The Battle Over Speech 2018

Controversy

Which side are YOU on?

The BATTLE over freedom of speech in America is heating up– and New Pop Lit is in the middle of it.

AT our New Pop Lit News blog we’ve been covering the squelching of speech; the censoring, banning, and blackballing of writers occurring RIGHT NOW across the internet.

banned

Three recent articles:

-A controversial Report about editors censoring, or apologizing for, writers at an Ohio State journal and at other venues.

-A Report about the removal of a Junot Diaz podcast from a book-world site, and the rationale behind this.

-A Report about the media frenzy generated by anonymous accusations against another prominent author, Jay Asher.

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FURTHER, to exhibit our belief that any topic is fair game for the talented writer, we’re reviving our Open Mic with an audio reading by D.C. Miller of his strange, perplexing, and provocative poem, “Antifa Whore.” 

We’re out to have fun– but every so often we’ll test the envelope. To misquote a critic, we’re diet edgy.

(But we also want people to know what side we’re on where freedom of expression is concerned.)
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(Art: “The Brawl” by Ernest Meissonier.)

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Poetry: Strange Creatures

Poetry

Poems about strange creatures? Summer is a time for the appearance of strange creatures– but are they creatures of our imaginations or the world? Shadows of night, of nature– or the otherworldly?

KEEPING an occasional fun aspect to this project, today we present three poems by Richard Stevenson, something of an eccentric but entertaining and subtly meaningful poet. (He’s a former professor, what do you expect?) Take a look.

Unrecorded species of orangutan,
survivor from the Pleistocene perhaps,
a small man-size hominid in any case.

But not prone to violence or aggression —
at least not so much as homo sapiens,

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ALSO, we have a ton of literary world investigations, revelations, and gossip at our NPL NEWS blog– with much more coming. Can’t-miss information for writers and readers alike.

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(Art: “St. George and the Dragon” by Paolo Uccello.)

How to Save Literature

Pop Fiction

WHAT?? Experimental DIY author Wred Fright is going to save literature?

Well, he and others like him will if they maintain their imaginative ways of looking at fiction and literature– at what qualifies as fiction and literature. New ways of presenting the art, being readable, hooking unaware members of the greater populace on reading. Sorry, folks, but in the long run– or really, the short run– well-crafted New Yorker stories full of long paragraphs of finely-tuned verbiage putting masses of Manhattan commuters on trains and subways, or businesspersons on crowded airplane flights, to sleep just aren’t going to cut it.

Fiction needs what to compete?

First, immediacy. Second, the unfamiliar. The humorous or surprising.

Tolstoy_by_Repin_1901_cropped

WE’RE NOT saying Wred Fright is Tolstoy, mind you. (Though one never knows how he’ll be treated in future centuries as mankind keeps changing. He may well be taught in 2118 at online universities, the brick and mortar kind having been long closed or turned into the very WalMarts that Mr. Fright loves to mock!)

Enough of this– read “Yelp in Reverse.” Thanks for being here!

It’s two in the morning, I just want to keep doing shots in the manager’s office and get through the night at what has to be the worst Walmart in America. I want to get out of this hellhole, but a gal dreaming of a lucrative career in retail management has to start somewhere.

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KEEP UP on News of the Literary World at New Pop Lit News.
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(Main art: “Still Life of Books” by Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Tolstoy painting by Repin.)

New Poetry: “The Dancer”

Poetry

WHAT do you want to read in the summer? What would anyone want to read right now? No one is snowbound, locked in a cabin with harsh wind whistling. More like lazy sunshine, seagulls and daydreams.

This ISN’T the time for heavy texts of French postmodern meanderings. (Nothing against the French!) It’s a time for escape, romance, and mood.

We present a taste of that mood with “The Dancer,” a poem by C.A. Shoultz.

The shadows and the glow upon her fell
In fitful swells and motions as she moved
In regular and tidy leaps and bounds
And pirouettes and arabesques of grace.

We aim to be THE best literary site. The quickest route there is by presenting the best poets and story writers. We invite you to join along.

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(Art: “Woman Before the Rising Sun” by Caspar David Friedrich; “Streetlamp” by Giacomo Balla.)

New Fiction: “Homecoming”

Pop Lit Fiction

JUST when you’ve had enough of summer and its heat, we come along with great summer reading set in Buffalo, New York, during the winter holidays. Snow! Cold! Blizzards!

The story is “Homecoming” by Michael Howard. It’s about a young woman returning home from sunny California during the Christmas season, encountering all the familiar warm faces and smells, but also something darker, lying wait inside the comfortable house. . . .

Lucy had the sensation that the room was growing smaller. She could feel her pulse thumping in her temples as she forced another smile and told him that it was nice of him to say so, but that they really should go back downstairs now. Her words didn’t seem to penetrate–

at dusk childe hassam

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(Paintings: “Murnau Burggrabenstrasse” by Wassily Kandinsky; “At Dusk” by Childe Hassam.)

