March Literary Madness?

Announcement

AMERICA is captivated by the ongoing NCAA basketball tournament. Office pools choosing winners and losers have made their picks. Tremendous interest in the sport thereby generated.

What if there were a writers tournament?

And so, we’ll soon begin at this site the semi-fictional “All-Time American Writers Tournament,” pitting novelists against playwrights against poets to decide WHO is the best of them all.

Would such a tournament work?

Only if others contribute– in aligning the brackets and judging the contests.

Hemingway against Updike? Mary McCarthy versus Joyce Carol Oates? It could be competitive and fun.

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The question arises: IS there such thing as American literature?

The nation was far into its history before its literature was taken seriously by the rest of the world– only when it became the true voice of the land and the people; ALL the American people. It’d be crazy to throw that away.

Our literature has been expressed through a diverse collection of writers who are uniquely American. Melville to Millay. Emerson to Ellison. Beecher Stowe to Maya Angelou.

Stay tuned.

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(We’ll also be getting back to our other ongoing feature, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age,” very soon.)

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(Artwork by Jacques-Louis David.)

 

Pop Lit Style

Pop Lit Fiction

We’re stylists. We look for writers who are creating what we consider to be pop lit style. That elusive hybrid that’s both “pop” and “literature.”

One of the best of them is Calder Lorenz. His story for us, “The Good Road Gone,” has elements of noir combined with a terse style and a sense of the literary. Pop writing that means something. We think you’ll like it.

He heard the car door. He looked at the clock on the windowsill: 3:04. He smiled at that. He got the rifle and then he loaded the clip. He wore a gold medal around his neck: St. Anthony. It was a gift. Something lucky he’d gotten before he’d gone off.

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(Also read our News blog notice on Calder’s just-released novel.)

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Art by Sonia Delaunay.

 

Pushing Artistic Bounds

Pop Lit Fiction

We make the point again and again. In this noisy age literature in all its forms has to change. To become far more exciting– within the culture; to the general populace.

In Part III of our overview, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age,” we’ve profiled young writers who bring new perspectives to fiction. Who have the talent to reinvent the art. Few fit this designation better than Jess Mize, who’s been making noise across a variety of upstart lit sites. We have an excerpt from Jess’s novel-in-progress. Fittingly, the story is about reinvention.THEN stay tuned for a new profile of Jess and her writing, due in a few days.

At New Pop Lit, the future is NOW.

The young boy learned in one fell swoop of his powers and of the neurotic, mysterious trance of performance art. It was like seeing lightning strike a natural object right in front of your eyes, the electrical force penetrating your mind and becoming a live, vibrating current in the conduit of your brain waves.

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(Art by Jean Metzinger.)

Future Style

Pop Lit Fiction

At New Pop Lit we’re on a mad search for future writing styles– and for new styles for writers themselves. We foresee a changed literary landscape where writers’ personas are inseparable from their work. Once, writers were public figures. They deserve to be so again.

Which brings us to Lauren N. Jackson, third of our “Young Writers,” part of an long examination of literature today which we’re calling “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.” The four examples we’re using are each extremely talented, albeit in markedly different ways.

Are there commonalities between the four of them? Yes!

First, their writing styles are striking and economical. A Pop Lit requirement.

Second, all of the four convey a sense of unease, even bewilderment, at the world before them.

This is the case with Lauren N. Jackson’s entry in our series, “The Spore Guild.”

Does art equal madness, and madness art? Read her tale and decide for yourself.

(THEN read commentary on Lauren and her writing, as we add to our “Hyper-Talents” essay. Be sure to scroll down.)

Now the question I’ve finally allowed on my lips is – what’s out there? What haunts us, hunts us, destroys us? How much longer do we have? Will I go truly mad? What if I already am? Perhaps my whole reality has shifted in my head and I only think I’m living my true life.

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(Art: “The Revolt” by Luigi Russolo.)

Cooler Writers?

Pop Lit Fiction

–in which we continue Part III, “The Young Writers,” of our overview of today’s literary scene, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.” Continue reading the essay here, as we’ve added commentary about the second of four young writers to be profiled, Eli Cranor. THEN read Eli’s excellent short story about the teaching profession, “Five Minutes.”

As you’ll see, the question posed during this part of the essay is, “Can writers become cultural stars?” Our answer to the question is a resounding “YES!”– but we acknowledge it won’t be easy. Every cultural force has its beginnings. With the Beatles it was dive clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg. With revived literature, it might be right here. . . .

Mr. Koontz first few weeks at school had involved very little details. Instead there were a lot of situations like this: a large blonde woman sits down in front of you and she has a daughter, they look nice enough, but you can’t remember the girl’s name, not even a detail like her name.

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(Painting: “The Fate of the Animals” by Franz Marc.)

 

The Young Writers: Overview Part III

Feature, Pop Lit Fiction

Our series on new happenings in today’s literary world continues. “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.”

Part III looks at the new generation of writers– literature’s hope and future. We were going to call this section “The Lost,” as a nod to the Lost Generation of the 1920’s, a huge influence on a couple of the best young writers we’ll be featuring. We decided that designation was too downbeat. We’re optimists. We might as likely call this section “The Found”– talented individuals who found writing as their preferred means of expression, when they might instead have been painters or musicians or movie directors.

(Of course, there are no longer painters; musicians are reduced to the atonal or electronic, the human element cut out. Movies? Are there still movies to speak of? The Academy Awards are this weekend, and by all accounts contain not an outstanding crop.)

