What Does New Fiction Look Like?

Pop Lit Fiction

OUR TASK at New Pop Lit is to find and present the best new writers. We don’t know what fiction in the future will look like– only that it shouldn’t resemble the acceptable fiction of now. Ideally, it should be more unorthodox, more creative, more real.

If our newest feature story is a guide, young writers are accomplishing those goals. A.K. Riddles  “The Professor” is an example of writing not yet constrained, handcuffed and put into a box. It shows as well the rare ability to put oneself into the head of another person.

The story, about a middle-aged and somewhat burned-out teacher at a prep school, is also entertaining– the first objective of any work. We hope you like it!

The Professor looks like a resurrected and plastic surgeried John Lennon. The Professor has a dog named after his ex-girlfriend, Layla. But his wife thought their pooch was named after the Eric Clapton song. The Professor is married but doesnt wear anything on his left hand except for a black friendship bracelet, if that counts. 

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ALSO: Stay up on the All-Time American Writers Tournament. An announcement of more entrants is coming soon.

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(Artwork: “The Miller” by Juan Gris.)

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New Pop Lit Loves Women!

Pop Lit Fiction

THERE’S NO DOUBT this is the decade of the woman writer. The majority of students in writing programs today are women. The majority of writers self-publishing via zines and ebooks are women. Of the National Book Foundation’s recent “5 Under 35” award selections, all five are women.

Far be it for New Pop Lit to neglect a trend. We’ll be presenting several talented writers in coming weeks who just happen to be women. We’re not being politically correct. We just go for the best.

First up is internationally-published writer Julie Parks with “Bigger Lies”— a stark urban tale about a boy with scams and dreams in Latvia.

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In keeping with this week’s theme, at the All-Time American Writers Tournament we have a short essay about a renowned woman writer: “The Mary Gaitskill Problem.”

mariedenisevillersself-portrait

If you’re not keeping up with New Pop Lit, you’re not keeping up.
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(Paintings: “Woman with Black Cravat” by Modigliani; Self Portrait by Marie-Denise Villers.)

 

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! 🙂

A New Story

Pop Lit Fiction

We like stories!

We like stories which are unpredictable in plot, point-of-view, and theme– such as our new feature, “Churchgoing in New England” by Richard Greenhorn. We’re on a quest for new kinds of stories– those outside the customary in ideas and viewpoint.

What should any short story accomplish?

The tale should convey knowledge and experience; emotion and meaning. It should carry the reader along then finish with surprise, insight, or impact. Something. See if this story fulfills those requirements.

One-time department stores and groceries had been replaced by specialty winter supply shops, novelty bookstores, a few adult boutiques, and an over-priced Leftist drinking establishment called The People’s Pub. On the town commons across the street were the placards and banners left over from this morning’s protest. . .

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ALSO: Stay up-to-date with the All-Time American Writers Tournament.
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(Painting: “A New England Town” by Middleton Manigault.)

 

The Populist Alternative

Announcement

(Featured painting: “Festival” by Daniel Celentano c/o Smithsonian.)

We’re not just an alternative to an embalmed establishment literary scene that’s artistically frozen in time. We’re the alternative to the alternatives. We offer the only possible way to unite antagonists on all sides to revive the literary art. We believe in the need for uniquely American literature– art which helps define and give voice to this land and people. We reject fragmented culture– the constant cultural warfare which those highly placed above the fray seem to want.

We present instead to readers and writers our banner of POP!

POSTCARD Big Pop 11-page-001

A populist ethos is one aspect– not the only aspect– of pop literature. Pop Lit!
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As evidence of our dedication to American lit we’re presenting the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Latest happening there is the #4 Seeds announcement. Upcoming are profiles of J.D. Salinger, Misty Copeland(?), Mary Gaitskill, Ayn Rand, Henry Miller, Saul Bellow-versus-Herman Wouk, and many more of our literature-and-culture’s brightest stars. Plus official choices for #5 Seeds.
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We also believe in giving you news about the literary world. Stories and scandals which no one else in literature today will touch. The newest post at our News blog is “The Lit Scene Now,”  — first part of a revealing analysis of the literary business, examining current players and real motivations. Not to be missed!

Pop lit is alive and well!

1934 Reginald Marsh (American artist, Locomotives, Jersey City, 1934
(Painting: “Locomotive, Jersey City” by Reginald Marsh c/o Smithsonian.)

Fiction as Life, as Emotion, as Art

Pop Lit Fiction

PART OF OUR MISSION at New Pop Lit is to present the most powerful fiction we can find, from the best new writers. We fulfill that mission with our newest short story, “The Fetus,” by Clint Margrave. It’s a tale of high school and bullying, but it’s more than that. Art’s task is to give us the complexity and confusions of life; of our crazy, cruel, three-dimensional world.

The bell rang and Mr. Schlosser asked us to open our textbooks to the introductory chapter.

