Pop Lit Explosion

Rant

THERE HAVE BEEN examples of pop culture rescuing a nation’s morale. In this country, scarcely a month after the John F. Kennedy assassination came the British Invasion spearheaded by the Beatles– an example of escape from trauma offered by ART. Simultaneously, home grown pop music exploded with the “Sound of Young America” emerging from Motown. The joy didn’t last long– but left as legacy the best pop music ever recorded.

AT THE MOMENT American morale is in the toilet. Glum expressions from Debbie Downers everywhere. “Woe is us!” proclaims the intellectual class on Left and Right. As if the quixotic project called the American Dream Machine were over. To quote (name-drop alert)  George Plimpton on the one occasion I met him: “Nonsense!”

If some believe the American experiment is over, with perhaps more perspective from the beaten-down streets of Detroit we see this moment as opportunity for a pop culture explosion.

Iraqi Freedom

WHY NOT pop literature? The last time writers were at the center of pop culture was the 1920’s– ironically, a decade that was a huge influence on the Beatles. The “fun-at-all-costs” attitude of the Fitzgeralds’ Jazz Age morphed into early 60’s fun music that rocked the world.

Change will come from literature only if new writers present stronger attitudes, unbeatable confidence and more exciting art. Along with a dollop of pure fun.
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If we’re dynamic, there exists as antagonist and obstacle the moldy and static– the artistically inbred Manhattan monolith. We’ve been covering at our News blog the publishing Overdogs who run a phony puppet show known as the National Book Awards. Follow our coverage.
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There’s also the ongoing All-Time American Writers Tournament. More to happen there as well, soon. Stay tuned.

K.W.

(Painting: “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire” by Russell Patterson.)

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Poetry Run Amok!

Feature

Poetry in outer space,
poetry is every place!
Poetry is hip and cool
(Apologies to Dr. Seuss.)

WE MISSED National Poetry Day– likely one of those Hallmark-created holidays anyway. We’re making up for it by turning our site temporarily over to poets and poetry.

FIRST is this week’s feature, “Black Water and Other Poems” by renowned Ohio poet Robert Beveridge.

The departure began
at a Dave Smith reading
as I poured alcohol
and peroxide down
the podium to kill
the beer worms.

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NEXT are the latest selections for the All-Time American Writers Tournament. ALL POETS!! Find out who they are here.

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We ALSO recently posted a missive from a mysterious activist character at the Tournament named “Cherry Bomb”– which just happens to be in the form of a poem.

(If we’re not having occasional fun– then what’s the point?)
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Pop it, punch it, make it snap
Poetry is where it’s at! 🙂

Of Maps and Melvilles

All-Time American Writers Tournament

One of our favorite lines from Herman Melville’s magical novel Moby Dick is this one:

“It is not down in any map; true places never are.”

Melville was speaking about the novel form itself. He could as well have been referring to our Tournament. Appropriate, then, that Herman Melville is the third #1 seed entered into the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Read our reasons for his selection– and discover the fourth #1, here.

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Since our theme with this post is the novel, we’ve also written a short review of the latest novel by Samuel Stevens, Lone Crusader. The American has traditionally been a seeker. An adventurer. Melville wrote about this kind of person. So does Stevens.

Adventure was once in the American bloodstream, was long a key component of American writing. “Literary” fiction of the New York/Iowa variety has long discounted this component. Today, we at New Pop Lit celebrate it.

Happy reading!