No, the future belongs to writers– to new literature. We kick off this part of our overview with a new story by Samuel Stevens, “Greener Country Grass.” This will be followed by new work by three other young talents, as fast as we can ready and post them.

Despite his youth (he’s still in college), Samuel Stevens is a thinker, essayist, and novelist, as well as writing in the shorter form. Definitely a name on the literary scene for years to come. Read his story now.

“Do you have a lot of money like Ray?” one of them asked.

She took me aback. “No,” I said. Ray did come from a well off family. The girls were all a little drunk; Loeb must have been keeping them supplied while I talked to the bartender. I pulled up a chair and sat down.

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(Painting: “The Red Tower” by Robert Delaunay.)

Portraits: Lit Overview Part II

Feature

WHY the photo of the Tesla Motors vehicle which has been breaking speed records? Because THAT’S what we at New Pop Lit are about. We started this project to reinvent the literary art. To find or produce literary products faster, cleaner, more efficient and more exciting than the norm.

We believe the literary art has to change and will change. We see contemporary American literature trapped in a “salon” mentality– centered on one east coast island, within five monster conglomerates housed in overpriced skyscrapers, publishing only strictly correct and approved writers.

Things already are changing! 2017 marks the existence of scores of upstart literary outfits such as ours– and many thousands of DIY authors who don’t apply the “rules” because they never heard of the rules. Yes, much of the work is mediocre or worse– but at the same time, room is created for the new. For the arrival of the VanGogh-Gaugin self-motivated genius who’ll go so far outside the bounds, art will be overturned. A writer who’ll break all artistic speed records– or maybe, go into untrod areas in the creation of meaning and emotion.

This has begun to happen, in small ways. The purpose of our series, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age,” is to showcase writers who’ve pushed right up to the bounds of literary creation, and in so doing, point the way to truly revamped and renewed stories and poems.

Among the writers we discuss is Anne Leigh Parrish, who’s appeared here before. We’re privileged to present her latest story, “Picture This.” Clarity? Simplicity? Emotion? Anne Leigh touches the right chords.

We discuss Ms. Parrish and those right artistic chords at our News blog in Part II of our Overview. Enter the literary future. Read both story and overview now.

He’d grown up with three brothers and two sisters, a house full of noise and misery, hatred and resentment, never able to have his own space. That’s why he became an artist—the lure of escape.

 

Storytellers

Feature

NEW LITERARY TALENTS PART I

Today we start an ambitious series examining a new wave of talented writers. Our plan is to combine literary criticism, reviews, and new fiction for a multi-faceted look at American literature NOW; utilizing as many aspects of the New Pop Lit website as possible.

First up: The opening installment of a far-reaching overview, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.”

AT THE SAME TIME we present for readers a new short story, “Yacht Party,” from Scott Cannon, one of two narrative writers profiled in our essay, along with Tom Ray.

yacht-1

Does Scott’s story support the words expressed in the essay? You decide!

The scene froze at its climax; a spotlight haloed the head of the actor playing Lucas on the screen, then swept to the back of the room to light up the incandescent entrance of The Man himself, flanked by two beautiful women and followed by a small cadre of security. The thunder of the ovation in the packed ballroom as he ascended to the podium still rang in Lucas’ ears.

 

Elusive Instinct

Pop Lit Fiction

TODAY we present a short but striking tale by brilliant new talent Ana Prundaru, whose poems, stories, and art have begun appearing across the globe. Which causes us to facetiously ask: Who is Ana Prundaru? Is this a cover name for an entire team of writers and artists able to produce, on whim, work notable for its sense of immediacy; of now? It’s the sense captured, we feel, in  “Elusive Instinct.” Read it and find out!

We danced through the fluorescence, edging somewhere between snaking seductively toward the bartender and giving each other crap for almost falling over. All this time I could feel his eyes on me. The tall guy who had interrupted me seemed to follow my every move and there was heaviness in the room. . . .

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Speaking of new talents, in one week we begin an ambitious series focused on the sudden rise in our post-literate age of individuals whose work screams, “Not yet! Writing still matters! Literature has not yet lost its importance.”

We’re here to announce that importance. The series is tentatively, ambitiously, hyperbolically titled “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.” It’ll start at sixty miles-per-hour then really kick into gear as we present what’s happening beneath the narrowed gaze of establishment gatekeepers. Stay tuned.

Who We Are

Announcement

As we prepare a couple big new features, and simultaneously wade through increasing numbers of submissions to the New Pop Lit “In” box, it might be time to again give readers information on ourselves and what we’re about.

Our roots are in the DIY print-zine movement. We believe in  art that’s organic, from the ground, the people, up, not imposed by inflexible institutions from on high. We support the democratization of literature. We are not status quo. We’re a new forum of literary opinion.

We believe in the importance of art. That fulfillment can be found through art.

We believe in literature and we believe in the uniqueness of American literature.

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At present New Pop Lit is run by a long-time promoter of underground “zine” writing gone legitimate, combined with a Detroit-area writer, Chicago-trained, who’s been involved in the worlds of design and fashion. We combine style, sense, and attitude.

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Currently we’re looking for parodists willing to do short takeoffs on famous American writers, for a feature due to run this March. Already taken: Norman Mailer; Emily Dickinson; Jack Kerouac. We have a half-assed version of Hemingway. Every version of Hemingway is a half-assed version 🙂

For more information email us at newpoplit@gmail.com

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Read our review of Alex Bernstein’s Plrknib at our News blog.

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A new short story from an exciting writer runs this Friday. Don’t miss it!

(Image: “The Painter on the Road to Tarascon” by Vincent van Gogh.)