Love in Naples

Pop Lit Fiction

AT A TIME of year when many of us are facing winter’s fury or at least cold gray skies trudging through bleak landscapes and simultaneously being bombarded with the cultural family social pressures bad music of the Christmas holidays, what could be more escapist than love in Naples? 

Our new feature story aims toward exactly that, “The Date” by Robert Steward.

We hope you enjoy it!

I looked at her, at the way her mouth went, and the curve of her cheekbones, at her bluey-green eyes, the flecks of amber round her pupils, and at the way her hair fell over her eyes.

She caught me looking at her, and I felt something in the air between us, something pure, intense; it made me shiver inside.

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(Art: “Eruption of Vesuvius” by Alessandro Sanquirico.)

 

Pushcart Art

Announcement

OUR 2019 PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINATIONS

AS WE ARE at present strictly a bootstrap, “pushcart” enterprise (with plans to dramatically change that standing), we appreciate the intent behind the annual Pushcart Press Pushcart Prize collections. Being able to nominate a few of the quality writers who publish work with us is one of the great blessings we receive from running this literary project.

WE BELIEVE our site is particularly in synch with the Pushcart spirit– not solely because of our small size, but also because we’re endeavoring to create a new model for both short fiction and poetry. A model not only different from standard “Big Five” publishing, but from the kind of work featured in more established literary magazines and included in such anthologies.

ANYWAY, here are our 2019 nominations. We invite you to click on the links to the work, and read or reread the nominated pieces.

Thanks!
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(Art: Graffiti in Ann Arbor, Michigan.)

Reading for Colder Weather

Pop Lit Fiction

Colder weather is upon us! Sooner than anyone expected. Which means it’s a good time for reading. At New Pop Lit we have several options for the discriminating reader.

FIRST is our new feature story, “Pretty Women Never Sit Next to Me on Airplanes”  by Jason Feingold, a much-published short story writer making his first appearance with us. As its title indicates, it’s a quick tale about traveling. As so many of you will be traveling somewhere in the coming weeks, with the holidays nearly upon us, we believe you’ll find the story timely.

Age fourteen was my last good year. I’d peaked, and I never realized it until about fifteen minutes ago, because fifteen minutes ago is when I realized I’ll never have a renaissance.
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WE ALSO offer a review of a controversial new book by Dana Schwartz, The White Man’s Guide to White Male Writers of the Western Canon. Does the book live up to the controversy?
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FINALLY, we have at our NPL News blog (which presents the latest literary news, uncensored) an editorial about this past week’s layoffs at Bustle magazine. The editorial is bold. Don’t be thrown by it. As an upstart literary project with large ambitions, confidence in our project is the first requirement.

Read away.
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(Art by Heinrich Campendonk.)

Ghosts and Nightmares

Pop Lit Fiction

HALLOWEEN 2019

WITH Halloween upon us– leaves changing color, weather becoming chilly– do our dreams change? Do they fill with dreads and shadows, specters from other worlds? Are they frighteningly real– more real than reality itself?

For this Halloween we have a story which explores these notions, about a boy, and his parents, and a house. . . .

The story by Joel Allegretti is “The Obb.”

Mommy?

It flapped its arms like a crows wings. Alex screamed, and it was gone. He heard footsteps pounding through the hall. His mother flipped the wall switch. The sudden light shocked his eyes.

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NOTE: We also have recorded poetry from Joel Allegretti at our ongoing Open Mic feature, with another Allegretti audio poem soon to follow. 

Good stuff!

head of a skeleton with a burning cigarette van gogh

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(Art: “Skeleton Stopping the Masks” by James Ensor; “Head of a Skeleton” by Vincent van Gogh.)

Novel Excerpt from Brian Eckert

Pop Lit Fiction

BEST NEW WRITERS DEPARTMENT

ONE of the premises of the New Pop Lit project is that a pool of overlooked talent exists in this world, this society. Overlooked for a variety of reasons– lack of connections, or correctness, or proper credentials. Or simply because of an unwillingness to conform to dictates of the institutional mob, whether those dictates be ideological or aesthetic.

