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.)
IN THE MIDDLE of summer everyone seems to be traveling or escaping, from the heat of jobs or the stagnation of their lives. In the middle of summer, we like to sometimes present short summer fiction perfect for reading about exotic locales where you might like to travel to, or at least imagine being there.
Today we have a well-written short story by talented writer Zachary H. Loewenstein, “Jerusalem,” which in concise words captures the bustle and heat of the well-traveled city– as if he were creating a painting instead of a story. We think you’ll enjoy it.
“It was just right about there.” The entirely bald and unlicensed tour guide pointed with his swollen index finger. His brain was cooking in the heat and he shouted. He clapped his hands and insisted, “Ok! Everybody! It’s time to move to the market! Everybody!”
(Art: “House in the Garden 1908” by Pablo Picasso.)
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.)
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.)