LABOR DAY in the United States is upon us! Traditionally, marking the end of summer. Of lazy days and magical nights during which anything can happen. To celebrate the soon-to-vanish season, we present “On Midsummer’s Night” by C.A. Shoultz— containing wisps of ghosts of night which themselves may disappear before we’ve fully experienced their call, their magic.
And then a child appeared to me–
Or not a child, for so he seemed
Much older than he looked to be.
He handed me a crimson mask.
“For life and love,” he said, so free–
I shrugged, and put the red mask on,
And through the woods was further drawn.
ALSO– Labor Day means the return of classes and students to colleges across the land. Will the reintroduction of one of America’s most renowned writers, Junot Diaz, to the public world as a professor at MIT go smoothly? We’ve covered the controversy all summer at our NPL News site. Here’s background on the issue.
FINALLY, we introduce our Complaint Department. Have a problem with ourselves, our site, or our ideas? Let us know about it! Thanks.
(Main painting by Ferdinand du Puigaudeau; second painting by John Simmons.)
WE’VE begun to rethink several aspects of this project. One of the items on our planning table is fiction– the style offered. We’re toying with prototypes– will eventually implement tighter requirements. That it be dynamic, punchy, readable, fast, and if possible, fun. The future story will need to slap the reader in the face and grab that person by the collar, in order to survive as an art form.
EVIDENCE shows that the finely-detailed, well-crafted literary story is as slow and obsolete as a Studebaker automobile.
It reaches no one beyond a finely educated clique. A literary priesthood, stodgy and complacent, well-suited for preserving the literary art but not for taking it to new areas.
OUR NEWEST offering, “Hats Off to Bob” by Bob Lorentson– a story about hats!– gives a basic template to build on. Likeable and readable, with a modest-but-amusing punchline. Lorentson isn’t Ernest Hemingway. (Who is?) But we think Hemingway would appreciate what Bob Lorentson does with this unpretentious tale. If not a Corvette, then a Mini Cooper.
Confidence. As much as he hated to admit it, he knew that he lacked the confidence that all those other people had. Or appeared to have. All thanks to his wimpy name and bland, impotent face. Things he had absolutely no control over. It wasn’t fair. How could he go about getting more confident?
OUR LATEST New Pop Lit News report is about dinosaur booksellers, specifically Barnes and Noble. Read it here.
WHAT’S the future of books and literature? We’re not sure, but we know they belong to everyone.
(Art: “Her Paintings, Her Objects” by Sonia Delaunay.)
IN THE CROSS HAIRS?
HAS the coverage at our NPL News blog– of attempts to remove, blacklist, blackball, censor, ban, or banish writers as diverse as Junot Diaz, Rachel Custer, Jay Asher, and Joseph Massey, from jobs and web sites; or label them with a gamut of crimes– made ourselves a target of self-appointed literary cops?
IS ONE allowed to hold a contrary viewpoint– on these issues or other issues?
NO ONE covers happenings in today’s literary scene as thoroughly and fearlessly as ourselves. Here are our most recent posts on the issue of book-world censorship, with more to follow.
“Power Grabbers of Literature”
“Should Writers Be Purged?”
“Who Defends Artistic Expression?”
“Public Denunciations in Art”
(Art: “Premier Disque” by Robert Delaunay.)
Which side are YOU on?
The BATTLE over freedom of speech in America is heating up– and New Pop Lit is in the middle of it.
AT our New Pop Lit News blog we’ve been covering the squelching of speech; the censoring, banning, and blackballing of writers occurring RIGHT NOW across the internet.
Three recent articles:
-A controversial Report about editors censoring, or apologizing for, writers at an Ohio State journal and at other venues.
-A Report about the removal of a Junot Diaz podcast from a book-world site, and the rationale behind this.
-A Report about the media frenzy generated by anonymous accusations against another prominent author, Jay Asher.
FURTHER, to exhibit our belief that any topic is fair game for the talented writer, we’re reviving our Open Mic with an audio reading by D.C. Miller of his strange, perplexing, and provocative poem, “Antifa Whore.”
We’re out to have fun– but every so often we’ll test the envelope. To misquote a critic, we’re diet edgy.
(But we also want people to know what side we’re on where freedom of expression is concerned.)
(Art: “The Brawl” by Ernest Meissonier.)
Poems about strange creatures? Summer is a time for the appearance of strange creatures– but are they creatures of our imaginations or the world? Shadows of night, of nature– or the otherworldly?
KEEPING an occasional fun aspect to this project, today we present three poems by Richard Stevenson, something of an eccentric but entertaining and subtly meaningful poet. (He’s a former professor, what do you expect?) Take a look.
