Pop Lit Explosion

Rant

THERE HAVE BEEN examples of pop culture rescuing a nation’s morale. In this country, scarcely a month after the John F. Kennedy assassination came the British Invasion spearheaded by the Beatles– an example of escape from trauma offered by ART. Simultaneously, home grown pop music exploded with the “Sound of Young America” emerging from Motown. The joy didn’t last long– but left as legacy the best pop music ever recorded.

AT THE MOMENT American morale is in the toilet. Glum expressions from Debbie Downers everywhere. “Woe is us!” proclaims the intellectual class on Left and Right. As if the quixotic project called the American Dream Machine were over. To quote (name-drop alert)  George Plimpton on the one occasion I met him: “Nonsense!”

If some believe the American experiment is over, with perhaps more perspective from the beaten-down streets of Detroit we see this moment as opportunity for a pop culture explosion.

Iraqi Freedom

WHY NOT pop literature? The last time writers were at the center of pop culture was the 1920’s– ironically, a decade that was a huge influence on the Beatles. The “fun-at-all-costs” attitude of the Fitzgeralds’ Jazz Age morphed into early 60’s fun music that rocked the world.

Change will come from literature only if new writers present stronger attitudes, unbeatable confidence and more exciting art. Along with a dollop of pure fun.
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If we’re dynamic, there exists as antagonist and obstacle the moldy and static– the artistically inbred Manhattan monolith. We’ve been covering at our News blog the publishing Overdogs who run a phony puppet show known as the National Book Awards. Follow our coverage.
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There’s also the ongoing All-Time American Writers Tournament. More to happen there as well, soon. Stay tuned.

K.W.

(Painting: “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire” by Russell Patterson.)

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The Populist Alternative

Announcement

(Featured painting: “Festival” by Daniel Celentano c/o Smithsonian.)

We’re not just an alternative to an embalmed establishment literary scene that’s artistically frozen in time. We’re the alternative to the alternatives. We offer the only possible way to unite antagonists on all sides to revive the literary art. We believe in the need for uniquely American literature– art which helps define and give voice to this land and people. We reject fragmented culture– the constant cultural warfare which those highly placed above the fray seem to want.

We present instead to readers and writers our banner of POP!

POSTCARD Big Pop 11-page-001

A populist ethos is one aspect– not the only aspect– of pop literature. Pop Lit!
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As evidence of our dedication to American lit we’re presenting the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Latest happening there is the #4 Seeds announcement. Upcoming are profiles of J.D. Salinger, Misty Copeland(?), Mary Gaitskill, Ayn Rand, Henry Miller, Saul Bellow-versus-Herman Wouk, and many more of our literature-and-culture’s brightest stars. Plus official choices for #5 Seeds.
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We also believe in giving you news about the literary world. Stories and scandals which no one else in literature today will touch. The newest post at our News blog is “The Lit Scene Now,”  — first part of a revealing analysis of the literary business, examining current players and real motivations. Not to be missed!

Pop lit is alive and well!

1934 Reginald Marsh (American artist, Locomotives, Jersey City, 1934
(Painting: “Locomotive, Jersey City” by Reginald Marsh c/o Smithsonian.)

Real Life in Flash Fragments

flash fiction

AT ITS BEST flash fiction gives you real life in short bursts. Could one say the effect, from an artistic standpoint, is cubist? Sample two new flash pieces by Andrew Sacks to see. One story’s about a marriage. The other, about a job interview. Fast-but-sharp reading.

Miles had always tried to compensate by a self-confidence bordering on bluster. Certainly not a bully, he did in fact seem to intimidate many people, or at least put them on their heels a bit, by his overriding assertiveness and swagger. His belief in himself was absolute. . . .

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We’ve also tweaked our “Young Writers” essay, including the fourth profile, of Jess Mize. Are these four writers the future of literature? Do they point a way forward for the literary art– bringing new imagination, charisma, and talent? Read the essay. We’ll be spotlighting other young writers in coming months.

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(Painting by Juan Gris.)

NEW POP LIT at the Dally!

Announcement

There will be a NEW POP LIT table at the famed Detroit “Dally in the Alley” street fair this Saturday. The Dally is one of the largest urban street fairs in the country– and because it’s in the Motor City, it’s the coolest, hippest, edgiest such fair anyplace.