“Biology is the study of living things,” he said. “One of the central questions we’ll be exploring this semester is what does it mean to be alive?”

(Artwork: “Still Life” by Juan Gris.)
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p.s. Also stay up on the All-Time American Writers Tournament!

Hemingway and Pynchon?

Announcement

Pynchon and Hemingway? Could two writers be more dissimilar, yet, as slightly cracked and original American authors, so much the same?

PYNCHON APPRECIATED
First, see the latest Appreciation, this one by D. Greenhorn, at the All-Time American Writers Tournament.

HEMINGWAY DAY REVISITED
Second, as today is Ernest Hemingway’s 118th birthday, we invite readers to partake again of last year’s festivities, with discussion of his reputation here, and our “Searching for Hemingway” travelogue here. (An Appreciation of Hem by Samuel Stevens is upcoming next week.)
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We have much new stuff upcoming, including terrific new fiction from Clint Margrave, Wred Fright, Anne Leigh Parrish, and other familiar and unfamiliar names. Plus other surprises.

Until then, enjoy July– when dogs are sleeping, editors are lazy, and everyone should be reading New Pop Lit, the stay-cool literary site.

Double Controversy

All-Time American Writers Tournament

NOW we’ve stepped into it! Two literary controversies at one time, both of them connected to the All-Time American Writers Tournament. (We’ve been offering exclusive coverage of the tourney here.)

FIRST is the seldom-discussed matter of T.S. Eliot. Where lies his allegiance? America or Britain? Is Eliot considered a British poet– or an American one? Where should lie our allegiance? Contribute to the discussion, if you dare– should you care– here.

SECOND, we believe we’ve thrown new and historic light on the friendship between the two biggest names in American literary history, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. How deep went their feud? WAS Scott a passive actor– a simple punching bag; on the receiving end of Ernest’s shots and scorns– as our nation’s most esteemed lit critics seem to believe? Or did Fitzgerald get his shots in against one-time protégé Hemingway– not once, but twice?

Are we prepared to take on the entire U.S. lit-crit establishment over this issue?

YES!

Read about the matter here.

State-of-the-art thinking about writing and writers, letters and words, only at New Pop Lit.
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(Public domain image of Ritz Bar in Paris with photo of Scott Fitzgerald.)

California Writing

Pop Lit Fiction

LOS ANGELES has long been the most extreme example of American excess. Many writers have tried to capture SoCal’s special vibration; its captivating mix of ethnicity, cars, class, color/weather/nature jammed together like an expressionist painting come alive. One of the best writers on the subject is Robin Wyatt Dunn– who appeared in our modest first New Pop Lit print issue with a terrific story about Los Angeles. Now he’s given us another one, “Travelogue,” full of reality and imagination. A journey through L.A., but also, perhaps, through somewhere else. A Robin Dunn story is always a unique experience.  Don’t miss this one!

Here in the Big Sleep there is no moon, so the sea is tideless. However, it does move. Creeping tendrils of water you will find anywhere along it, shimmering in the darkness. I have walked along Seaside on many a moonless night.

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Speaking of California, be sure to read D.C. Miller’s Appreciation of Philip K. Dick, part of our ongoing All-Time American Writers Tournament.
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(Painting: “Herbstlandschaft mit Booten” by Wassily Kandinsky.)

By Dictate or Argument?

Announcement

SO MUCH of what’s considered literature today is run by dictate, that we hope at some point with the All-Time American Writers Tournament to do things differently.

The recent Granta issue of “Young American Novelists” is an example. Four well-placed judges decided the matter– then word came down from on high. “You WILL accept these selections culled mainly from those given us by the Big 5 conglomerate book companies.”

It’s how the system is run and how it’s always been run. Tops-down in every aspect. The professor tells you, “You WILL appreciate these authors, no matter how stuffy, irrelevant, meaningless, or boring they may be.”

Recent p.c. changes in the university have scarcely altered this– only the names mandated to be appreciated have changed.

The student, like the hapless consumer of Granta, has no say. The decision runs always, always one way.

castro

As many have noted, the situation, in academia and the greater intellectual community, has become ever more totalitarian. There is one accepted ideology. One acceptable set of ideas. One way of thinking.

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We’ll be setting up our brackets for the Tournament with a new mix, according to our best judgment and the standards we’ve outlined– but we don’t pretend to have all the answers. We’d like to receive throughout the course of the Tournament suggestions and arguments about which writers should be included– from writers, general readers, and elite critics alike. If “literature” is to be a living thing and not just an authoritarian dictate, names and ideas should come from everybody.

The All-Time American Writers Tournament will be at our Interactive blog, previously used for fun stuff and pop poetry. (Which we’ll still sneak in on occasion.) Here’s format information. Here’s other tourney info.

We’re at newpoplit AT gmail.com.

#1 seeds are upcoming. . . .