What Does New Fiction Look Like?

Pop Lit Fiction

OUR TASK at New Pop Lit is to find and present the best new writers. We don’t know what fiction in the future will look like– only that it shouldn’t resemble the acceptable fiction of now. Ideally, it should be more unorthodox, more creative, more real.

If our newest feature story is a guide, young writers are accomplishing those goals. A.K. Riddles  “The Professor” is an example of writing not yet constrained, handcuffed and put into a box. It shows as well the rare ability to put oneself into the head of another person.

The story, about a middle-aged and somewhat burned-out teacher at a prep school, is also entertaining– the first objective of any work. We hope you like it!

The Professor looks like a resurrected and plastic surgeried John Lennon. The Professor has a dog named after his ex-girlfriend, Layla. But his wife thought their pooch was named after the Eric Clapton song. The Professor is married but doesnt wear anything on his left hand except for a black friendship bracelet, if that counts. 

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ALSO: Stay up on the All-Time American Writers Tournament. An announcement of more entrants is coming soon.

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(Artwork: “The Miller” by Juan Gris.)

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New Pop Lit Loves Women!

Pop Lit Fiction

THERE’S NO DOUBT this is the decade of the woman writer. The majority of students in writing programs today are women. The majority of writers self-publishing via zines and ebooks are women. Of the National Book Foundation’s recent “5 Under 35” award selections, all five are women.

Far be it for New Pop Lit to neglect a trend. We’ll be presenting several talented writers in coming weeks who just happen to be women. We’re not being politically correct. We just go for the best.

First up is internationally-published writer Julie Parks with “Bigger Lies”— a stark urban tale about a boy with scams and dreams in Latvia.

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In keeping with this week’s theme, at the All-Time American Writers Tournament we have a short essay about a renowned woman writer: “The Mary Gaitskill Problem.”

mariedenisevillersself-portrait

If you’re not keeping up with New Pop Lit, you’re not keeping up.
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(Paintings: “Woman with Black Cravat” by Modigliani; Self Portrait by Marie-Denise Villers.)

 

A New Story

Pop Lit Fiction

We like stories!

We like stories which are unpredictable in plot, point-of-view, and theme– such as our new feature, “Churchgoing in New England” by Richard Greenhorn. We’re on a quest for new kinds of stories– those outside the customary in ideas and viewpoint.

What should any short story accomplish?

The tale should convey knowledge and experience; emotion and meaning. It should carry the reader along then finish with surprise, insight, or impact. Something. See if this story fulfills those requirements.

One-time department stores and groceries had been replaced by specialty winter supply shops, novelty bookstores, a few adult boutiques, and an over-priced Leftist drinking establishment called The People’s Pub. On the town commons across the street were the placards and banners left over from this morning’s protest. . .

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ALSO: Stay up-to-date with the All-Time American Writers Tournament.
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(Painting: “A New England Town” by Middleton Manigault.)

 

Storms and Shelters

Pop Lit Fiction

Storms have been in the news of late. As such, they’re the theme of the moment at New Pop Lit.

First, we feature a subtly emotional short story from one of the best story writers in America, Anne Leigh Parrish. The story is “Shelter.” Its underlying motifs are refuge and authenticity.

Cara’s truck bumped up the road, the rain in the headlights so thick it looked like snow. Drake was at the wheel. He insisted on driving. She was no good at it, he said, not on a road like this. Plus, the transmission was going. Hadn’t she said she was going to get it fixed?

We’ve just nominated a previous story of Anne’s “Picture This,” for the Best of the Net 2017 anthology, along with other work. See our nominations at our News blog.

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For other storms, at least stormy personalities, check out the four most recent selections at the All-Time American Writers Tournament. Volatile personalities. Volatile art. Examples of the energy of which American literature can occasionally generate.

We’re out to capture, create, and showcase similar literary energy. Keep following us!

(Painting: “Storm in the Mountain” by Albert Bierstadt.)

Of Princes and Posts

Pop Lit Fiction

What makes a good short story?

Conciseness, crisis, atmosphere, character– along with insight on human nature and the world. Above all the tale must be compulsively readable. Our new feature story  “The Little Prince” by Brian Eckert embodies all of this. A thunderstorm and a curse– can the self-possessed “prince” get out of his dilemma?

Really what Greg wanted was to be left alone, to his devices—and as he got older, his vices. His aloofness was what others found distasteful about him. There was a mark of royalty on a man who preferred to be alone. Others felt diminished in his presence.
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Also keep up-to-date on our exclusive coverage of the  All-Time American Writers Tournament! #4 bracket seedings coming soon.

(Painting: “Starry Night Over the Rhone” by Vincent Van Gogh.)

Experiments in Pop III

Pop Lit Fiction

WE LOOK for writers to invent pop lit style– new writing which is readable but also intelligent, meaningful, and real.