Unrecorded species of orangutan,
survivor from the Pleistocene perhaps,
a small man-size hominid in any case.
But not prone to violence or aggression —
at least not so much as homo sapiens,
ALSO, we have a ton of literary world investigations, revelations, and gossip at our NPL NEWS blog– with much more coming. Can’t-miss information for writers and readers alike.
(Art: “St. George and the Dragon” by Paolo Uccello.)
WHAT?? Experimental DIY author Wred Fright is going to save literature?
Well, he and others like him will if they maintain their imaginative ways of looking at fiction and literature– at what qualifies as fiction and literature. New ways of presenting the art, being readable, hooking unaware members of the greater populace on reading. Sorry, folks, but in the long run– or really, the short run– well-crafted New Yorker stories full of long paragraphs of finely-tuned verbiage putting masses of Manhattan commuters on trains and subways, or businesspersons on crowded airplane flights, to sleep just aren’t going to cut it.
Fiction needs what to compete?
First, immediacy. Second, the unfamiliar. The humorous or surprising.
WE’RE NOT saying Wred Fright is Tolstoy, mind you. (Though one never knows how he’ll be treated in future centuries as mankind keeps changing. He may well be taught in 2118 at online universities, the brick and mortar kind having been long closed or turned into the very WalMarts that Mr. Fright loves to mock!)
Enough of this– read “Yelp in Reverse.” Thanks for being here!
It’s two in the morning, I just want to keep doing shots in the manager’s office and get through the night at what has to be the worst Walmart in America. I want to get out of this hellhole, but a gal dreaming of a lucrative career in retail management has to start somewhere.
KEEP UP on News of the Literary World at New Pop Lit News.
(Main art: “Still Life of Books” by Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Tolstoy painting by Repin.)
WHAT do you want to read in the summer? What would anyone want to read right now? No one is snowbound, locked in a cabin with harsh wind whistling. More like lazy sunshine, seagulls and daydreams.
This ISN’T the time for heavy texts of French postmodern meanderings. (Nothing against the French!) It’s a time for escape, romance, and mood.
We present a taste of that mood with “The Dancer,” a poem by C.A. Shoultz.
The shadows and the glow upon her fell
In fitful swells and motions as she moved
In regular and tidy leaps and bounds
And pirouettes and arabesques of grace.
We aim to be THE best literary site. The quickest route there is by presenting the best poets and story writers. We invite you to join along.
(Art: “Woman Before the Rising Sun” by Caspar David Friedrich; “Streetlamp” by Giacomo Balla.)
JUST when you’ve had enough of summer and its heat, we come along with great summer reading set in Buffalo, New York, during the winter holidays. Snow! Cold! Blizzards!
The story is “Homecoming” by Michael Howard. It’s about a young woman returning home from sunny California during the Christmas season, encountering all the familiar warm faces and smells, but also something darker, lying wait inside the comfortable house. . . .
Lucy had the sensation that the room was growing smaller. She could feel her pulse thumping in her temples as she forced another smile and told him that it was nice of him to say so, but that they really should go back downstairs now. Her words didn’t seem to penetrate–
(Paintings: “Murnau Burggrabenstrasse” by Wassily Kandinsky; “At Dusk” by Childe Hassam.)
RIGHT NOW the U.S. literary world is divided over the Junot Diaz Controversy– the Pulitzer Prize-winning author accused of sexual harassment by an array of accusers. Which side is telling the truth? On which side should be our sympathies?
WE’VE been covering the issue at our News blog. Our 14th post on the topic, “System versus Zeitgeist,” looks at the politicization of the U.S. book world itself, giving context to what’s happening.
The post in the series which best expresses our author’s purpose might be this one, “Unlocking the Junot Diaz Puzzle.”
Which side in the dispute will win? That is yet to be determined.
THE WAR between men and women in this culture is ongoing. Redress of long-held grievances. We’ve published an array of featured fiction and poetry addressing the issue.
Today we feature fiction from one of the best short story writers in America, Anne Leigh Parrish. The story, “He Said, She Said,” contains Anne Leigh’s trademark insights into the subtleties and outrages which entangle that tentative truce between the sexes we call marriage.
Does this sound like anyone you know?
He was a romantic character. Women outnumbered men at his book-signings, and when he went on tour, trips she couldn’t take with him, because of the children. His mystery novels were considered clever, good psychological studies of the criminal mind, the rationalization people engage in when they’ve done wrong.
(Painting: “Landscape with Sun Disk” by Robert Delaunay.)