WE’VE ADDED New York City journal The Baffler to our knockout victims. See our analysis of that strangely esteemed magazine. In response to the seriousness of our points, to date the Baffler‘s editors have not been able to say anything.
At the same time we have an Open Mic feature going– which we promise to keep entertaining.
Kicking things off: “Kate Hepburn” reads a poem penned by one of our favorite writers. Listen to the recording. Let us know what you think.
Next week: New fiction.
(Art by George Bellows.)
AS A POP LIT website we’re out to redefine the mainstream– but aren’t beyond occasional forays outside our familiar lines if the work deserves it. (Our roots are in the literary underground.) Even if the source of the unfamiliar material is that dreaded monster-metropolis of New York.
(Accompanying NYC music.)
It’s in places of highest power and station– among wavering skyscrapers– that one finds an underside. The literary obverse.
We start then with one of Brooklyn’s best young poets, Rus Khomutoff. He calls his work surpoems. We have four of them here.
in a sea of dotted infinity
the rhythm of life
(Painting: “New York from Brooklyn” by Colin Campbell Cooper.)
NEXT we have an Appreciation from New York avant-garde icon Richard Kostelanetz, of New York poet Frank Kuenstler, part of the ongoing ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITERS TOURNAMENT.
Has New Pop Lit been taken over by, gasp!, New Yorkers? Not quite.
NEW POP LIT ATTACKS NEW YORK!
FINALLY, we have a review of the January 29 issue of The New Yorker— flagship of the literary establishment and woefully decrepit. Or: The future is US.
(Feature painting: “Tower of Babel” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.)
Poetry in outer space,
poetry is every place!
Poetry is hip and cool
(Apologies to Dr. Seuss.)
WE MISSED National Poetry Day– likely one of those Hallmark-created holidays anyway. We’re making up for it by turning our site temporarily over to poets and poetry.
FIRST is this week’s feature, “Black Water and Other Poems” by renowned Ohio poet Robert Beveridge.
The departure began
at a Dave Smith reading
as I poured alcohol
and peroxide down
the podium to kill
the beer worms.
NEXT are the latest selections for the All-Time American Writers Tournament. ALL POETS!! Find out who they are here.
We ALSO recently posted a missive from a mysterious activist character at the Tournament named “Cherry Bomb”– which just happens to be in the form of a poem.
(If we’re not having occasional fun– then what’s the point?)
Pop it, punch it, make it snap
Poetry is where it’s at! 🙂
Welcome to summer! No heavy reading this week– only some light summer poetry courtesy of Ray McKenzie, “Supermoon Eclipse.” About two people doing what maybe all of us want to be doing. . . .
There’s a glowing full moon to view tonight as I type this– though no eclipse. (A solar eclipse is coming in August.)
Black stars crawl across
her face like so many leaves
scattered by the wind.
ALSO: Due to summer heat, writer vacations and hunting trips and such, we’ve taken a brief pause from the All-Time American Writers Tournament. It’ll be back here soon.
WE’VE BEEN primarily promoting poetry the previous few weeks, particularly with our Fun Pop Poetry feature. Pushing the parameters of what acceptable poetry looks like. Some might say we’ve gone too far with that! But in addition to having fun, we also look for more serious verse, written in what we consider to be a “pop” style.
Which means, we look for a poet who uses at least some rhythm or rhyme. Who has a sense, consciously or instinctively, of euphony. Which means poems that are pleasing to recite or read– not in some ethereal never-never land but part of today. Poems which create images of this world. Of now.
Most of all we look for the elusive quality “talent”– a quality once highly valued in the literary realm, but which in our postmodern age of no standards or reality has largely been pushed to the side. Not here!
We believe we’ve discovered a young poet of striking talent in Timmy Chong. Read his poetry here and see if you agree.
they call us corrupt
because we travel in packs—
newfound adults in
pastel shorts and
they say our brotherhood
bleeds mob mentality,
that we are aggressive
in our privilege
and childish for
buying the same brands,
spitting off of sidewalks,
stumbling at dawn, and
singing too loud our
We’re serious about moving in a strong way into the genre of poetry. The classic art has been marginalized by the academy; kept alive by hip-hop and open mics. As always, we aim for a fusion of the two types.