 

War Within the Literary World

Controversy

RIGHT NOW the U.S. literary world is divided over the Junot Diaz Controversy– the Pulitzer Prize-winning author accused of sexual harassment by an array of accusers. Which side is telling the truth? On which side should be our sympathies?

WE’VE been covering the issue at our News blog. Our 14th post on the topic, “System versus Zeitgeist,” looks at the politicization of the U.S. book world itself, giving context to what’s happening.

The post in the series which best expresses our author’s purpose might be this one, “Unlocking the Junot Diaz Puzzle.” 

Which side in the dispute will win? That is yet to be determined.

illustration for New Pop Lit

New Fiction: Anne Leigh Parrish

Pop Lit Fiction

THE WAR between men and women in this culture is ongoing. Redress of long-held grievances. We’ve published an array of featured fiction and poetry addressing the issue.

Today we feature fiction from one of the best short story writers in America, Anne Leigh Parrish. The story, “He Said, She Said,” contains Anne Leigh’s trademark insights into the subtleties and outrages which entangle that tentative truce between the sexes we call marriage.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

He was a romantic character. Women outnumbered men at his book-signings, and when he went on tour, trips she couldn’t take with him, because of the children. His mystery novels were considered clever, good psychological studies of the criminal mind, the rationalization people engage in when they’ve done wrong.

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(Painting: “Landscape with Sun Disk” by Robert Delaunay.)

Toward Three-Dimensional Literature

Pop Lit Fiction

MANY have been those writers who realize we’re trapped in a linear mode not just of thinking, but writing. Yet many are the modes the writer can use to convey his tale– to depict three-dimensional reality– and isn’t using them.

The trick in experimentation in fiction writing is to keep the prose readable. Today we have  a story by literary magician Elias Keller which is very readable, but– and that’s all we’re going to say. (Note, however, subtle shifts in style.) The story is “On the Rails, Off the Rails.” You have to read it. Let us know what you think.

There was only one road leading out of the parking lot and he was blocking that. Surrounding the lot otherwise was the woods. She had no chance in raw combat, but she did run three miles a day.

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(Art: “Portrait of Albert Gleizes” by Jean Metzinger.)

New Pop Lit

The Great Hamlet Challenge!

Announcement

FATHERS AND SONS PART TWO

“To be or not to be.” The question is how much Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” is about the father-son relationship. Shakespeare’s son Hamnet (not making the name up) died before the play was written. The play may have been a tribute to the absent son– an imagined take on how the son would’ve turned out. Interesting that Shakespeare himself played the ghost of the father in the play’s first performances.

“Goodnight, sweet prince! And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

TO CELEBRATE Father’s Day and the father-son relationship, we’ve decided to offer–

THE GREAT HAMLET CHALLENGE!

–to see who can record for us the Best Audio Version of the most famous speech in the history of letters, which begins, “To be or not to be. That is the question.”

There WILL be a prize offered for the best recitation sent to us– a collector’s version of the book of the play. (More later on that.) ALSO, perhaps, a prize for the worst recording of it.

THE CONTEST is open to all writers, editors, spoken word poets and unsuccessful actors. New Pop Lit‘s editors may well record our own takes. We’ll try to post every speech submitted at our Open Mic. Send to newpoplitATgmailDOTcom, with “Hamlet Challenge” in the subject box.

WHO is up to the Challenge? Anyone?

We’ll find out!

New Pop Lit

(Paintings by Benjamin West and Edwin Austin Abbey.)

painting to illustrate New Pop Lit fiction

New Fiction: “Up On the Mountain”

Pop Lit Fiction

FATHERS AND SONS PART ONE

Father’s Day is less than two weeks away, so at New Pop Lit we’re marking the holiday with a small two-week celebration of relationships between fathers and sons, one of the primal relationships in our lives. In our new featured story, “Up On the Mountain,” Jack Somers captures the nuances in that relationship. Dad can be at times an embarrassment, a disappointment, a burden, or a revelation. An unavoidable shadow, good or bad, for us all.

(WRITERS: Note Somers’s ability to create atmosphere without excessive detail. You feel what it’s like to be a tourist in Athens. Photos to illustrate the story were unnecessary– but we added a few anyway.)

I had to come with him, if only to make sure he didn’t kill himself. I found myself thrust again into a role that had become all too familiar to me over the past few years: the parent of the parent. It seemed the older my father got, the more reckless and impulsive and childlike he became.

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ON OTHER FRONTS we’ll shortly have new audio at our ongoing Open Mic, as well as a review of the latest novel from one of our favorite writers. Stay tuned– much more will be happening.

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(Painting: “Greek Theatre at Taormina” by Tivader Csontvary-Kosztka.)