Reviewed by New Pop Lit
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. . . .
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.
(Photos of Tony and Nicole Nesca.)