CAN there be a new avant-garde in the writing game?
Can an avant-garde be anything but new?
We started the year looking for writing which strives to set a different tone and appearance from the accepted and the acceptable. From the same and the sane. One of the works we’ve accepted along that line we present to you today: “Turning Over the CD,” a novel excerpt by Anthony Kane Evans.
ONE OF the first stories we accepted for this project was also by Anthony, and showed his unique style. Anthony’s writing is marked by its clarity and conciseness– which allows him the ability to toy with new ideas in presentation. This piece follows the first rule of artistic change: disorient then reorient the reader. As you’ll see.
I slam the car door behind me. A fat lot of good that will do. I mean, it is not going to join the two halves of this book together. I consider, for one awful moment, to throw the CD away. There is a pond in a field nearby. I imagine skimming the CD across its placid surface. I stop. There are frogs over there, I can hear them singing. My God, is it that time of the year again? Have we been so long on the road? Has this blackness which I am now a part of been going on since Vienna and am I only now aware of it?
But what of the avant-garde?
What is “avant-garde” anyway beyond a widely-used marketing phrase from the 1920’s? Is it intellectual writing existing in an airless John Cage glass box suspended over the heads of the potential audience: isolated; sterile; detached? Or should it not instead follow Richard Wright’s prescribed path (per literary historian Paula Rabinowitz): folk art to popular art, then to politics?
Or: Can an avant-garde be a vanguard (the literal translation) without a popular following to be the vanguard of? We’re not certain, are only asking. The difficult trick for all who pursue the literary game is to find or create that following.
AS our last feature in April we present writing from rising young literary star Aaron H. Aceves which opens with a poem in the narrator’s head– then tells the story behind the poem. The story involves a woman, but is also about the setting. A club, in downtown Los Angeles, and the people occupying it– and the feeling evoked, within the narrator and inside us.
A story? A poem? A painting? Read “The Look” and judge for yourself.
I watched her watching them for a while. I could have watched her all night long.
Long, shiny hair. Flawless skin. Winged eyeliner. A boyfriend.
I have a thing for unavailable women.
(Art: “L’Equipe de Cardiff” by Robert Delaunay; “The Soldier Drinks” by Marc Chagall.)
AT A TIME of year when many of us are facing winter’s fury or at least cold gray skies trudging through bleak landscapes and simultaneously being bombarded with the cultural family social pressures bad music of the Christmas holidays, what could be more escapist than love in Naples?
Our new feature story aims toward exactly that, “The Date” by Robert Steward.
We hope you enjoy it!
I looked at her, at the way her mouth went, and the curve of her cheekbones, at her bluey-green eyes, the flecks of amber round her pupils, and at the way her hair fell over her eyes.
She caught me looking at her, and I felt something in the air between us, something pure, intense; it made me shiver inside.
(Art: “Eruption of Vesuvius” by Alessandro Sanquirico.)
CUTTING EDGE OF THE CUTTING EDGE
We live in dystopian times. Our mad society is on the verge of major technological upheavals. A host of new writers are caught up in the current sense of frantic energy– writing or philosophizing clamorously in attempts to capture that energy before it consumes everything.
As often as not this results in politics as performance. Ideas as style.
Case in point: the multifaceted career of Transhumanist Party candidate Rachel Haywire. From her campaign website:
This includes her radical political journey from the far left to the dissident right to beyond the center, her artistic and bohemian upbringing, her visionary transhumanist ideas, and her plans to defeat Trump using a pirate spaceship.
Rachel Haywire is a cultural futurist, industrial musician, model, designer– and writer, with a distinctive neopop style that combines artistic clarity with dystopian edge, as featured in her book/manifesto called The New Art Right.
We’re fortunate to present an excerpt from that book, “The Kingdom.” Fitting for New Pop Lit to follow a nonfiction essay by a Hollywood producer with fiction by a Presidential candidate. Part of our determination to take an active part in popular culture. Wherever that takes us.
The future is NOW.
When she blew it all up I stood there in awe, wondering if we could ever get back to The Kingdom. Pixels burning like the flesh of the old human race, a new era was about to begin. Each wire collapsing, the holocaust of machines did not ask us to just “click here” any longer.
(Art: “The City Rises” by Umberto Boccioni; “Flora” by Gerardo Dottori.)
WHAT’S Pop-Lit Fiction?
What we call Pop-Lit Fiction is fiction written with perfect clarity that at the same time “pops” with color and tangible life– making for an enjoyable reading experience. A story whose well-structured form provides a feeling of harmony. An artistic sense of unity and completeness.
No easy feat– but accomplished in our new feature story, “Spoiler Alert” by young Philippine writer Angelo Lorenzo. Structure using simple plot which results in surprising emotion. Tangible details. Manifest humanity.
Read it and see if you agree.
But here she is beside you, and you can’t help but be grateful. Now, the screen shows
the action sequence. You see the superheroes in iron suits, capes and tight fitting spandex
dueling against an armored purple alien and his massive army on a red planet. You wonder if each thundering blast comes from the screen, or from the fast-paced beating in your chest amplified by the theater’s Dolby Digital surround sound system.
(Art: “Man and Woman” by Fernand Leger.)
