The topic of conversation this week in the established literary world is the publication of Jonathan Franzen’s latest big novel, Purity— one of those sporadic books meant to justify the existence of said literary world. No American novelist over the past fifteen years has received the same level of critical attention combined with media hype.

Is the hype justified?

To answer that question, NEW POP LIT’s Karl Wenclas questions the esteemed author and book reviewer Tom LeClair, who reviewed Franzen’s novel last week at The Daily Beast. Now LeClair amplifies his thoughts; holding nothing back as he examines Franzen, other reviewers, and the current state of American literature and publishing. Read our exclusive interview with him now!

–the critics who go along with Time’s assertion that Franzen is a “Great American Novelist” will be found out and mocked. . . .

Coming Attractions


What’s up? Been having a dynamite summer?

We have! Among the writing we’ve published here has been baseball pop, noir pop, experimental pop, creepy pop, political pop (same thing), pop poetry, plus an interview with one of North America’s best and most controversial writers.

We promise that more exciting fiction and poetry will follow. We’ve lined up many weeks of terrific work. Our only criteria is that the writing be readable and good– so sometimes we receive amazing writing which no one else will touch. That’s our mission, if truth be told.

We’re also lining up more provocative interviews. We’ll also do much more to promote pop writers and we continue to search for outstanding pop writers.

What of our publishing endeavors, you ask?

They’re moving along, at snail’s pace maybe, but they’re moving. The first real printing of NEW POP LIT The Print Version aka Issue #1 will happen. Target date is before October 1. We thank those writers and artists included for their patience. We’ll be selling the issue and other publications– and future publications– at our website and through other venues.

In the meantime we’ll have remaining copies of our “Sneak Preview” printing of NEW POP LIT #1 for sale at Detroit’s biggest street fair September 12– along with zines, t-shirts, and books. Stay tuned for more news about that.

Before all this takes place, please explore this site– especially our Coffee House page, where we have links to:

-Fun stuff at New Pop Lit Interactive. Currently we’re asking, “Who’s the Greatest Pop Personality of All Time?” (Not the biggest. The greatest.)

-Lit-world news at our News page. At the moment we ask questions regarding the promotion of Jonathan Franzen’s well-hyped new novel. Read our report and stay current!

-A Detroit literary blog which will track our attempts to build new publishing in this tough but opportunistic town. We deal here in big ideas only.

Which could be the theme of this entire project.

-Karl Wenclas




John Colapinto has written a novel he’d like to have published in the United States. Undone is its title. Despite being an excellent writer and on the staff of the esteemed The New Yorker magazine; despite having an impressive resume; despite having been published by book giant Harper-Collins previously– forty U.S. publishers have declined to publish Undone because of its potentially offensive plotline. Even though the novel is well written and entertaining.

What’s happening? Have we entered a new Victorian Age?

Is John Colapinto a latter-day D.H. Lawrence, Allen Ginsberg, or James Joyce?

NEW POP LIT’s Karl Wenclas interviews Mr. Colapinto in an attempt to understand the controversy. Read the interview here.