This week we have a new story by Dr. Wred Fright which qualifies as a possible pop lit template: “Operative 72 Takes a Swim.”

29) 73 wasn’t sure how much time had passed. There was always just the sea, the sun, and an island full of retired intelligence operatives rewarded with Sodom in the South Pacific.

65) Johnson was very drunk one night. “God wouldn’t care,” he said, pointing around at the rest of the bar, “If we killed every single one of them.”
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American literature needs to be reinvented to retain credibility as an art form– for it NOT to be ghettoized within the broader culture. With changing technology, the art itself must change.

We believe in artistic change. The more esteemed “literary” segments of publishing have forever been last to jump on a change bandwagon.

This dates from 1955, when low-priced paperbacks began conquering the interest of the general reader. Harcourt Brace published a poetry anthology, edited by Oscar Williams, containing work from all the great American poets. Distinguished publishers Charles Scribners and Sons, and the MacMillan Company, refused to to permit the work of their poets, T.S. Eliot and Allen Tate among them, to appear in the paperback edition– because it was a paperback.

Question: Does literature belong to an enlightened few, or to everyone?
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(Painting by Paul Gauguin.)

A Pop Canon?

All-Time American Writers Tournament

Did pop literature exist in the past?

Absolutely! Our latest bracket selections for the big Tournament include two of the most famous, hugely popular, world-renowned writers ever— both American– in the persons of Jack London and Edgar Allan Poe. From the days when the most fascinating, charismatic, or crazy persons in society became writers. (Which made for fascinating reading.)

Another selectee, Emily Dickinson, could be called a pop poet. The fourth, Tennessee Williams, a pop playwright? That’s stretching it.

Does their work hold up?

Read Jack London’s terrific story “Lost Face” and find out.

–in the foundations of the world was graved this end for him– for him, who was so fine and sensitive, whose nerves scarcely sheltered under his skin, who was a dreamer, and a poet, and an artist. Before he was dreamed of, it had been determined that the quivering bundle of sensitiveness that constituted him should be doomed to live in raw and howling savagery–

Fiction as Life, as Emotion, as Art

Pop Lit Fiction

PART OF OUR MISSION at New Pop Lit is to present the most powerful fiction we can find, from the best new writers. We fulfill that mission with our newest short story, “The Fetus,” by Clint Margrave. It’s a tale of high school and bullying, but it’s more than that. Art’s task is to give us the complexity and confusions of life; of our crazy, cruel, three-dimensional world.

The bell rang and Mr. Schlosser asked us to open our textbooks to the introductory chapter.

“Biology is the study of living things,” he said. “One of the central questions we’ll be exploring this semester is what does it mean to be alive?”

(Artwork: “Still Life” by Juan Gris.)
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p.s. Also stay up on the All-Time American Writers Tournament!

Literature and the Underground

Feature

THIS WEEK we briefly explore the subculture of literature with our long-overdue final installment of Hyper-Talents of the New Literary Age, in which we examine a diverse array of personalities from Bob Dylan to Aaron Cometbus, on up to underground writers of now– who create work just a tad rougher, wilder, and real than standard refined “literary” writing.

Accompanying the essay is a new story by one of our favorite zine writers, fishspit. The story is titled, “I Was a Juvenile Delinquent– Now I’m Just a Delinquent.”

Even the title wouldn’t make it through an MFA program!

Them teachers weren’t the sharpest set of educators. You had to be pretty doltish to wind up down there . . . nobody with an ounce of spirit, a dram of intelligence, would put up with that kind of horror-show. We were a regular freak show . . . the teachers were about as intelligent as carnies.

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(ONGOING at one of our blogs is the All-Time American Writers Tournament. The latest news there is an appreciation of a prominent American author by Samuel Stevens. Don’t miss a post!)

California Writing

Pop Lit Fiction

LOS ANGELES has long been the most extreme example of American excess. Many writers have tried to capture SoCal’s special vibration; its captivating mix of ethnicity, cars, class, color/weather/nature jammed together like an expressionist painting come alive. One of the best writers on the subject is Robin Wyatt Dunn– who appeared in our modest first New Pop Lit print issue with a terrific story about Los Angeles. Now he’s given us another one, “Travelogue,” full of reality and imagination. A journey through L.A., but also, perhaps, through somewhere else. A Robin Dunn story is always a unique experience.  Don’t miss this one!

Here in the Big Sleep there is no moon, so the sea is tideless. However, it does move. Creeping tendrils of water you will find anywhere along it, shimmering in the darkness. I have walked along Seaside on many a moonless night.

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Speaking of California, be sure to read D.C. Miller’s Appreciation of Philip K. Dick, part of our ongoing All-Time American Writers Tournament.
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(Painting: “Herbstlandschaft mit Booten” by Wassily Kandinsky.)