RE-INVENTING THE CAR
The Underground Literary Alliance, foremost voice of authentic underground literary artists, has been fed by several cultural streams.
By the print zeen movement; by performing poets of the Frank Walsh variety; by e-zinesters like Pat Simonelli. What we have in common is the concept of DIY: Do-It-Yourself.
This is what distinguishes us from status quo writers who follow outdated rules of artistic conformity. We've bypassed entirely the old system for producing and promoting writers.
We're not necessarily credentialed, not FDA, or MFA or MBA approved. No USDA stamps on our foreheads.
We're not refined.
We're not domesticated.
We're not supplicants.
We're DIY and believe the staus quo can't hold.
System writers are forced to appeal to the gatekeepers of the literary world, to trained professors and editors whose job is to enforce static art; whose minds are encompassed by the system itself.
DIY writers have gone directly to our audience.
Our poets have earned their reps and honed their craft time and again in front of crowds, whether in bars, halls, on streetcorners or in parks.
Our zeensters have found their own readers. The best like Wred Fright connected with an audience; they found fans and subscribers. Those who couldn't connect with a base of support quickly enough dropped out.
DIYers-- real DIYers-- bridge the gap between high and low. We'd like to appeal to the genteel lit crowd, sure, but also to the mad masses who watch the Jerry Springer Show. By our very being and actions we're a return to literature's roots. Shakespeare's audiences at The Globe, after all, were quite wild-- not at all like the polite aficionados who attend Shakespeare plays now-- who do so I suspect more as an observation of taste than from real enjoyment, like the frozen crowd of mannequins we discovered at Miller Hall when we crashed an approved reading of "Howl" a year ago.
Living art vibrates with truth and insight.
I noticed how dead was Miranda July's recent story in The New Yorker. The lead character finds herself on a plane ride next to a celebrity. Next to a celebrity! The vacuous story takes its cues from too-many TV viewings of "Entertainment Tonight"-- and expects the reader to do likewise. There is not a shred of reality about the situation or narrative. Instead, it smells of crafted phoniness. There isn't a genuine emotion in the piece-- unless the author is an observant but soulless robot. No, this is no DIY person at all, but yet another tops-down well-hyped literary product.
Meanwhile, the genuine writer survives and struggles in obscurity, but out there somewhere, in various manifestations, whether as wandering expat overseas, in France or Asia, or refugee from New Orleans, in west coast Oakland, or even here in Philadelphia. My task is to find and discuss such overlooked persons; in so doing maybe to save the art in the process. This is what the ULA campaign is about.