OUR mission is to showcase such writers. One of the best of them without question is Brian Eckert. To come to that conclusion all one need do is read his writing– consistently of high quality. As with this excerpt from his short novel, Into the Vortex. A story about a journalist investigating the West who discovers a canyon seemingly beyond time and space.

In spite of my skepticism I began seeing signs of architecture on the rock. I made out an ornate window framed in metallic blue with a holographic patina. I also saw a hieroglyphic-like depiction of what appeared to be a flying saucer. But as I looked closer I saw only rock.

eye of horus

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(Main painting: watercolor copy by Nina Degaris Davies of an Egyptian wall painting )

The Masked Writer

Pop Fiction

KNOWING the literary game today is understanding that many of the best new writers circulating through the internet use pen names. A reaction to Cancel Culture? Possibly.

Judging by their work, we believe several of these little-known scribblers have the potential to become outstanding. To be part of the kind of real literary revival we seek. Time will tell if their potential becomes reality.

Our task as a literary project is to promote writing talent wherever we find it. For our new feature we present a short story, “The Prop Comic” by Bud E. Ice, which provides attributes of accomplished fiction: atmosphere, character, drama– and palpable tension. A story about a trip to a comedy club which becomes more a view of the defeated, the desperate, and, maybe, the insane. A quick glimpse at the underside of contemporary society. Read the tale and see. You won’t be disappointed.

Deep down this guy knew that the show was sorry and meaningless and full of a variety of wannabes, including himself. How could he be excited? The crowd wasn’t even excited. The fact that they were really trying to pull off a Vegas-like atmosphere, and were getting nowhere close, gave me second hand embarrassment. 

1-man-in-the-iron-mask

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ON OTHER FRONTS, check out our second “Pop Quiz” Q & A, this one with Angelo Lorenzo.

ALSO, see the latest performance at our Open Mic“I Comfort Crow Jane” by renowned poet Joel Allegretti, who’s written a Halloween story we’ll be featuring at New Pop Lit in a few weeks.

Three terrific story writers. A preview of many things which will be happening at this site.

Tornadoes and Other Fronts

Feature, Poetry

A POP LIT POTPOURRI 

We’re out to create literary tornadoes. Toward that end we point the reader to three new-or-recent posts at this project.

FIRST we have a new feature, “Tornado Country” by poet John Grey. Two very good poems for your reading pleasure.

and cars, long and proud and American made

explode like firecrackers in the heat of day,

and some small town like Millville is razed like it’s Babylon,

SECOND, we did a short “Pop Quiz” Q & A with the author of our previous feature, Transhumanist Presidential candidate Rachel Haywire

THIRD, a return of our NPL News blog with a quick look at Lana DelRey and a possible? connection to future literary stars, “Reverse Jekyll and Hyde.”

Must reading to stay current with the Pop Lit literary scene.
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(Art: “Tornado Over Kansas” by John Steuart Curry.)

Futurist Stylistics

Pop Lit Fiction

CUTTING EDGE OF THE CUTTING EDGE

We live in dystopian times. Our mad society is on the verge of major technological upheavals. A host of new writers are caught up in the current sense of frantic energy– writing or philosophizing clamorously in attempts to capture that energy before it consumes everything.

As often as not this results in politics as performance. Ideas as style.

Case in point: the multifaceted career of Transhumanist Party candidate Rachel Haywire. From her campaign website:

This includes her radical political journey from the far left to the dissident right to beyond the center, her artistic and bohemian upbringing, her visionary transhumanist ideas, and her plans to defeat Trump using a pirate spaceship. 

Rachel Haywire is a cultural futurist, industrial musician, model, designer– and writer, with a distinctive neopop style that combines artistic clarity with dystopian edge, as featured in her book/manifesto called The New Art Right.

