His mother always took them to Sears to buy school clothes. “I asked for a Mongoose.”

In Massapequa, Mongoose was the Corvette of BMX bikes, while their “Supergoose” model was like a Ferrari. Huffys were like a Le Car.

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(Art: “The Christmas Hamper” by Robert Braithwaite Martineau.)

Tale of the Christmas Bear 2020

Pop Fiction

(YET ANOTHER REPRISE OF A NEW POP LIT CHRISTMAS STORY.)

jamestissotthejourneyofthemagi

THREE MEN were having trouble lugging their packages across the desert from afar, and came across a depressed bear. Depressed because there wasn’t much to do for a bear in the desert. A bear in a desert? Anyway, the bear was feeling purposeless and alone, and didn’t know if he could “bear it” much longer.

“Why oh why oh why oh why?” he asked, in bear talk.

The three men saw the bear lying in the sand, moaning, with his paws over his head. The three looked at one another.

 “After all, it is Christmas,” one of them said, with a perplexed look in his eyes.

“Yes, it is,” one of the other three said.

 “Yes!” said the third. “It truly is. It really really is.”

 He took his smartphone from his robes and looked at it. Yep, there it was. December 24th. Christmas Eve. Year 0000.

“It’s decided then,” the three said simultaneously, and wondered that the three of them, each from a separate faraway land, had said the same thing.

So together in one voice they asked the despondent animal if he’d like to try “bearing” something useful– their heavy packages of gold, frankincense, and myrrh– to a destination in Bethlehem. The packages were in fact quite heavy and overburdening the camels. Encountering the bear was a fortunate occurrence. Almost miraculous. The bear gladly agreed, as the three men seemed particularly wise to him. He’d seen men before, who were not wise. Not wise at all. But these men were.

The little caravan continued on to Bethlehem until they found shepherds and animals congregated outside a tiny stable behind an inn. The three wise men strode in, bearing their gifts, while the bear quietly crept in behind them and took a place in the straw beside the other animals, who were first alarmed because, after all, he was a bear. But then they looked at the baby and weren’t alarmed at all.

 From that day forward the bear was always forever more a happy bear.

 THE END

fraangelicaoadorationofthemagi

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from New Pop Lit!

 -Karl Wenclas and Kathleen M. Crane
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(Paintings: “The Journey of the Magi” by James Tissot; “Adoration of the Magi” by Fra Angelico.)

The Art of Narrative

Pop Lit Fiction

AN EXAMPLE OF SHORT STORY ARTISTRY

Our new fiction feature is about a church in the woods. A simple story which shows what can be done with the short story by keeping it simple. What matters most with this particular writing genre– the short story– is not how many well-wrought sentences and long paragraphs you can string together as an example of talent– but the form of a particular story. Its construction. Design. Momentum. Flow.

NOT MUCH MORE can be said about this particular tale, “The Narrow Path,” by Zach Smith, without giving away the key to its plot. Suffice it to say it’s in the tradition of classic short stories from when the short story was THE popular American art form. When the form of the story was all. When story endings were the point of the works, as exhibited by masters of the art such as O. Henry, Jack London, or Frank Stockton.

There’s a clue somewhere within the last part of the previous paragraph– about the story’s plot– if you can find it!

(Note: It’s also a Christmas story.)

The church is two stories, taller than it is wide, without a second floor. A taut wire, an inch in diameter stretches from wall to wall, ten feet above the pews, with a second shorter wire intersecting it above the altar.

The door opens for Sunday service, and the congregation files in. The church is open to everyone, but few people come, less and less every year.

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(Art: “Deer in Forest” by Franz Marc; “Indian Church” by Emily Carr.)