WE TAKE A BREAK from our fiction experiments in the New Pop Lit laboratories to present Three New Poems by a poetic practitioner from Pennsylvania, Luke Kuzmish. The poems touch on subjects as diverse as drug use, Charles Bukowski and Wall Street. (A Wall Street bar, but still.) We hope you enjoy them.
the kind of pills
to fix the problems
they don’t tell you about
in welfare rehabs
(Art: “Painting” by Patrick Henry Bruce.)
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.)
WE DON’T KNOW if we’ll be the ones to punch a hole in the culture which talented-but-undiscovered writers can jump through. But we know someone will, and soon. There are too many outsider writers better than those in the established New York-based literary order for artistic upheaval not to occur.
That there needs to be alternate centers of literary and publishing activity to the New York monolith, in other parts of the country, is stating the obvious. The way to do this is by creating better literary products along with inexpensive ways of producing those products.
For us, it’s all or nothing. Breakthrough at some point or fold up shop.
Our chief tool to achieve our objectives is a new literary product which we’ve been calling–
THE 3–D SHORT STORY
When’s the last time someone seriously tried to reinvent one of the standard literary forms?
Allen Ginsberg did it with his poem “Howl.” A long time ago.
Gordon Lish tried to do it with his unique minimalist take on the short story as featured from 1987 to 1995 in his literary journal, The Quarterly— which included the likes of Amy Hempel, Mark Richard, Diane Williams, and many others.
A worthy attempt. But his writers and their writing were too restrained, too tame– they didn’t go nearly far enough with their aesthetics or their imaginations.
OUR attempt at Artistic Breakthrough begins on June 6th, 2019. Word will occur here as soon as one of the completed stories is posted. 3–D Day IS coming.
(Art: “New Planet” by Konstantin Yuon; “Streetlight” by Giacomo Bala.)
AMID the flurries of ideology and politics bombarding us from all sides on a daily-no-hourly basis, we’d like to emphasize that for us (for all we know only for us) nothing matters in the realm of letters but the quality and passion of the ART. All the ideological intellectual political debates and hates raging to and fro mean nothing in the face of the reality of art.
It’s with this mindset that we offer an incredible reading– captured on video– by arts writer and poet D.C. Miller: “My Behaviour.” Available now at our Open Mic feature. Intelligence combined with passion. To be able to present such moments is what makes this modest project worthwhile.
(REMINDER: The 3–D Short Story debuts at this site June 6. Don’t miss it!)
(Art: “Visions of the Knight Tondal” by Simon Marmion.)
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.)
STORY PROTOTYPES NEAR READINESS
THE FIRST PUBLIC showing of the 3–D Short Story— the historic date– has been announced at our NPL News page.
THE RELEASE of a completed multi-dimensional story will provide a window into the limitless possibilities of the form. The potential of new art. A starting point.
WHO WRITES POP SHORT STORIES?
AS WE WORK to develop what we call the 3–D story– a large component of which is pop writing– we’re aware of how few writers even try to write genuine pop anymore. The kind of accessible-and-fun stories which were once hugely popular– a time when the short story mattered. A time when the short story was THE popular American art form, written by the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald for large circulation magazines like Saturday Evening Post and The Smart Set. In 1930 Fitzgerald was paid $4,000 per story– the equivalent of $60,000 today. A Golden Age for story writers! Writers need to realize why.
Scott Fitzgerald believed he was slumming when writing in this mode– but he wasn’t. Viewed from a distance, many of his pop stories today read as the freshest, most genuine things he wrote.
MEANWHILE, we feature the reappearance of the best pure pop writer in America today, Alex Bernstein. His latest, “Props,” exhibits the special strength of the form. Which includes a fundamentally positive outlook on life, on people and the world. Which we could all use a little of right now.
I explained that Buster is my constant companion, my soulmate, and also a beautiful, stuffed, potted frond plant. He’s my oldest and most favorite prop, and the first real one I ever created. Buster’s been in every show I ever worked on. (He fades perfectly into the background.) We travel everywhere together. He’s very lucky. And yes, sometimes I talk to him. What’s it to ya?
(Paintings: “Arc De Triomphe” by Zelda Fitzgerald; “Potted Plant on Windowsill” by Edvard Munch.)
WELCOME! Did someone say National Poetry Month?
We’ve taken a break from behind-the-scenes activities to post new writing in honor of Poetry Month. (Though to be honest, every month is Poetry Month.) Check out “The Ginger Man and Other Poems” by Jess Mize, a natural talent who can write anything– poetry, prose, or any combination thereof– and make it look easy.
Tell yourself you’re doing your part to support National Poetry Month.
the tentative restless drops drip-drazzling
over the patio umbrella of the café
like the luxury of a mid-day shower
3–D IS Coming
(Meanwhile, we continue to work hard chiseling prototypes for the biggest change the literary world has experienced in decades– the 3–D Short Story. Stay updated at our New Pop Lit News page.)
(Featured art: “Eagle Bringing Cup to Psyche” by Benjamin West.)
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.)
OUR MARCH focus on poetry continues with a selection of striking verse, “Poetry by Warmoth” from rising literary star Kai Warmoth.
NOTE what Warmoth does with images and ideas in these four poems. You won’t see anything quite like it– Kai Warmoth is one of a number of young poets who’ve rejected mere unstructured narcissistic meanderings of a kind seen from scores or hundreds or thousands of follow-the-crowd literary journals and sites, for something deeper, more meaningful. Something unique. Poetry a tad more complex and deep than Instagram scribblings. All four of Warmoth’s poems bear re-reading. In fact, they demand it.
Try as I do to attend to Spring Snow
It doesn’t arrest like her eyes
Carved with rouge and streaked with coal.
And elbows crook’t atop the melanoid throw
Push your face to the skyward glow.
THE 3–D STORY
MEANWHILE, headway on the three-dimensional short story continues. This will be the biggest leap in the art since Hemingway. The concept’s been developed. The work now comes down to perfecting it via prototypes. Which means much trial and error. Which means throwing out standard writer selfishness to focus instead on what works, from the standpoint of readers.
Stay informed on our progress at our New Pop Lit News blog.
(Art: “Composition with Figures” by Lyubov Popova; “Electric Prism” by Sonia Delaunay.)