Pop Lit Fiction

We talk often here at New Pop Lit about reinventing the short story. We ask for contributions and help in this endeavor– but we also spend time working toward the objective ourselves.

Today we have a story from our own Kathleen Crane entitled, simply,  “Sam.”

Note how “Sam” has similarities to our previous story– in its slice-of-life realism– but differences as well, mainly in terms of style.

In the artistic choice between fantasy and reality, we lean toward reality– it’s the source of the most moving and meaningful art. At the same time we know that realistic writing has to be more than bland accumulation of trivial details– it needs to connect as immediately as possible with the reader. Does the story “Sam” achieve this?

Kathleen Crane believes in simplicity in art– that a work can be superficially uncomplex yet express a great deal of power and meaning.

The attributes of her story might be described as simplicity, compassion, and truth. That was the objective– only you the reader can tell us if we’ve reached it or not.

She was an angel, and she had loved him, Sam. They had lived on the beach together in Miami, with him busking for money, and Melody dancing to the music on the white sand, long golden hair swinging in time.

(Artwork by Martin J. Crane Sr.)

NEW POP LIT at the Dally!


There will be a NEW POP LIT table at the famed Detroit “Dally in the Alley” street fair this Saturday. The Dally is one of the largest urban street fairs in the country– and because it’s in the Motor City, it’s the coolest, hippest, edgiest such fair anyplace.

What will we have for sale and on display?

-A limited number of copies of the NEW POP LIT prototype lit journal, which contains exciting writing fitting the new “Pop Lit” hybrid category. This is the most important debut of a literary periodical at least since Paris Review came out sixty-plus years ago. The difference is that our journal presents new ideas from outside the mainstream. See what the future looks like.

-Special Kathleen Crane “Aloha from Detroit” t-shirts promoting the Detroit punk-scene chronicler’s e-book collection of stories.

-A variety of zines created by the best underground writer in America, Jessie Lynn McMains. Here’s a prediction: Jessie will soon be recognized as the best short story writer in the country.

(AN ASIDE: Kathleen Crane and Jessie Lynn McMains both have stories in the NPL prototype.)

-Copies of the Dan “I’m not Picasso” Nielsen art-lit chapbook. Prose poems and amazing drawings. Talk about a collector’s item!

-Various other books and zines from terrific new “Pop Lit” writers.

All this in the setting of the colorful Dally in the Alley, THE most amazing organic-and-authentic art festival in the nation.

To top things off, I’ll be there in person. (At one time I was the most exciting and provocative literary performer anywhere to be seen– and may still be.) I’ll have my voice and possibly even my faux-craziness with me. If you’re at the Dally, stop by and say hi!

(Pictured: a past version of this editor at Jeff Potter’s ULA table during an early moment at a previous Dally.)

-Karl Wenclas

Pushcart Prize Announcement


Greetings New Pop Lit’ers! Instead of a story today, we’re announcing our nominees for the 2015 Pushcart Prizes!

This was somewhat of a bittersweet process for Karl and me, because we publish what we feel are exceptional stories and Pushcart only allows six nominations per publication. Because of this limitation, we’ve chosen six stories that represent a variety of writing styles. Our 2015 nominees are:

1) Jessie Lynn McMains; Insect Summer
2) Thomas Mundt; Placeholder
3) Kathleen Crane; Donnie Darko
4) Pablo D’Stair; Yellow is the Color of My True Love’s Hair, in the Morning
5) Ian Lahey; The Janitor
6) Andrea Gregovich; The Unshakable Kayfabe of Tommy Rage

Congratulations, nominees and congratulations to our other writers who helped us make NPL happen in 2014! More great things to come!!



Portrait of Santa Claus, by Thomas Nast, Published in Harper’s Weekly, 1881. Photo image obtained/rendered by Gwillhickers. Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Donnie Darko

Third-Way Fiction

Happy Weekend, NPL’ers!

Today’s feature is Donnie Darko… a story for cat-loving students of life by Kathleen Crane. ‘Donnie Darko’ is part of Kathleen’s upcoming short story collection titled Aloha From Detroit… more detail on that to come. In the meantime, enjoy Donnie!

If he could only find a comfortable position, then he might get some sleep. But he couldn’t even turn over, there simply wasn’t any room. If he moved to the right, he’d knock over his water, if he moved to the left, he’d spill what was left of his food. The blanket under him felt stiff and dirty and smelled like urine. He shifted irritably. And that ungodly howling and yowling, it never stopped. He felt as if he were going mad.

What had he done to deserve this?