Ballyhoo Nation

Opinion

We haven’t posted an Op-Ed in a while. Is there a better day for it than one of the more contentious days in American history?

We contend this commentary from New Pop Lit editor Karl Wenclas is an objective look at events, in the context of a realistic view of American history. Feel free to disagree!

Making noise and screaming for the benefit of television cameras is who we are.

 

January 2017: Month of Protest?

Essay

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.

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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.

Dry Bones

Pop Lit Fiction

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.)

Year-End Wrap-Up

Announcement

happy-new-year-page-001

The first task of any upstart literary outfit is to survive. We’ve accomplished this for another year– but we want more. In 2017 we plan to give you more. A lot more.

In the meantime, read our year-end  review News Report of our 2016 activities at our News blog.

Also be sure to read our final Fun Pop Poem of 2016, “Exploitation of Subtlety” by multi-talented artist/writer Dan Nielsen.

Thanks to one and all!

 

Suffering, Suicide, and Immortality

Pop Lit Fiction

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.

Past Present

Pop Lit Fiction

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.

Pushcart Time

Announcement

OUR PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINATIONS

All Hail Pushcart! Yes, we’re one of the many small literary outfits who applaud the Pushcart Prize collections– though we have reservations. To discover what they are, and at the same time find out which works we nominated for the annual awards this year, read this.

Have we missed the boat this year with our picks? Are we all wet? Living in Fantasyland? Let us know!

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This week we’ve also kicked off a can’t miss Cat Poetry Festival at our Fun Pop Poetry feature, here.

Two Tales by Yoav Fisher

flash fiction, Pop Lit Fiction

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.

 

New Pop Lit Speaks

Announcement, Events, News

Attention All Writers!

Especially if you live in the Detroit area. New Pop Lit editors Karl Wenclas and Kathleen Crane will be doing a presentation for NaNoWriMo at the Troy Public Library on 11/17. Details at our News page here.

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ALSO, we’re still promoting our Fun Pop Poetry feature. We have several cat poems coming up and we’re shy at least one good cat photo. Send your candidates in .jpg format to funpoppoetry@gmail.com. Thanks!

(Cat photo c/o Scott Cannon– same cat to be featured in a new poem.)