NEW FEATURED FICTION
Where do you stand on the future of fiction? Is there any longer a place for it in the chaotic-and-crazed loud culture of now? For us, the answer is “Yes!”– if the best new writers are brought to the forefront.
“The Uncertainty” by Alexander Blum isn’t a “pop” short story, but it is a very good story– looking at happenings in today’s university, at what’s happened to the world of ideas. It’s also about personality and about life. We present the story as proof we’re looking for every kind of talented writer– as we strive to be part of a renewal of the literary art.
Blum is one of a cadre of new writers breaking onto the literary scene whose focus is intelligence, ideas, and integrity. The kind of artistic and intellectual integrity the culture needs. Of that, we’re certain.
She had one of those black Russian hats on, the fold-up ones, and she smiled and hugged Knice and shook my hand and settled into the seat at the little table in Knice’s state-run apartment, handed to him along with his job, with warm curry in the microwave.
While you’re here, be sure to look in at the blog of ours covering the ongoing All-Time American Writers Tournament, which has been listing “The Most Charismatic American Writers.” Here’s a recent post. Who would you choose?
(Art: “La Chasse” by Albert Gleizes; “Beautiful Betty” by Albert Lynch.)
The wait is over. Anticipation ends. The moment has arrived. The new story has pulled up outside. We present an attempt at–
THE 3–D SHORT STORY
Keep in mind that this modest tale, set in Detroit and environs, is an experiment. An early modernist-pop prototype. Various angles are tried. Switching of viewpoint. Not every one of the angles may work.
Also remember it’s fiction– a work of the imagination. A story. These aren’t real people.
The story is “Vodka Friday Night.”
A foray into the literary unknown. More attempts to enter uncharted literary territory will be made. Soon.
When Stacey walked through parties or clubs, whether downtown Detroit or in her home town, she carried herself with aloofness which some mistook for conceit and others saw as mystery. She floated like a princess, or an empress, at least a celebrity, and everybody believed it.
To read arguments for why the literary art needs to change, go to our NPL News blog.
ON OTHER FRONTS, the All-Time American Writers Tournament resumes shortly at one of our other blogs with a look at “American Literature’s Most Charismatic Writers.” Don’t miss it!
(Art: “The Arrival” by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson.)
AS WE WAIT to introduce to the world in one month the innovation we call the 3–D Short Story, we have a couple fictional works to present first. (As well as several new poems.) The two fictional works are different from the norm– in keeping with our 2019 mission to present new experiences to New Pop Lit readers.
The first of the two stories, by talented story writer Sophie Kearing, is “This Is.” We hope you enjoy it.
Every time she thinks about me, the skeletal digits of an invisible hand squeeze all the comfort from me like juice from a lemon. The hand keeps me firmly planted in the darkness, unable to reach any of the good feelings.
ALSO, we have a new post at our NPL News blog about the aforementioned 3–D Story– and whether critics of all varieties will be ready for it. Is literary change upon us? Maybe!
(Public domain art c/o stockfreeimages.com.)
TODAY we feature tough new fiction looking at the punk rock scene in New York City during a period when the monster metropolis itself was uber-tough– “Raga Punk Rock” by E.H. Davis.
The author describes the story as “a portrait of a recognizable character from the 70’s punk rock scene in New York City. My intention was to explore the Zeitgeist of angst that drove the youth of that period to a slow slide into alienation and suicide.”
Suffice it to say it’s an excellent story, with a New York vibe– we both loved it, including the ending. You’ll want to read it.
Shivering in a thin, parachute-silk jacket, collar up, red beret atop his curly mane, twenty-five-year-old Angelo streaked south on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, swerving around the puddles in his high lace-up boots, eyes downcast, alert for anything of value on the abandoned streets.
SPEAKING OF FICTION, work in the labs at New Pop Lit Headquarters continues on the quixotic project we’re calling the 3–D short story. For information on what that’s about, see this post at our New Pop Lit News blog, or this one.
(Art: “The Knife Grinder” by Kazimir Malevich; “New York” by George Bellows.)
WE EXPECT New Pop Lit to eventually be a worldwide phenomenon, so we’re not averse to spotlighting writers from around the world. We’ve published or presented writers from UK, Germany, Poland, Canada, Malta, Italy, Belarus, Spain, Israel, Switzerland– and we’ve had readers on every continent, with the possible exception of Antarctica.
Today we present new fiction, “The Major,” by renowned Russian author Vladimir Kozlov, translated by Andrea Gregovich. Worth reading for its realism but also to see what’s happening in other literary scenes.
“Well, I have evidence not only that you’ve seen it before, but that you were directly involved in its creation. Do you know what this is called?
“A comic book, I guess.”
“It’s called ‘spreading deliberately false fabrications to defame the Soviet state and social order.’ Article seventy-two of the Criminal Code for the BSSR. I can also pull up Article 58-10: ‘Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.’”
BUT, at the same time we also present a New Pop Lit review of Mr. Kozlov’s entire new short story collection, 1987 and Other Stories, of which “The Major” is part.
ONLY at New Pop Lit. Always at the literary forefront.
(Painting: “Blue Crest” by Wassily Kandinsky.)