A New Avant-Garde?

Pop Lit Fiction

CAN there be a new avant-garde in the writing game?

Can an avant-garde be anything but new?

We started the year looking for writing which strives to set a different tone and appearance from the accepted and the acceptable. From the same and the sane. One of the works we’ve accepted along that line we present to you today: “Turning Over the CD,” a novel excerpt by Anthony Kane Evans.

ONE OF the first stories we accepted for this project was also by Anthony, and showed his unique style. Anthony’s writing is marked by its clarity and conciseness– which allows him the ability to toy with new ideas in presentation. This piece follows the first rule of artistic change: disorient then reorient the reader. As you’ll see.

I slam the car door behind me. A fat lot of good that will do. I mean, it is not going to join the two halves of this book together. I consider, for one awful moment, to throw the CD away. There is a pond in a field nearby. I imagine skimming the CD across its placid surface. I stop. There are frogs over there, I can hear them singing. My God, is it that time of the year again? Have we been so long on the road? Has this blackness which I am now a part of been going on since Vienna and am I only now aware of it?

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But what of the avant-garde?

What is “avant-garde” anyway beyond a widely-used marketing phrase from the 1920’s? Is it intellectual writing existing in an airless John Cage glass box suspended over the heads of the potential audience: isolated; sterile; detached? Or should it not instead follow Richard Wright’s prescribed path (per literary historian Paula Rabinowitz): folk art to popular art, then to politics?

Or: Can an avant-garde be a vanguard (the literal translation) without a popular following to be the vanguard of? We’re not certain, are only asking. The difficult trick for all who pursue the literary game is to find or create that following.

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