NEW POP LIT GOES LOCAL
Our previous feature was by an esteemed international author. For this one we looked closer to home– presenting a unique work here by young Detroit-area writer Ambrose Black which is part profile of accomplished artist Leon Dickey and his work, and part imagination, as Ambrose enters the head of his subject to relate his background and complete his story.
The result becomes itself something like a modernist painting, with two different but complementary vantage points. Ambrose Black writes in an original style, reminiscent perhaps of Sherwood Anderson, but not really. He hasn’t been machine-stamped as from a press, and so views the world– and in this case, the artist– through fresh eyes.
The essay is in line with our stated objective for 2019: To search for the literary NEW.
He has to expose his truth to the world, for he is a creator. His truth is that one is in control of the self– the only judgment and choices one is responsible for is the self. His art is ironic to his truth, but purposefully and honestly. The trash he uses signifies his and our failures. But like a phoenix from the ashes, he uses the deconstruction to create something of beauty.
(Art: “Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers” by Marc Chagall; “Self-Portrait” by Paul Gaugin.)
Protests! Everywhere we turn, everywhere we look we find protests layered upon protests.
It’s nothing new. The imperative, the incentive, the energy for demonstrating in the streets and elsewhere has occurred before, notably in the 1960’s and 70’s. To present perspective and insight to this month’s events, we present an excerpt, “Hit the Road Mac,” from a memoir by Detroit-area writer Gary McDonald. The excerpt covers Gary’s involvement in protests more than forty years ago, when society seemed in even more upheaval than it does now. His narrative only begins with anti-war protests– moving on to cover other aspects of that era’s revolutionary changes; changes which surprise him. You’ll find this personal history fascinating. Perhaps revealing.
“What’s that all about,” I asked, scooting close enough to smell the lemon oil in her blonde streaked hair.
There was a tall scruffy guy with a megaphone drumming up a crowd in the plaza in front of her.
“Nixon’s bombing Cambodia now and that guy’s right, that’s total bullshit,” she said looking back and proved the rest of the theorem; she was an absolute doll. A bit young but still more woman than girl and so good looking she could have started another Trojan War.
For words by Bruce Dale Wise which look at political turmoil circa 2017– or, circa NOW– read this poem at our Fun Pop Poetry feature, part of our ever-morphing Interactive blog.
AS we weren’t able to get anything from our pipeline ready in time to post today, I’ve knocked out a quick essay I believe is timely.
It also addresses a thought which has been in my head of late– that we have to stop dividing ourselves. Naïve? Maybe. In this tumultuous year of 2016, too many of us treat ideology like religion. We put party and identity before country. We’re unable to compromise on anything.
Pop is populism, but how do we define that?
Rock at its outset was a populist outbreak. It was scorned by politicians, intellectuals and the academy, who are always five steps behind the times.
Ideas! New Pop Lit is first and foremost a project of ideas. In a period when the public is demanding populist change, we advertise ourselves as literary change agents.
Toward that end we’re offering an essay by Samuel Stevens about publishing, outlining how writers who seek to change the literary art– who offer new aesthetic ideas– have often faced difficulties.
The critics of the day repudiated authors with mountains of literary criticism about them now. Names like Hemingway, Pound, Joyce, Eliot were at one time the enemy. Hemingway’s friend, the memory-holed author Robert McAlmon, published Three Stories and Ten Poems; the New York world wasn’t interested in the young Hemingway’s work.
Sam Stevens is included in our first “Lit Question of the Month” feature at our Extras!/Interactive blog, along with twenty-three other writers. The response was such– the answers uniformly terrific– that we’re likely to try the feature again. The list includes DIYers– bloggers, self-publishers, zinesters; those changing the literary product– but also status quo reps, from university professors and creative writing instructors, to long-time award-winning story writers Kelly Cherry, T.C. Boyle, and Madison Smartt Bell, to best-selling novelist Scott Turow. Among their number is possibly even a member of the dreaded literary establishment!– if that animal can be credibly identified. We thank them all for the generosity of their time and their minds. Read the answers here.
We ask readers to join the conversation. What’s your favorite answer? Your least favorite? Take a minute and tell us in the Comments section.
Today we offer an excellent essay by writer and filmmaker Pablo D’Stair– one of the best DIY talents around.
What is “the purest achievement”? What’s the mindset of those engaged in the pursuit of art? This is a must-read essay not just for writers, artists, and filmmakers, but for all those who strive in any way to be creative. It’s written for the artistic soul in all of us.
know what The Thing was that first made you daydream, and then do everything you can until you have gotten that exact Thing for yourself—whatever it is. Until you have that, nothing else matters—