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.)

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The Writer’s Struggle

Announcement

THE STRUGGLES OF A WRITER can seem lonely indeed– often resulting in rejection and neglect. Yet they keep at it, pursuing their art because they believe it’s important to express truths about life and the world.

When those struggles find notice– and a sense that a reader gets it, understands what the work’s about, this keeps the writer (and in our case, editors) going. No, the effort expended was not for naught!

Christopher Landrum at the literary site Bookbread has examined here four recent short stories, three of which appeared at New Pop Lit. They are:

“The Fetus” by Clint Margrave.

“Eighty Pounds” by Jon Berger.

“The Professor” by A.K. Riddle.

If you’ve read these three excellent tales, they’re worth rereading. If you haven’t, please do so! Then see what Mr. Landrum says about them.

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(Art: “The Passion of Creation” by Leonid Pasternak; “Woman Writing” by Gerard ter Borch.)

 

Edge Culture, Sharper Literature

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A REMINDER that when we choose to we can push the edges of the usual, if not the acceptable, as far as anyone, due to our underground roots and DIY from-the-bottom viewpoint on all things cultural.

AS EXAMPLE we have our recently-posted feature story, “Cat Doctor” by mysterious on-the-arts-margins D.C. Miller, holding a mirror up to the clean and smug of today’s approved intellectual world.

THEN there’s our newly-placed book review of a new work by indie press figure Tony Nesca at our book chat blog.

FINALLY we have our ongoing Open Mic, with a reading of a striking poem by Brian Eckert along with other dynamic spoken word performances– with more to come.
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(Art: “Accolade” by Edmund Blair Leighton.)

POP LIT Carnival!

Announcement

A LITERARY CARNIVAL full of sights, sounds, and mental stimulation is what we offer for you the unwary reader. DO NOT simply dawdle on this page and scurry away. Remain for a time. Take off your shoes. Sit back and relax. Explore the many options we have available for your time-spending pleasure.

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CHIEF among them at the moment is the Writers Combine happening NOW as part of our exclusive coverage of the All-Time American Writers Tournament. At the moment we’re featuring some truly big names, giant talents, enormous personalities– such as Count Leo Tolstoy and Ernest Hemingway. WHO ELSE but New Pop Lit has the futuristic technology to bring these legends alive??

tolstoy2(The Count.)
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You want storytelling? WE HAVE IT!— the best new fiction on the planet, including our most recent tale, “Unraveling” by young writer Tianna Grosch.

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You want audio? Spoken word poetry-mixed-with-comedy? Yes! Enter through this doorway– where you may find a well-known but deceased celebrity, with whose voice we’ve taken a few liberties.

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Book reviews? NO ONE presents more stunning reviews of more striking and provocative literary works– the kind of books literary critics will be discussing fifty years from now, if not this moment. Future literary Gauguins and Van Goghs. Read about those here.

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Politics? Do you really have to read about politics? If you insist-– we even have politics! Or at least, reports on a politicized publishing scene and politicized intellectual journals. From us you receive, at our NPL News blog, the real story– what takes place behind the scenes.

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Scout around at our links and drop-down on this page and you’ll discover other fascinating and bizarre sights and happenings. Spend the day!

We ARE the most exciting literary site.
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(Featured painting: “Circus” by August Macke.)

New Pop Lit KO’s the Competition!

Announcement

WE’VE ADDED New York City journal The Baffler to our knockout victims. See our analysis of that strangely esteemed magazine. In response to the seriousness of our points, to date the Baffler‘s editors have not been able to say anything.

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At the same time we have an Open Mic feature going– which we promise to keep entertaining.

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Kicking things off: “Kate Hepburn” reads a poem penned by one of our favorite writers. Listen to the recording. Let us know what you think.

Next week: New fiction.
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(Art by George Bellows.)

Pop Lit: An Anti-Political Movement

Announcement

EVERYONE right now seems to have a cause or political movement, colored red, pink, purple, blue, or green, or is hysterically running around with signs about something. Mad ideologies from antifa to alt-right and all things in-between. There are dozens– maybe hundreds– of flavors of Marxism alone, whether Maoist, Leninist, Stalinist, Shigalovian, Trotskyite, Fabian (not the 50’s rock star); social democrat or democratic socialist; mixed with scores of identities of the academic pomo crowd– and at least as many varieties on the right. Cue the propaganda– the bots and printing presses are working overtime.

Far be it for us to miss a trend– so we’ve started our own movement. We reject ALL political cults and sects and invite those seeking change, dissatisfied with things as-they-are, the status quo, the Establishment, the established order and alternatives to the established order, cable and network news shows all of them as well as BBC propaganda biopics about queens and history dramas about Vikings, to unite together under our banner of POP LIT.

