Howls From The Underground

Reviewed by New Pop Lit

howls from

IS the literary underground on the rebound? The new anthology from Screamin’ Skull Press suggests the answer to that question is YES!

Screamin’ Skull is a very cool literary project run by one of the coolest couples in all the lit world, Tony and Nicole Nesca (both whom we’ve reviewed previously). Their wonderful words bookend this collection and are in themselves highlights.

HOWEVER, the big surprise is a host of other indie word talents included as well.
****

Talents such as Ali Kinteh, who contributes two superb essays.

The world is filled with whippets laden by pubertal and piteous interests and I can ill afford to fritter away my time when I have so little of it left. I am only interested in what is equitable and authentic.

-from “The Agony and Ecstasy of Penmanship”
****

Or Laura Kerr, an artist-poet who’s able to turn words into a type of visual artistic display.

I am split screen greens and
scarlet line rockets
upright on my reinforced skyscraper legs
lifting my battery-box torso arched against
election guns and a phosphorescent socket

-from “In The End”
****

C.S. Fuqua has 14 poems in the collection, and also designed the cover.

eyes avoiding eyes,
smiles fleeting, dismissing,
attention centered on phones connected
to the disconnected media of society,
platforms from which platitudes and concern
suicide dive into oblivion.

-from “At the MRI”
****

Definitely among the highlights are three slice-of-life short stories by Chrissi Sepe overflowing with gritty reality combined with wistful melancholy and a dab of cynicism– with humor in the last one about a strange European couple, and cockroaches, and. . . .

sepe two - Edited(Chrissi Sepe.)

They’re stories which give the same feeling as listening to New York City-style punk rock songs. They show the reader life.
****

With his poetry, Scott Laudati gives some of the same feeling.

the city is finally yours.
just a faraway hum of an ambulance.
no taxi horns.

-from “Leave Me Alone”
****

Stephen Moran offers two striking short stories.

“Transitory” is a written-out nightmare. The kind of paranoid dream each of us has on occasion. A sense of disconnectedness and alienation.

“A Parable” has a double theme.

First, the toxicity of males in this society which must be restrained.

Second, a subconscious unspoken unheard complaint at the restraint.

It’s another example of words becoming a painting in which the viewer sees various things– depending on the viewer, of course.
****

G.H. Neale is a fiction writer who pushes at the outside envelope of what can be done with language.

“Carlo, don’t cuss, you should think of your body, hun. You should treasure your body,” hypocritically interjected the beefy American’s double-fatted wife, whose spaghetti-strapped crop top was salami-slicing deeply into her own fleshy chorizo heftiness of unctuous and glutenous lard.”

-from “En La Plaza Mayor”

(Reading this story started me thinking how close writers are to breaking through a literary sound barrier– using words in newly-creative ways, as G.H. Neale uses them, one part of that.)
****

I wish I had the space to quote more from this collection. From Ted Prokash, Thom Young, and the Nescas themselves.

I wish I had the words to convey the experience of opening the book and finding all these variegated pieces together, reflecting on one another like a many-sided cubist three-dimensional painting.

I wish I could more fully express the importance of underground writers creating outside the mental conformity of boxes of one-size-fits-all programs and artistic-dictatorship conglomerates.

These are stimulating reads from a variety of authentically underground talents– in spirit and fact. They present literary punk– literary jazz– with all manner of heartfelt-and-honest notes in between. Literary music. Present and future writing.
****

Check out Screamin’ Skull Press here.

tony & nicole nesca

(Photos of Tony and Nicole Nesca.)

 

Advertisements

The Insatiables by Brittany Terwilliger

Reviewed by New Pop Lit.

Insatiables_front cover

Brittany Terwilliger’s new novel The Insatiables (Amberjack Publishing) is as highly amusing– often hilarious– as its rave reviews have advertised. The surprise is that it’s also one of the best inside looks at the madness of contemporary corporate capitalism as you’re likely to find.

–Generation 3 came of age in a world that created more information in a week than humanity had created in its first two hundred millennia. Reputations could be made and broken at the speed of a Tweet. Socialization went digital, and someone was always watching. The founding work ethic had been preserved, but it was no longer a matter of working from nine to five and going home. The phones stayed on. And as the world spun faster, so did everyone’s need for escape.

THE PLOT: The curiously-named Halley Faust is ready to sell her soul for the opportunity to rise to the upper echelons of Findlay Global Manufacturing. The immediate means to that end is a trip to France to help prepare the launch of Findlay’s mysterious new product– upon which Findlay Global Manufacturing has risked everything.

WILL Halley succeed in her quest– and at the same time find love with a charismatic French business client?

Rousseau and I talked and talked, about travel and getting out of Dayton, about family, and Findlay lore. Eventually, we walked out to the terrace, and he sat next to me on a padded bench. The night started to shimmer, and in a disappearing cloud of spicy cigar smoke I tilted my head back and looked at the stars.

(Brittany Terwilliger writes very well– sometimes with a wry sense of humor standing directly off stage.)

