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?
Why the Che photo?
We have poetic entertainment for U.S. tax day– including a Che Guevara poem. Very appropriate if you think about it, whatever your viewpoint– whether you want more taxes, or less.
Hemingway (and the Bible) said “The Sun Also Rises.”
WE say, “We Also Publish Poetry!”
We hope you enjoy these four poems by underground poet John Grochalski. Should we run more poetry on this site? Can poetry be readable and entertaining? Striking and thought-provoking? Let us know what you think!
i want to ask him how he pulled it off
down there in bolivia
how he fooled us all and lived
but che looks like he hates
the 4 train as much as i do
Spring is here! Time for a fresh start, a new attitude.
What’s coming at New Pop Lit?
A lot! A mix of prose, poetry, and hype profiles.
First: stories. You want stories? We have stories! By some of the best short story writers in the English-speaking world, if not the entire universe. This includes tales by James Guthrie and Joshua Isard. It includes terrific new work by Anne Leigh Parrish and Scott Cannon, who’ve both appeared here before. Their talent is off the boards. We’re amazed we’re still able to obtain work from them– in different ways they exemplify a dawning new golden age of the American short story art. Would that these writers become as recognized as Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald– but that’s our job!
Toward that end, we have a hype interview planned for Ms. Parrish– not before we post a profile of Jessie Lynn McMains and an interview with Samuel Stevens.
Finally, there’s poetry. We don’t publish a lot of poetry, but we received striking work from two very different poets, John Grochalski and Erin Knowles Chapman. Their work was too good to ignore.
If we get a chance to squeeze in another “Question of the Month,” we’ll do so. The first one was spectacularly successful.
Thanks for staying up on us. Our readers are all.
Is it Halloween yet?
Decorations and haunted houses everyplace tell us that the dubious-but-fun holiday is almost upon us. To add our take we have four poems from Ed Ahern, who specializes in the creepy.
They’re poems about night, death, the adoration of questionable goddesses, and other cryptic topics. Ideal mood music for those who wander the pathways and cemetaries of night– if only within their own heads. Enter corridors of the imagination now.
The rules change at night
When coyotes prowl the gardens
And walled-in huddlers cringe