ZEENS!

Announcement

A NEW KIND OF PUBLICATION

The book is dead. Or at least, the word itself turns off more than half of the potential audience, because they associate it with word-clotted unexciting tomes packaged in volumes reeking of dust and stodginess.

Time to rethink the package– and the product itself. Which is what we do in our latest “zeen” journal/fanzine hybrid, Extreme Zeen 2. Worth a look for the adventurous. Buy it here. Try out the New– soon to be the NOW. (We’ll be surprised if upon receiving it you don’t say, “Wow!”)

Until then, read the story behind the publication, “The Story of Extreme Zeen.”

Extreme Zeen Two

Announcement

AN EXCITING NEW PUBLICATION

Our collective lives on this planet are defined by what we create. By the legacy we leave. What will that legacy be? Mediocrity?

At New Pop Lit we’re planting a marker in the culture saying, “No! Beauty and intelligence did not die in the decade of the 2020s. We know 1920s writers and artists were amazing. But so are we!”

Our newest publication, Extreme Zeen 2, is a demonstration of what future literary excitement can look like. A print lit journal whose words and colors jump off the page. Like nothing before seen.

Extreme Zeen– TWO! Available NOW at our POP SHOP.

XXXX

Pop Culture: Games, Movies, and Popcorn

Feature

WITH SUMMER upon us we thought it was time for a bout of light reading– in this case via Two Short Pop Pieces by Andrew Sacks.

Both pieces connect to pop culture experiences in the real world. The first essay is about the similarities between poker and chess– which were once the chief games for people in America to play (not video games!), and provided great brain training for future endeavors. Both games involve a high degree of skill and psychology, as Andrew discusses in his essay.

His second piece is about cult movies. Do teenagers still flock to midnight movies on weekends? Nothing better embodies the cinema experience– screaming or laughing with a crowd of fellow moviegoers. Andrew gives us a few of his favorites. One can watch them at home of course– as virtually everyone has done during the pandemic– but is it really the same?

Anyway, pop culture reading not to miss!

At first glance, it seems that chess is a contest of pure skill and iron logic, and that any gambling card game must, inherently, incorporate so much luck that skill must play a small part and compare unfavorably with the Royal Game. But, in the final analysis, this turns out to be an oversimplified and naïve point of view.

XXXXXXX

(Art: “Chess Players” by Henri Hayden; “Checkmate” by Moritz Retzsch.)

The Birth of POP

Pop Lit Fiction

NEW FICTION ABOUT A PEAK PERIOD IN AMERICAN ART AND CULTURE

WITH glamorous historic names like Bob and Andy glimpsed on the streets of Manhattan in the early 1960s when culture was VIBRANT–

–everything changing artistically, everything visceral, real and exciting, how can any reader resist our new feature, “SOUP CAN” by Brian McVety?

The task for all of us today involved in some way with artistic and cultural creation is to grab that influence, that excitement, to imagine, construct, paint or write a peak period for our own day.

Jane turned to the second to last page, and showed me a picture of a man with who had what looked like ironed bleached-blond hair, severely parted towards the left, with dark, square-framed sunglasses hiding his eyes. The photograph stopped at the man’s midriff, only showing his tight short-sleeve shirt with hypnotic horizontal stripes making him appear like a mirage. Although his eyes were hidden, the expression on his face suggested he was revolted his picture was being taken, yet he almost appeared to be posing at the same time. I had never seen a man like him before in my life.

XXXX

Cranky Poetry by Mather

Poetry

Yes, it’s cranky poetry, with a few shots at millennials– they can take it– but it’s also great poetry containing energy and rhythm, a delight in using words spouting them shouting them no matter who it enlightens or infuriates, which is what poetry has always been about. Not polite, you say? Impoliteness a small price to pay for passionate language. Read these words– Two Poems by Mather Schneider— and hear them echoing in your head.

For a shadow-being,
it’s bizarre how you know
everything about everything

to social media’s lower orders
smirking behind that sweet ironic
Draconian curtain

(By the way, Mather has an Op Ed– opinion column– about poetry in Literary Fan Magazine. Have you read it? Don’t miss out!)

XXXX

(Art: “Ancient of Days” by William Blake.)

Stars and Fans

Pop Lit Fiction

What makes a celebrity? A star? What gives the person a special allure? Distance, illusion, mystery?

This is a question explored in our new fiction feature, “Fanboy” by Alan Swyer, set in the alluring capitol of glamorous stars, Hollywood circa today.

Incidentally or ironically, Alan Swyer is one of the literary stars featured in New Pop Lit‘s own modest version of a Photoplay-like fanmag, namely, Literary Fan Magazine. Is it time to create a literary version of Hollywood? Maybe!

Meanwhile, read the story.

“Why today? If so much stuff’s been bugging you, why’ve you been holding it in?”

Allison frowned. “I reached a point where enough is enough. But know what bothers me most? Not your snoring, not that you put your feet on furniture, not even that half the time you seem oblivious. Want to know?”

“Fire away.”

“Your shrine.”

<<<<>>>>

(Both artworks by famed illustrator Rolf Armstrong.)

New Fiction: Pandemic Life

Pop Lit Fiction

MANY GOOD STORIES are of the kind you admire for their plotting or their writing, colorful characters or sense of adventure.