What will we have for sale and on display?

-A limited number of copies of the NEW POP LIT prototype lit journal, which contains exciting writing fitting the new “Pop Lit” hybrid category. This is the most important debut of a literary periodical at least since Paris Review came out sixty-plus years ago. The difference is that our journal presents new ideas from outside the mainstream. See what the future looks like.

-Special Kathleen Crane “Aloha from Detroit” t-shirts promoting the Detroit punk-scene chronicler’s e-book collection of stories.

-A variety of zines created by the best underground writer in America, Jessie Lynn McMains. Here’s a prediction: Jessie will soon be recognized as the best short story writer in the country.

(AN ASIDE: Kathleen Crane and Jessie Lynn McMains both have stories in the NPL prototype.)

-Copies of the Dan “I’m not Picasso” Nielsen art-lit chapbook. Prose poems and amazing drawings. Talk about a collector’s item!

-Various other books and zines from terrific new “Pop Lit” writers.

All this in the setting of the colorful Dally in the Alley, THE most amazing organic-and-authentic art festival in the nation.

To top things off, I’ll be there in person. (At one time I was the most exciting and provocative literary performer anywhere to be seen– and may still be.) I’ll have my voice and possibly even my faux-craziness with me. If you’re at the Dally, stop by and say hi!

(Pictured: a past version of this editor at Jeff Potter’s ULA table during an early moment at a previous Dally.)

-Karl Wenclas

The Double

Pop Fiction

Hello! We’re back to posting short fiction, which is our main purpose. We seek to present stories that are readable, compelling, and well-written. We have one! The question you must ask yourself about this tale is this: is it genre or is it literature? (This is a question John Colapinto addressed for us in his recent interview.) We’re of a mind that fiction can and should be both. Doppelgangers in particular have been used in fiction by talented pop-lit writers from Edgar Allan Poe to Fyodor Dostoevsky to Joseph Conrad. (Do we believe Nels Hanson is in sterling company? Yes.)

Read Mr. Hanson’s deep, noirish tale “The Double” and see what you think.

I was dead. I lay on the cold pebbles. The water flowed over me. With drowned eyes I saw the stars flicker like wet candles past the dark surface of the creek.

Interview with Allied Media Conference!

Events

allied media con

We at NEW POP LIT are furiously readying our first print issue– which will contain words and art from a dozen talented writers. We also have a dynamite cover by Detroit artist Alyssa Klash. A Sneak Preview of the issue takes place in less than a week, beginning June 19th at our table at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, at Wayne State University.

Though she’s extremely busy, AMC Program Director Morgan Willis was able to give us and our readers information about the nationally renowned conference, and answer a few general questions.

NPL: Where can our readers learn about the history of the AMC event?

https://www.alliedmedia.org/amc/background

NPL: What inspired organizers to choose Detroit for the venue this year?

MORGAN: The AMC has been in Detroit since 2007. The move facilitated more young people, queer people, people of color and low-income communities to participate in the conference. More artists and organizers from Detroit were participating, and people from other places were excited to learn from Detroit’s legacy as a Black Power and Labor Movement city. Detroit offered many examples of visionary organizing models emerging in the midst of post-industrial crisis; at the same time, out-of-town visitors to the AMC brought with them skills and experiences from their home communities that were valuable to Detroiters.

NPL: The AMC has so many events, meetings, dialogues and expositions… what are your favorites and are there any you’d recommend especially for modern short fiction writers?

MORGAN: My favorites are often in the Intergalactic Intergenerational Justice Practice Space (https://www.alliedmedia.org/amc/tpsng). There are tons of storytelling sessions, and as a short fiction writer myself I find various perspectives on what it even means to tell a story a tremendously helpful lens. The entire schedule can be found at http://www.amc2015.alliedmedia.org. Other content areas that may interest “modern short fiction writers” could be the Spoken Movement Track as well as the brilliant exhibition area that features recently published books, zines, magazines, etc.

NPL: Are there new features for participants to look out for this year?

MORGAN: Yes, check out this blog post: https://www.alliedmedia.org/news/2015/06/09/10-reasons-why-amc2015-will-be-best-amc-ever

Thanks Morgan! We’ll see you at the AMC.

(Read more about NEW POP LIT’s new journal at our house blog, http://www.newpoplitinteractive.wordpress.com)