The success of the novel depends upon two factors.

-The atmospheric French setting and unique customs (even little things such as grocery shopping) which Terwilliger is a master at capturing.

-The often-ingenuous, occasionally-crafty personality of Halley Faust, who we come to know well. Halley is a kind of everyperson with whom the reader can’t help but identify. Her dreams and failings are ours. As the story progresses, Halley gains something akin to wisdom– or at least, insight about our crazy society.

How much lovelier life must have been before phones and email. Before computers and electricity. Before humans decided it was necessary to fabricate a whole universe then spend their lives maintaining the fabrication.

Witty and smart; romantic, informative, and fun, The Insatiables is for everyone.
****

You can order The Insatiables here.

Brittany-014

(Photo of Brittany Terwilliger.)

This isn’t one of the stories I remember by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Reviewed by New Pop Lit

dunn book

I had thought I could still make this a story of the revolution, and I do want to. You can see our society has crumbled; made all kinds of horrendous mistakes. Turned us into almost-robots, and all sorts of other things. The shadow of the real …

AS A WRITER Robin Dunn gets away with more than he should.

His ideas are amazingly complex and his imagination is off the charts. He confines himself to no set world or existence– you’re never sure if he’s writing about this dimension or another; about futuristic London or today’s Los Angeles. Or both, at once.

London is the Big Smoke and here in my apartment that is finally its clearest and most literal manifestation, its ultimate meaning: thousands of megatons of pulverized scrap, rubber wood, paper, plastic, silicon, concrete and glass, churning into the sky. In black waves.

(Something devastating has taken place. Or is taking place.)

Where are we? What are our bearings?

My dream self is in an office, working on a poem. Outside, in fantastically bright yellow sunlight, skimpy trees shake in the wind, and brightly polished autos blind me through the window.

The feeling conveyed when reading the Dunn novel is akin to awakening from a dream– half your head in this world, the other in some magical land you just left.

Robin Dunn creates these effects with clarity and beauty.

I’m not precisely sure what genre this novel properly belongs in. Science fiction?

Even if I am a mad scientist, I am still a scientist. I am doing it for you. So that you will know what I have found.

Doesn’t seem technical enough.

Cutting-edge science fiction. Next-level thinking.

Literary? Experimental? Avant-garde?

And what of the forgotten stories? The palimpsests and the echoes encoded into a million tales, each of our words, infinite? Who owns them?

Perhaps Dunn is chiefly a poet.

What’s This isn’t one of the stories I remember about? Part of the magic of reading it is figuring that out.

Is their being something which will retain some marker in the paste of spacetime to insist that its unity and direction, its values and castles and eons– all of it– are true and worthwhile, even inevitable?

Underlining all is commentary, on Dunn’s fictional world, and ours.

While This isn’t is not a novel for everybody, if you’re bored with the usual– if you desire to take your head to unusual places, without dropping acid, and sample one of the more unusually talented writers on this planet– then it’s worth a look.
****

Information on Robin Wyatt Dunn’s books is available here.

Audio of Robin Dunn reading from this book can be heard here.

mammoth2

(Photo of Robin Dunn.)

Police Stories by Don Waitt

Reviewed by New Pop Lit

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 11.48.13 AM

“I could see the younger brother flat on his back on the operating table. I could see the blood pumping out of his chest, straight up into the air, just like those little flat water fountains that kids drink out of at the park.”

Fiction or memoir?

Regardless, this is reality, written in straightforward prose that hits you between the eyes like a two-by-four. Five not-always-politically-correct tales of a police beat reporter taken from life.

POLICE STORIES contains short pieces, concise, written with total clarity– too much clarity, like the police photos Don Waitt describes in the strongest of the five stories.

“Bam, bam, bam, those photos kept cycling through my head, always in sequence, starting with the embodiment of goodness and purity and ending with vivid photographic proof that evil had taken on a new definition for me, that my understanding of true evil had, in just a few brief seconds, made a horrifying leap from assumption to reality.”

Depictions of criminal evil, mixed with insight and humor.  Veteran detectives investigating the underside of life, and yes, in this tough world which tough men police, those men– flawed, calloused, cynical– are the good guys.

Five stories. All strong, containing excellent writing.

A free copy of Police Stories can be obtained simply by emailing Don’s daughter Devyn Waitt.

Don Waitt’s first book, Leaving Early, is available thru Amazon here.

IMG_6378

(Photo of Don Waitt.)

Let It Bleed by Nicole Nesca

UNDERGROUND RIFFS PART TWO
A Review by New Pop Lit

letitbleed

“–throwing my arms around the world, Buddha, Christ and anyone else who has an ideology a purpose and a yarn and a barn to sell twisting into shapes and people and things wandering and wondering into the shadows of the new day–“

THIS is the second publication we’re reviewing from Screamin’ Skull Press. There’s more reality, more humanity, in the two modest volumes than in scores of books of conglomerate-produced “literary” works.

“I think of all the books I want to read and that I want to write. I think of all the original music in my head and the paintings I have yet to create.”