We’re fortunate to present an excerpt from that book, “The Kingdom.” Fitting for New Pop Lit to follow a nonfiction essay by a Hollywood producer with fiction by a Presidential candidate. Part of our determination to take an active part in popular culture. Wherever that takes us.

Futuristic fiction?

The future is NOW.

When she blew it all up I stood there in awe, wondering if we could ever get back to The Kingdom. Pixels burning like the flesh of the old human race, a new era was about to begin. Each wire collapsing, the holocaust of machines did not ask us to just “click here” any longer.

flora gerardo dottori
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(Art: “The City Rises” by Umberto Boccioni; “Flora” by Gerardo Dottori.)

Celebrity Nation

Feature

AMERICA as a culture and civilization has centered itself around celebrities, for good and ill. Electronic gods coming to us through our televisions and computer screens. Who are these facsimiles of people? What are these personalities– these manufactured(?) personas– actually like?

Our new feature, “Jerry and Me” — by long-time Hollywood writer, director, and producer Alan Swyer— looks at one of the leading Hollywood-and-Vegas celebrities of the 20th century, comedian Jerry Lewis– best remembered today as forever host of the Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy telethons. A comic genius, but at the same time an extremely complicated, many-faceted individual. A contradictory personality which Swyer well captures in his up-close-and-personal memoir of the man.

His agents did nothing but, as he put it, “blow smoke up my ass,” telling him incessantly what he wanted to hear, which was how wonderful he was. Even worse were the staffers at his office in Century City, whose primary functions, other than fawning relentlessly, were doing his bidding and, when he felt the need to vent over something real or imagined, bearing the brunt of his wrath.
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marilynmonroe-warhol

WHICH raises the question of celebrity in the literary scene. Is there a place for it? Does the art lose by not creating larger-than-life figures who can stand as blazing symbols attracting new readers to a marginalized cultural form? Is this possible? Desirable?

Those are questions we at New Pop Lit are determined to answer.
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(Art: “Animal Clown” by James Pollock; “Marilyn Monroe” by Andy Warhol.)

Technicolor World

Essay

THIS WEEKEND is the largest of the many “Dream Cruise” events taking place every summer in the Detroit area. A parade of many hundreds of colorful classic cars– most from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s– in this instance cruising up and down Woodward Avenue, long the main drag in town.

car detroit 3

A dream cruise is a celebration of summer and of car culture, engaged in by fans of the unique blend of technology and artistry which the automobile at its best represents. They’re a celebration of Detroit, and really, of America. 

But what they are also is a celebration of color and style. Technicolor-level style and color, which seem to have vanished from today’s monochrome world.

REBEL-web-updated2050

Many movie directors today bleed much of the color out of their flicks. Gone are the glories of a vibrant assault of sensation, as experienced by moviegoers of a bygone era. The problem is that this same process has taken place in the world at large. Including in many aspects of today’s culture.

(Melodrama? What’s melodrama? Where any longer is an over-the-top expression of emotion and plot?)

We’ve become a cautious, timid society, everyone monitoring their words, thoughts, and emotions. Can’t have too many emotions, or you’ll be medicated. The watchword is safety. Play it safe! Which for the creative artist is death.

OnceUponATimeInHollywood1

A handful of snarky New York City film critics dismissed Quentin Tarantino’s new film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” as too retro. Artistically reactionary. A celebration of a bygone era never to come back. But is it? Isn’t it rather a celebration of the glories of style and ART?
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The past two summers we’ve featured what might be considered Technicolor fiction. Awash in color, and also romance. Young love. Upbeat expressions of the possibilities of life, which still exist if we step out of our cocoons of doom and grab for them.

Last year we ran “The Austin Strangler” by Nick Gallup.

This year, we featured Angelo Lorenzo‘s “Spoiler Alert.”

These are both fun, “pop” reads with a pop sensibility and outlook– painted as much as written on the page.

Read them, or reread them. They represent the basic foundation of what we and the pop-lit style are all about.
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(Painting: “Airplanes on the Metropolis” by Tullio Crali.)