Saturday, August 27, 2016

New Literary Modernism?

For literary modernism to work with the reader, the writing itself needs to be clear, objective, and “pop.”

Ernest Hemingway was a modernist, but the only work in which he played with structure, with montage, was In Our Time. Afterward he wrote everything in strict linear fashion: “straight.”

What’s artistic modernism? Think of Picasso’s “Guernica.” It’s a fragmented view of the world—an attempt to portray the chaos of the actual world.

The most modernistic art form is cinema, because it consists of fragments of reality artfully put together. It’s fitting that motion pictures would be a modernist art—it was created during, sprung from, and reached popularity during the era of modernist artistic ideas—roughly from 1900 to 1930. All its techniques were learned during that period—the most important of which was the theory and practice of montage.

I attempted to use literary montage in my ebook novella, Assassination of X. Not really successfully, because I made the fragments too short; the pace too quick. I overdid it. (As with current fast-paced big budget movies, which are so hyperedited they become meaningless blurs.)

Which simply means more experimentation needs to be done. The writer can’t lose sight of the importance of the continuous narrative line—hooking the reader and keeping the reader hooked.

Are the two elements—montage and narrative line—contradictory?

They aren’t when used together properly in the movies.

Friday, August 19, 2016

New Poetry Ideas


In looking into new trends in poetry, I encountered the so-called flarf poetry movement, much of it centered around the Philadelphia-based website While I applaud the idea behind flarf poetry—attempting to shake up a dead poetry scene—the execution is flawed. If anything, flarf doubles down on the failings of academy-based poetry.

That is, poetry which is wordy, pretentious, a pose—and dull. Their supposedly new techniques are little more than William Burroughs’ “cut-up” methods applied to poetry.

Or: it’s not just that it’s awful poetry as poetry. It’s poetry that no one outside their insular flarf-poetry academy clique would enjoy reading. Their chief idea is: being a bad poet merely for the sake of being a bad poet.

We’re going in the opposite direction. We start with simplicity and entertainment. FIRST. To achieve this we’re willing to go back to past formulas (cadence; rhyme), tweaking them, reviving them, reinventing them. Structure works. Form is essential to art. Formulas are fine. Sonnets are a formula. 1960’s Motown music was a formula. The question isn’t using a formula, but what you do with it. There is no end to the amount of meaning and art which can be added to simple, memorable, easily recited verse.

As we intend to show.

Read our efforts at We invite any and all poets including flarf poets to drop their serious facades and give Fun Pop Poetry a go. (Submissions to

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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

This Is Poetry?

Recently the arts/news site Buzzfeed published three poems by Nick Flynn.

What’s noteworthy about the poems isn’t their utter mediocrity—I receive better submissions nearly every day for the New Pop Lit website (— but the way their author has been rewarded for his modest talent by the literary establishment. Simply scroll down from the poems to Nick Flynn’s biographical information. Read the list of plaudits and prizes.


This tells me the world of establishment poetry is in bad shape. Little is risked by approved poets—and little is achieved.

Why do I care? Not just because I co-edit a literary site, but also because I love to recite poetry. Today there’s little worth reciting.

I can’t help thinking that poetry has been trapped of late on two poles.  One is hip-hop based street poetry dependent on sing-song rhythmn and rhyming. It’s made to be read aloud. More, to be performed in front of the audience. The style has become predictable and is seldom artistically challenging.

The other pole is academic poetry. I can’t claim to understand the thinking behind it—I just know it reads like bad prose, looks bland on the page and puts audiences who dare listen to it read aloud to sleep. Contemporary academic poetry is sure proof of how institutionalizing an art form kills it.


The above thoughts are the reason for this post at New Pop Lit.

We’re looking for visually and aurally striking poetry which stands between the poles. A splash of color combined with a sense of music. The equivalent of a punchy pop song or a fun pop painting-- with a large dollop of wit and intelligence thrown into the mix.

Can anyone write that?