–in which we continue Part III, “The Young Writers,” of our overview of today’s literary scene, “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.” Continue reading the essay here, as we’ve added commentary about the second of four young writers to be profiled, Eli Cranor. THEN read Eli’s excellent short story about the teaching profession, “Five Minutes.”
As you’ll see, the question posed during this part of the essay is, “Can writers become cultural stars?” Our answer to the question is a resounding “YES!”– but we acknowledge it won’t be easy. Every cultural force has its beginnings. With the Beatles it was dive clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg. With revived literature, it might be right here. . . .
Mr. Koontz first few weeks at school had involved very little details. Instead there were a lot of situations like this: a large blonde woman sits down in front of you and she has a daughter, they look nice enough, but you can’t remember the girl’s name, not even a detail like her name.
(Painting: “The Fate of the Animals” by Franz Marc.)
Our series on new happenings in today’s literary world continues. “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.”
Part III looks at the new generation of writers– literature’s hope and future. We were going to call this section “The Lost,” as a nod to the Lost Generation of the 1920’s, a huge influence on a couple of the best young writers we’ll be featuring. We decided that designation was too downbeat. We’re optimists. We might as likely call this section “The Found”– talented individuals who found writing as their preferred means of expression, when they might instead have been painters or musicians or movie directors.
(Of course, there are no longer painters; musicians are reduced to the atonal or electronic, the human element cut out. Movies? Are there still movies to speak of? The Academy Awards are this weekend, and by all accounts contain not an outstanding crop.)
No, the future belongs to writers– to new literature. We kick off this part of our overview with a new story by Samuel Stevens, “Greener Country Grass.” This will be followed by new work by three other young talents, as fast as we can ready and post them.
Despite his youth (he’s still in college), Samuel Stevens is a thinker, essayist, and novelist, as well as writing in the shorter form. Definitely a name on the literary scene for years to come. Read his story now.
“Do you have a lot of money like Ray?” one of them asked.
She took me aback. “No,” I said. Ray did come from a well off family. The girls were all a little drunk; Loeb must have been keeping them supplied while I talked to the bartender. I pulled up a chair and sat down.
(Painting: “The Red Tower” by Robert Delaunay.)
TODAY we present a short but striking tale by brilliant new talent Ana Prundaru, whose poems, stories, and art have begun appearing across the globe. Which causes us to facetiously ask: Who is Ana Prundaru? Is this a cover name for an entire team of writers and artists able to produce, on whim, work notable for its sense of immediacy; of now? It’s the sense captured, we feel, in “Elusive Instinct.” Read it and find out!
We danced through the fluorescence, edging somewhere between snaking seductively toward the bartender and giving each other crap for almost falling over. All this time I could feel his eyes on me. The tall guy who had interrupted me seemed to follow my every move and there was heaviness in the room. . . .
Speaking of new talents, in one week we begin an ambitious series focused on the sudden rise in our post-literate age of individuals whose work screams, “Not yet! Writing still matters! Literature has not yet lost its importance.”
We’re here to announce that importance. The series is tentatively, ambitiously, hyperbolically titled “Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age.” It’ll start at sixty miles-per-hour then really kick into gear as we present what’s happening beneath the narrowed gaze of establishment gatekeepers. Stay tuned.
WE KICK OFF 2017 with new fiction by Sonia Christensen, “Dry Bones.”The story is accompanied by an interview with Sonia at our News blog, in which she tells us whether or not there’s a back story to this unusual tale.
Sonia Christensen is part of a wave of terrific new short story writers. We’ve been privileged to showcase some of the best of them. These are exciting times to be involved with the literary game– best of all for those who enjoy reading stories.
He’s told her that he would help her bury the cat if she wanted him to. He said that the first time they walked by and she pointed it out and said, oh god it’s still there. But there’s a traumatic cat incident in her past so instead what they do is cross the road whenever they’re nearing the cat, so they don’t have to get too close and they don’t have to look. But Luke always looks.
(Painting by Theodore Gericault.)
THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN a strong connection between madness and genius. Between “mental illness” and art, exemplified in the careers of talented-but-troubled individuals from painter Vincent van Gogh to poet Sylvia Plath to rock musician Kurt Cobain. Could it be that the sensitivity which attunes them closer to the mind of the universe than other people– that allows them to “see” and express things the rest of us can’t see, also makes it too painful for them to live? Does their genius itself push them toward thoughts of suicide?
These thoughts are occasioned by our newest feature story, “Suffering, Suicide, and Immortality,”by Jess Mize. Ms. Mize writes fiction and poetry as edgy as any we’ve seen, anyplace. It doesn’t always make for comfortable reading, so be forewarned on what’s coming. We can’t ignore, however, that it’s particularly at this time of year, a time of bleak weather combined with the expectations of the holiday season, that the thoughts of many turn to suicide. Many have been there on one occasion or other, and so, perhaps, can identify with the troubled character in this powerful story.
My second attempt at suicide happened two years later. I had just quit my job at the dry cleaners. I had no ambitions, no motives, only a red and black despair that clouded over my every thought and action, a red and black despair like the closing of Joyland at night.
A bottle of water? Why do we use to illustrate our new feature a bottle of water? What does the story, “Past Present” by Lori Cramer have to do with a bottle of water?!
Read the quick tale about relationships/new husbands/ex-boyfriends/domestic crises and find out.
The next noise isn’t a knock at all; it’s a thump, a fist pounding against the door. I jump up from the couch.
WE RETURN TO FICTION! Short fiction that is, with two tales by Israeli writer Yoav Fisher.
Last week we encountered the mass output of NaNoWriMo authors. One individual at our discussion has written a 330,000-word(!) work. (He’s since sent us excerpts– we’ll be interested to look at what he’s doing.) The other side of the coin of exciting new literary happenings is the flash fiction movement.
Fisher’s two tales exemplify what flash fiction is about. Yoav Fisher has a Hemingway-like ability to convey more with less– to give the reader the minimum information possible yet create a strong, even devastating emotional impact. We look for writing that hits us between the eyes. Yoav Fisher has done that.
The helmet landed squarely above the ear with an audible thud. Edward surprised himself from the speed and severity. At five foot eight and doughy since middle school, agility and strength were never Edward’s strong points.
The struggles of being an artist! We at New Pop Lit are down with that struggle. It’s never easy. Today we present a short story, “Breathe,” by David R. Gwyn, which examines the struggle for artistic expression and meaning with a simple but moving profile of a man who has returned to his art after many years away from it.
This is an apt tale to run during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) when thousands of persons across the country take up the challenge of art and struggle to express themselves, with words. We’ll be doing a presentation on November 17th at the Troy Public Library in suburban Detroit in connection with NaNoMoWri. Stay tuned for more details! (In the meantime, enjoy David Gwyn’s story.)
The artist sits, hunched, watching the masses navigate the streets. The colorful fall day contradicts the pale stone structures of Rittenhouse Square. Like the others, this month has come and passed and still he sold nothing. With winter on its way, the season of possible sales closes rapidly.
Our mission is to publish terrific fiction.
Today we present a short story, “Clarity,” from one of the best story writers around, Alex Bernstein. The title of his story is apt, because Bernstein writes with distinct clarity– clarity of thought and clarity of style, which makes him one of the sharper commentators on the American scene today, combining humor with understanding. See if you agree.
“Julie – you can’t be happy with that guy. He takes undead hair scraps from people’s armpits and buries them in their scalps! He makes beer in his living room! Is that what you want?”
Summer reading for Labor Day weekend– for the last lazy days of summer.
We’ve been obsessed with poetry of late. Fitting that our feature story, “No Faith to Lose,” would be– marginally– about a poet. But it’s really about traveling. No, it’s about a relationship. It’s about the choices we make in our lives. It’s a story that just is, a slice of life, and we see in it what we want.
AN Block stories have been appearing across the Internet. We thought we’d grab a good one for ourselves. Hope you like it!
“You have pictures of me wearing what?” she asked, the following week. “Lavender tinted glasses? Purple lipstick? I never turned on all that much, one puff made me loopy. Oh, right, and cough my guts up.”
(Meanwhile our Fun Pop Poetry feature is hopping.)