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OUR FOUR-POINT PROGRAM

1.)  We’re not a party but we like to party.

2.)  Ideologues are androids.

3.)  The only revolution that matters is the revolution of art. (The word art used broadly.)

4.)  The way to access the creativity of the universe is by being creative.

The only requirement to join our movement is that you enjoy reading.

(Send your writings and paintings to us. If we like them we’ll use them.)

-Karl and Kathleen
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(Featured art: “Composition with Two Figures” by Heinrich Campendonk.)

 

Prizes, Pushcarts and Other Fronts

Announcement

We’ve announced our nominations for the 2017 Pushcart Prize. Read about our choices and reasons here at our News blog.
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ALSO read our latest book review at our book review feature– this of a collection of short fiction by award-winning author Kelly Cherry.
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A new feature story is upcoming.

The Populist Alternative

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(Featured painting: “Festival” by Daniel Celentano c/o Smithsonian.)

We’re not just an alternative to an embalmed establishment literary scene that’s artistically frozen in time. We’re the alternative to the alternatives. We offer the only possible way to unite antagonists on all sides to revive the literary art. We believe in the need for uniquely American literature– art which helps define and give voice to this land and people. We reject fragmented culture– the constant cultural warfare which those highly placed above the fray seem to want.

We present instead to readers and writers our banner of POP!

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A populist ethos is one aspect– not the only aspect– of pop literature. Pop Lit!
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As evidence of our dedication to American lit we’re presenting the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Latest happening there is the #4 Seeds announcement. Upcoming are profiles of J.D. Salinger, Misty Copeland(?), Mary Gaitskill, Ayn Rand, Henry Miller, Saul Bellow-versus-Herman Wouk, and many more of our literature-and-culture’s brightest stars. Plus official choices for #5 Seeds.
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We also believe in giving you news about the literary world. Stories and scandals which no one else in literature today will touch. The newest post at our News blog is “The Lit Scene Now,”  — first part of a revealing analysis of the literary business, examining current players and real motivations. Not to be missed!

Pop lit is alive and well!

1934 Reginald Marsh (American artist, Locomotives, Jersey City, 1934
(Painting: “Locomotive, Jersey City” by Reginald Marsh c/o Smithsonian.)

Hemingway and Pynchon?

Announcement

Pynchon and Hemingway? Could two writers be more dissimilar, yet, as slightly cracked and original American authors, so much the same?

PYNCHON APPRECIATED
First, see the latest Appreciation, this one by D. Greenhorn, at the All-Time American Writers Tournament.

HEMINGWAY DAY REVISITED
Second, as today is Ernest Hemingway’s 118th birthday, we invite readers to partake again of last year’s festivities, with discussion of his reputation here, and our “Searching for Hemingway” travelogue here. (An Appreciation of Hem by Samuel Stevens is upcoming next week.)
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We have much new stuff upcoming, including terrific new fiction from Clint Margrave, Wred Fright, Anne Leigh Parrish, and other familiar and unfamiliar names. Plus other surprises.

Until then, enjoy July– when dogs are sleeping, editors are lazy, and everyone should be reading New Pop Lit, the stay-cool literary site.

By Dictate or Argument?

Announcement

SO MUCH of what’s considered literature today is run by dictate, that we hope at some point with the All-Time American Writers Tournament to do things differently.

The recent Granta issue of “Young American Novelists” is an example. Four well-placed judges decided the matter– then word came down from on high. “You WILL accept these selections culled mainly from those given us by the Big 5 conglomerate book companies.”

It’s how the system is run and how it’s always been run. Tops-down in every aspect. The professor tells you, “You WILL appreciate these authors, no matter how stuffy, irrelevant, meaningless, or boring they may be.”

Recent p.c. changes in the university have scarcely altered this– only the names mandated to be appreciated have changed.

The student, like the hapless consumer of Granta, has no say. The decision runs always, always one way.

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As many have noted, the situation, in academia and the greater intellectual community, has become ever more totalitarian. There is one accepted ideology. One acceptable set of ideas. One way of thinking.

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We’ll be setting up our brackets for the Tournament with a new mix, according to our best judgment and the standards we’ve outlined– but we don’t pretend to have all the answers. We’d like to receive throughout the course of the Tournament suggestions and arguments about which writers should be included– from writers, general readers, and elite critics alike. If “literature” is to be a living thing and not just an authoritarian dictate, names and ideas should come from everybody.

The All-Time American Writers Tournament will be at our Interactive blog, previously used for fun stuff and pop poetry. (Which we’ll still sneak in on occasion.) Here’s format information. Here’s other tourney info.

We’re at newpoplit AT gmail.com.

#1 seeds are upcoming. . . .