October 17 is the birthday of Sylvia Plath, whose dark vision in its mix of craft and passion in the last years of her life was a high point of American poetry. After her death, the form abandoned its sense of music and euphony.
An exception to this abandonment happened in Liverpool, England in the early 1960’s. We’ve discovered a pop poetry movement centered in that industrial city– at the same time a group of moptop musicians began making waves with a unique brand of pop music. We’ll have a report on this, upcoming.
At our News blog, we take an entertaining glance at the five poets named last week as finalists for the National Book Award for Poetry. In fact, we grade them.
What’s our reaction to the Nobel Prize for Literature award to Bob Dylan? To us, it shows the failure of today’s poets to connect meaningfully with the general public– creating a vacuum which has been filled the past fifty years by popular troubadors like Bob Dylan. We say, give us not Bob Dylan but another Dylan Thomas!
Our fledgling Fun Pop Poetry feature is a beginning, only that, to a true poetry revival– making the art accessible to everybody.
For a more serious version of pop poetry, in one week we’ll feature several poems from one of the best young poets we’ve seen– proving to us the future of poetry is very bright. Stay tuned to this literary station!
OCTOBER, which ends with Halloween, is a crazy month– and we’re going crazy about poetry. Toward that end, we feature Four Poems from intellectual poet Bruce Dale Wise. As you’ll see, he’s known for his topicality.
Are his poems traditional? Postmodern? Both? Neither? Read them and judge for yourself.
The coup in Turkey has been stopped; the purges now begin.
It’s time to cleanse state institutions shouts out Erdoĝan.
So who is being targeted in this his counter-coup?
All those who do not totally support his point of view:
We also have a dynamite interview with Bruce up at our New Pop Lit News blog. Check it out!
I lean to our time, the New Millennial period; the Internet has opened up the possibilities of American poetry, and I think it is exciting to be writing right now.
As readers know, we’ve published some but not a lot of poetry. Some of the poetry we’ve run has been good underground-style writing. Some of it has been semi-pop. We now seek to go into full pop poetry mode.
What’s pop poetry?
We’re not certain, because it largely doesn’t exist yet! We can imagine what true pop poetry would look like.
Pop poetry would be:
-As visible and “there” as a painting.
-Have rhythm and rhyme someplace. Maybe standard AA BB or AB AB etc. work. Maybe off beat. Maybe in the middle of lines. Think innovatively!
Or: We’ll know pop poetry when we see it. If we present just what everyone else is presenting– what’s the point?
Our month-long tribute to Hemingway continues with five short pieces by Jess Mize– a very talented young American writer, as Ernest Hemingway was once a very talented young American writer. Let the celebration continue!
I thought about death in the afternoon and how once, over half a century ago I was gored in the groin performing a sarcastic veronica and confident with the knowledge of money to come and the scent of arrogant Spanish wine by the pool in San Sebastian.
Warhol or cheeseburger?
Cheeseburger or Warhol?
Such are dilemmas of running a pop literary site. Do we headline our current offering with a photo of a cheeseburger, or one of Andy Warhol?
The New Pop Lit staff engaged in a furious debate over the matter.
The question came up because we feature today four poems from talented Detroit-area poet Erin Knowles Chapman. One of the poems has to do with pop artist Andy Warhol. Another mentions a cheeseburger.
We finally asked ourselves: “What would Warhol do?”
Being a pop artist– loving American pop culture– Andy Warhol would undoubtedly have run with the cheeseburger, which screams “Americana.” Which shouts, “pop.”
Who are we to argue with Andy Warhol? We are, after all, a “pop” cultural project.
Anyway, please read the four poems. We hope you enjoy them!
Snow, the size of thumbprints, diagonally descends.
Do the Fates constrict our naked hands?