A NEW POP LIT Update

Announcement

THIS WEBSITE is on brief hiatus while its two editors enjoy an extended honeymoon back up in northern Michigan’s Hemingway Country (our favorite hangout). Away from the madness. We’ll return to the site long enough to post an unsettling Halloween story– we promise!

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The Writer’s Struggle

Announcement

THE STRUGGLES OF A WRITER can seem lonely indeed– often resulting in rejection and neglect. Yet they keep at it, pursuing their art because they believe it’s important to express truths about life and the world.

When those struggles find notice– and a sense that a reader gets it, understands what the work’s about, this keeps the writer (and in our case, editors) going. No, the effort expended was not for naught!

Christopher Landrum at the literary site Bookbread has examined here four recent short stories, three of which appeared at New Pop Lit. They are:

“The Fetus” by Clint Margrave.

“Eighty Pounds” by Jon Berger.

“The Professor” by A.K. Riddle.

If you’ve read these three excellent tales, they’re worth rereading. If you haven’t, please do so! Then see what Mr. Landrum says about them.

De briefschrijfster

(Art: “The Passion of Creation” by Leonid Pasternak; “Woman Writing” by Gerard ter Borch.)

 

More Pop Lit Poetry!

Poetry

POETRY MONTH continues, as we continue publishing and promoting poetry.

The word– the Homer-Shakespeare oral tradition folk legend spanning-all-cultures origin of literature.

For this edition of our tribute to poetry
we have a variety of styles
emotions, images,
sound and wordplay
essential elements of the art.

FIRST,

Four Poems by Holly Day, presenting an array of ideas and images of a poetic nature.

Eavesdropping, I want to tell her
that the white marble statues of Greek temples were originally
covered in bright splotches of paint, that the pyramids were once topped
with garish gold cones, that the cold stone idol she’s touching right now
was once plastered with white lime and painted in neon hues.
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Waterhouse, John William, 1849-1917; The Lady of Shalott

SECOND, we have a new book review of an exciting new volume of prose and poetry by talented underground writer Nicole Nesca of Screamin’ Skull Press. Worth examination– if you want to see what’s happening.

–a writer bleeding emotion, history, and imagination onto the page. Nicole does this in chapter after chapter, a many-hued mix of poetry, prose and stories–
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Palma_Vecchio_-_Portrait_of_a_Poet_-_Google_Art_Project

THIRD, there’s our ongoing Open Mic at which another poet will soon step to the microphone– James Croal Jackson, who will be featured, in a few weeks– as Holly Day is currently featured– with new poetry. You’ll be able to hear him first.

Poetry Month? New Pop Lit is covering it.
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(Paintings: “Homer Among the Greeks” by Gustav Jaeger; “The Lady from Shalott” by John William Waterhouse; “Portrait of a Poet” by Palma Vecchio.)

Fiction: The Dating Game Part Two

Pop Lit Fiction

THE SECOND story in our look at today’s dating scene is a much darker animal: “Cat Doctor” by D.C. Miller. Ostensibly a response to The New Yorker‘s recent Kristen Roupenian story “Cat Person,” it’s more than that– it’s a look at the malaise of the West’s current intellectual class. People who believe in nothing– not even themselves. Whose ideological inanities, post-conceptual art and postmodern literature are an expression of nothing. Representations of the void at the center of their lives. A world in which the villains aren’t men or women, but everyone.

Appropriately, the story is set in Berlin, a city forever on the cutting edge of the end of Western civilization. Last stop before the nightmare of gotterdammerung and oblivion.

It was a catchy statement, and she liked it, but she wasnt certain where to take it, whether it was true or not, and even if it was, what it would imply. She heard the sound of someone sighing audibly, like an echo from another room, and for a moment felt confused, before she realized it was her.

edvard-munch-sjalusi-i-badet-(jealousy-in-the-bath)

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IN THE FACE of such a pessimistic, albeit truthful, examination of relations between men and women, of ideas and culture, we remain optimists. We believe the culture will turn over because it has to turn over– it’s at a dead end, with nowhere to go but to scrap the present and embrace another direction.
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(Featured painting: “The Night” by Max Beckmann. Other: “Sjalusi i Badet” by Edvard Munch.)

Men and Women: “The First Time”

Pop Lit Fiction

RELATIONS between men and women have been under stress the last several months as never before. Fiction is proving to be the best forum for examining those tensions. Under the guise of the non-factual the writer is able to get to actual truths.

ONE OF THE BEST writers on the topic of men and women– one of the best American short story writers period– is Anne Leigh Parrish. We’re privileged to have another short work from her– short, but as always, with condensed impact. The tale is called “The First Time.” We hope you find it as striking a work of reality and art as we do– and that if this is the first, it not be the last time you come to our site!

I was stunned. Not that we might one day regret our liaison, but that you regretted it now.

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(Featured art: “Ashes” by Edvard Munch.)

Short Story: “The Rottweiler”

Pop Fiction

Should the new short story be entertaining?

ONCE, not much over 100 years ago, the short story was the most popular art form. The American public consumed stories voraciously– work by Jack London, Frank Stockton, Richard Connell, O. Henry, Stephen Crane– even from more refined types like Edith Wharton and Henry James.

What was the hallmark of the short story?

They were entertaining.

Build a better story, we believe, and the public will beat a path toward your door. We’ve already seen steps– baby steps anyway– in that direction in the prestigious-and-usually-snobby pages of The New Yorker. which recently for the first time in decades published a story that some people actually wanted to read.

And so, we give you a tale of suspense and mystery– “The Rottweiler” by Alex Bernstein, one of the best new practitioners of the short story art going. You’ll find in the work a touch of humor, and perhaps a rottweiler or two. Jump into the adventure. . . .

“On the plus side – if we kill you – we don’t have to put up with all this fuss and noise all the time. On the negative side…mm…Woolsy, what was the negative side, again?”

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(Painting by Claude T. Stanfield-Moore.)

 

Prizes, Pushcarts and Other Fronts

Announcement

We’ve announced our nominations for the 2017 Pushcart Prize. Read about our choices and reasons here at our News blog.
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ALSO read our latest book review at our book review feature– this of a collection of short fiction by award-winning author Kelly Cherry.
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A new feature story is upcoming.

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.)

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.)

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.)