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. . . .

House Pets of Literature

News

“House pets” may be too strong a term to refer to the twenty-one American novelists featured in Granta magazine’s new issue. BUT, with one potential exception, none of the twenty-one is out to shock the literary establishment with contrary viewpoints– or with new ways of looking at the literary art. That’s left for upstart outfits like ourselves.

The London/New York literary establishments have marshaled their resources to stress the importance of this Granta issue. In the U.S., Slate, The Millions, The Center for Fiction, Library Journal, L.A. Times, Lit Hug; Lucas Wittmann, Laura Miller, Nick Moran, Barbara Hoffert, Michael Schaub, Carolyn Kellogg, Emily Temple; all the usual critical advocates– to the prestigious Guardian newspaper in the U.K. WE alone present the other side of things.

The key in this world is seeing issues and subjects three-dimensionally. One should never accept without question a flat presentation. What the mandarins of culture wish you to see. You might miss what’s really happening.

And so, at our News blog, our perspective on the Granta issue. Worth a look.

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Also, please consider your candidates for the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Who’s your choice? If you have one, or several, email us with a name or names, reasons, or rationalizations. We’re at newpoplit AT gmail.com.

Thanks!

(Cat photo c/o Jamie Lockhart.)

Year-End Wrap-Up

Announcement

happy-new-year-page-001

The first task of any upstart literary outfit is to survive. We’ve accomplished this for another year– but we want more. In 2017 we plan to give you more. A lot more.

In the meantime, read our year-end  review News Report of our 2016 activities at our News blog.

Also be sure to read our final Fun Pop Poem of 2016, “Exploitation of Subtlety” by multi-talented artist/writer Dan Nielsen.

Thanks to one and all!

 

Pushcart Time

Announcement

OUR PUSHCART PRIZE NOMINATIONS

All Hail Pushcart! Yes, we’re one of the many small literary outfits who applaud the Pushcart Prize collections– though we have reservations. To discover what they are, and at the same time find out which works we nominated for the annual awards this year, read this.

Have we missed the boat this year with our picks? Are we all wet? Living in Fantasyland? Let us know!

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This week we’ve also kicked off a can’t miss Cat Poetry Festival at our Fun Pop Poetry feature, here.

Scenes from a Scary Novel

Pop Fiction

Happy Halloween! We find ourselves without a new Halloween story to present to you– so we dug up from a literary crypt fragments of an unfinished slasher novel, like cut-up pieces of a corpse. The original idea was that the intellectual parts of the novel would be scarier than the scary parts. It’s about a city, a mayor, and his wife, and staff, and a series of murders with which they’re confronted. Read the excerpts here.

The resurrected novel notes anyway are an apt prelude to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which kicks off November 1st. We’ll be doing a presentation for NaNoWriMo in the Detroit area– more info to follow .

The finely-sharpened hunting knife filled the killer’s vision. Staring at the edge of the knife intoxicated him. The image carried resonances of barbarism. Violence and blood. To his warped mind, the killings were necessary, but they’d also become fun.

Hemingway Wrap-Up

Feature

We end our July-long celebration with an apocryphal(?) little tale about young Ernest Hemingway’s days in northern Michigan, at our Detroit Literary blog. It’s not much of a feature, admittedly– but does give us the opportunity to catch up on reading submissions and planning future happenings.

If you haven’t already, be sure to read our big Hemingway discussion, which features commentary about Ernest Hemingway’s reputation today by a wide variety of noteworthy writers and critics. We’ve received nothing but positive feedback about this feature. Well worth rereading.

Upcoming are profiles about, and new writing by, many of America’s most exciting writers. Our chief mission is to discover the next Hemingway; i.e., the next important American literary icon. THIS is the place where new ideas about literature are happening.

Year-End Report

Announcement

Hello! Our main accomplishment in 2015 was surviving– given that half of our modest team left halfway through the year. We’d already taken on more than we could reasonably handle.

Not to worry! We had a few coups in our pursuit of literary notability.

Among them: two terrific interviews with establishment writers– who were candid with us as they NEVER could be in a status quo publication. See our talks with

John Colapinto

Tom LeClair

We also continued to present terrific new writing, which is what we’re about. Our coup on that front was publishing the first story in English by renowned Belarus author Andrei Dichenko.

“Energy”

In all things, our mission is to showcase reader-friendly writing– including from writers too quirky, edgy, different, or real for the literary “mainstream.” We aim to expand the bounds of what’s considered good writing.

Finally, we struggled out our first print issue– available, along with other NEW POP LIT products, at our Detroit blog.

What lies ahead?

-An improved web site.

-Other books.

-Perhaps, an expanded team.

-And, at this location– exciting pop-lit writing of a kind not found anyplace else. Those writers to be featured after the New Year include: Tom Ray, Ron Singer, Joe Wilson, Jess Mize, Scott Cannon, Ian Lahey, Dave Petraglia, Kathleen Crane, among others.

PLUS, maybe a surprise or two. We have on our drawing board, in the NEW POP LIT design shop, a way to reinvent the short story– giving the public a model faster and more powerful than what’s been done.

Stay tuned! Exciting happenings are ahead.

(Image artist: Larisa Koshkina.)