This comes at the end of one of Nicole Nesca‘s prose poems. It’s the credo of the writer. Of any artist.

LET IT BLEED is 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 bleeding into one another, sublimated to her intelligence and her voice. It’s appropriate for Nesca to mention paintings– these are word paintings. When you read them you see the emotion– the artistic blood– dripping from the sentences, as if she opened a vein and out flowed creativity.

“I raze myself every couple of weeks to allow the pain, the happiness and the beauty of life to melt into a pot to ponder to create to sell to be as the gentle reminder that one day I too will be old and unable to do things that foolish people do my eyes sting–“

Paintings set to rhythm, combining all things words are able to be:
-Be visual. These works are visual.
-Be musical. The words flow rhythmically into the ear like a cool jazz cadence.
-Be real. They’re real. Hyperreal.

Do we have a favorite from this collection? Yes! “Absinthe,” and “Johnny,” and “What would Hemingway say?” and “Nephew,” and “Should we all ‘let it be’?” and “Red, White and Very Blue,” and. . . .

Reading this slim volume is like late night listening to a just-released album of new jazz or new rock, discovering that writing can still come alive, be direct, be relevant, be today.
****
Check out their site here. An exciting lit happening.

nicole (1)

(Photo of Nicole Nesca.)

 

 

 

Last Stop to Saskatoon by Tony Nesca

UNDERGROUND RIFFS PART ONE
A Review by New Pop Lit

last-stop-cover

“my radio playing 1970’s rock and roll on
rain-soaked afternoon
with my bottle of Rye
ice rattling in the glass
blue smoke thick in the room
and the airwaves carrying thoughts of
death and internet madness”

OCCASIONALLY we receive DIY zines or books and are pulled against our will back to our underground roots.

Bonfire

LAST STOP TO SASKATOON is a 2018 “Howl” at a time with reasons for howling. Maybe the only response to the crazy chaotic age, when we’re bombarded with crisis 24/7 by media, is to find, as Tony Nesca does, an outlet in art. A time for crafting fiery words and making combustible art. Many are doing it outside the gaze of the “Big 5” New York-centered conglomerate publishing scene. Outside, beneath, and behind the machine.

“in the name of freedom hunting all that
speak slurred thoughts of
nothing voices in the
barroom living-space and
in Italy they drink espresso at night
and dance the morning till noon skip
dreary workday on the sand
spread-eagled happy”

It’s in such writings that you find today’s reality. Where you find true voices full of pain and outcry, of naked humanity.

Nesca is part of Screamin’ Skull Press, a two-person indie publishing project cranking out slim books of such words. Check out their website here, order a few of their books, find out what’s happening. (We’ll be reviewing another of theirs next week.)

tony

(Photo of Tony Nesca.)

Interview with a Filmmaker

kgkatypeerycover

TODAY we feature an interview with movie maker Pat O’Sullivan, best known for his 2012 film Space Werewolf. O’Sullivan has been getting buzz for his upcoming project, the film version of the Kitty Glitter book Jason vs. Katy Perry. We reviewed the oeuvre of Kitty Glitter in our previous post.  Now, a movie version of one of K.G.’s books! The world of art moves quickly.
****

NEW POP LIT:  “How long have you been making movies?”

PAT O’SULLIVAN:  “I’ve been making movies on VHS and 16mm as far back as the 90’s. I took a break for about ten years to play in several bands around Chicago, and then got back into film a little over five years ago when digital cameras became more prevalent. I never stopped writing though. I was still writing screenplays and writing about movies for CHUD.com.”

NPL:  “Who’s you favorite all-time movie director?”

PAT:  “Favorite all-time director? Alex Cox is definitely towards the top of that list. I love the ‘anything can happen’ style of Repo Man and Straight to Hell. Coming up in the 90’s though it’s hard not to feel like you owe a debt to the likes of Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino as well. For the sake of argument let’s just go with Alex Cox for now.”

NPL:  “How did you hear about Kitty Glitter?

PAT:  “Random ad on Twitter. I had no idea who they actually were when I optioned the rights to Jason vs Katy Perry. That’s the beauty of the internet. You read someone’s Literotica story and it can be Stephen King using a pen name for all you know. It’s wild. So many of us artists are so concerned with pushing our own ‘brand’ we don’t realize the power and freedom in the anonymity of it.”

NPL:  “Why does the world need the film Jason vs. Katy Perry?”

PAT:  “I don’t think any of us are pompous enough to think the world needs this film. Simply put, it does not. I do know that there’s value in telling stories and making people laugh, taking people on a journey. This film is a very, very unique vision, one I’m lucky enough to merely be the conduit of. Is Jason vs Katy Perry a summoning song for cultural entropy? A message to the kids to kill your idols? An excuse to watch attractive women run around the woods topless and covered in blood? It’s all these things and none of these things. It’s just this anomaly that exists, that some nutball wrote it and an even bigger nutball came along and said ‘Let’s make a movie out of it.'”
****

Pat O'Sullivan

(Photo of Pat O’Sullivan.)