Others challenge you, asking first, “What would you do?” They take you through several emotions then drop you back down to earth, a changed person.

Our new fiction feature is the latter: “Sorry For Your Loss” by Greg Golley. The story is not just excellent as a story, but as a metaphor for the changes, in lifestyle and emotion, we’ve all been through the past year. I’d like to think we’ve been changed for the better– deepened, put more in touch with our humanity– as the narrator in the story is changed.

Anyway, we hope you like it!

I seemed to be alone in the house. Soothed by the sound of the furnace kicking in and by the feel of warm slippers on my stocking feet, I opened the fridge to see what was there. I finally selected an IPA and ambled over to the window to admire my newly cleaned-up yard, wondering distantly how the whole dinner-with-Nathan question had been settled. Looking back, I can now appreciate these few thoughtless actions as my final moments of true innocence. What I saw when I looked into the backyard was my future – handed down to me like a sentence.

<<<<<<<>>>>>>>

(Art: “The Good Samaritan” by Eugene Delacroix.)

Book Reviews 2021

reviews

At New Pop Lit we love all things book related and we try to write the occasional review. Today we’ve posted at our oft-neglected Book Chat/Book Review blog a review of a powerful new collection of stories by Emma Duffy-Comparone, Love Like That. Any short story writer particularly will want to get this book– to see what’s being done by fellow writers. What’s accomplished and what can be accomplished with the form. No doubt that with a few of these stories, Duffy-Comparone sets the bar high.

Something for others to shoot for.

<<<<>>>>

(Be sure as well to read another book review we posted this year, this one— of a book about Sylvia Plath– parked at our Opinion page.)

>>>><<<<

ALSO pay a quick visit to our POP SHOP! Purchase our latest. Talk about state of the art!

Thanks.

The Importance of Being Unique

Announcement

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.
-Martha Graham

MUCH TALK is taking place in the art world about so-called NFTs– Non-Fungible Tokens. A kind of cyberspace gimmick which is in fact a rebellion against the proliferation and profusion of Sameness.

In literature and publishing we’re bombarded with the generic. This is widely advertised– via categories (“Young Adult”) and genres. Authors intentionally imitating other authors– normal up to a point; excusable when they differentiate themselves within the genre, emphasizing original style, ideas, viewpoint, or voice. The problem is the differentiation has dwindled into non-existence. “Literary” stories produced daily in writing programs by the truckload. Fantasy/sci-fi/crime/confessional novels multiplying upon Amazon as if a computer program were generating them. Free verse poetry without craft so it becomes impossible to distinguish voice or personality within the works, which play on minute subtleties. Infinitesimal nuances of sensitivity enlivened, if ever, by political signalings to say, “Hey, maybe I can’t write, but I care.” The only way one can know, maybe, that the work wasn’t produced by an algorithm.

Sameness upon sameness.

The purpose of this project is to create original literary art. Which means working toward reinvention of literary forms, but also presenting those forms in unique packages we’re calling zeens, which are available here.

The only way to stand out from the mass crowd is by being unique. NFTs are kind of a con artist’s solution to the problem– a gimmicked fix where the “owner” is “handed” a metaphorical certificate (even the certificate is online) but it’s all really smoke and mirrors behind glass, you’re a spectator in a museum. Illusion. A Houdini magic trick.

WE at New Pop Lit have a better idea. NFZs– Non-Fungible Zeens. Objects which are certifiably unique but which you actually hold and feel, and can turn the pages, and wonder at the images inside. Available to you alone. This is the direction in which we’ve been headed anyway. In our next zeen, due late spring, we will attempt to make each copy unique– not via a number or autograph, but ensuring each cover and perhaps a few of the pages are different– in color, arrangement, or font– from those of other copies. Until we run out of variables. Then we’ll create no more copies of that issue, and delete the files (many which will have taken many hours to create).

IS THIS DOABLE?

We intend to find out!

<<<<>>>>

Literary Fan Is Here!

Announcement

DEBUT OF AN EXCITING NEW LITERARY PUBLICATION

We are hewing a path, with our new print publications– “zeens”– toward the future of literature and publishing. Which means, making everything about literature and its presentation way more exciting.

OUR LATEST demonstration model toward that end is Literary Fan Magazine, now on sale at our POP SHOP.

Everything about this offering is fun and unique. For example: For most literary publications, visuals are an afterthought. For us they’re an essential part of the whole. In designing this modest magazine we worked to achieve synergy between words and images. To have each page complement the one next to it, when the journal is opened and you’re reading it.

WHY POP LIT?
a story

In 2012, after the television show “Mad Men” made reference to the movie “Bye Bye Birdie,” a Philadelphia theater on Broad Street showed the 1963 film on a giant screen. In attendance were many students from the nearby University of the Arts. Also in one of the seats was the future editor of New Pop Lit.

The film– hardly a classic; much of it is ridiculous– is a profusion of well-designed images. Presented in wide-screen Panavision, the movie’s day-glo colors and ceaseless energy popped off the screen. The experience was one of pure fun.

This is the kind of well-designed effect we want to give with our new print publication, Literary Fan Magazine.

>>>><<<<