Stray moments over the last four years have kept me enthusiastic about the ULA project. One of them was when reading Noah Cicero's new book manuscript a couple weeks ago.
It made me realize that young undergrounders scattered around the country are creating their own literary genres. They're reinventing literature in ways that will reconnect it to the general public-- as I've argued had to happen for the art form of lit to save itself. Call it a "Next Wave" of writers, led by undergrounders Noah, Urban Hermitt, Bernice Mullins, Emerson Dameron, and likely many others whose writing bears little resemblance to what is currently accepted as standard "literary" writing. Their work is more readable, direct, and most important, far more honest, TOTALLY honest, than anything I've read.
I admit, their writing is unlike anything I write-- unlike even the best from other good underground writers such as Tim Hall, Wild Bill, and the phenomenal James Nowlan. The recent undergrounders are completely uncontaminated by "craft," by thoughts of craft, presenting instead a kind of organic freshly-born folk writing stripped down but no less powerful for it. All facades and thoughts of facades are absent. Many ULAers-- Pat King, Steve Kostecke, Wred Fright, Joe Pachinko, Crazy Carl, Frank Walsh, Jack Saunders, etc.-- have been presenting each in their own way precursors or templates of sorts of underground models to follow. What the newest writers do is the same yet at the same time very different. At their best they get right to the core of what lit is about.
An obvious inescapable fact is that literature has mutated into a new form, unacknowledged and unrecognized by observers and critics among the establishment houseplants. I count myself fortunate to be given, as were Sam Phillips, Berry Gordy, and Brian Epstein in their day, the opportunity to witness a new reality about to drop amid amazement and shock upon the cultural landscape.
This summer could be exciting.