Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New Publishing in Detroit?

New publishing in Detroit?
Who would dare start new publishing in Detroit?

The people behind NEW POP LIT, for one.

They're out with their first title, a collection of stories, essays, and poems from the nation's best DIY writers.
The title: NEW POP LIT Issue One.

The kickass cover is by Detroit artist Alyssa Klash. Our task from the beginning was to find writing to equal the cover. We believe we have.
The writers include Detroit author Kathleen Crane; zine legends Jessie Lynn McMains and Wred Fright; small press publisher and novelist Delphine Pontvieux; underground filmmaker Pablo D'Stair; avant-garde "Pop Picasso" artist and writer Dan Nielsen-- and other unique talents.

Readers will discover a variety of approaches to the literary art. Not fully literary. Not quite pop. Approaches toward an elusive hybrid. A fresh start for readers and writers.
More exciting "Made in Detroit" titles will follow!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Representing Pop Lit!

Pictured: NEW POP LIT's Kathleen Crane (right) chatting with young Detroit go-getter Kendall Waterman.
With all the food vendors, beer sellers and t-shirt hawkers at Detroit's huge "Dally in the Alley" street fair, who was there to represent the lit game?

WE were!

Read our official report on our appearance at the event right here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Douglas McIntyre Is Wrong

Here is an article by Douglas McIntyre of  24/7 Wall Street which discusses Detroit's failure to regain population. The thinking being that, because it's not gaining population now, it won't. An interesting and pessimistic premise, which is wrong.

First, Detroit is in the process of bottoming. A long-term bottom, one that took place over decades. The last "seller" of the city sold. Everyone was down on it. The city reached a point from which it had nowhere else to go but up.

A stock or commodity or market-- or a city-- usually spends time at a bottom. Meanwhile, it's accumulating latent energy; the strength and resources for an eventual comeback. That's happening with Detroit now. The rebound in population and business won't be immediate. That's not how nature with its laws works.

Second, a host of creative people are moving into Detroit. In absolute terms their number is tiny-- but in time, their presence will be felt.

Granted, it will take an unforeseen spur to jump-start the comeback and bring more people into town. NEW POP LIT believes art and literature will be that spur. See our blog posts on the matter here and here.

Is there a better city for creating an internationally-recognized new bohemian arts scene?

We have the necessary grittiness and authenticity. Street cred-- in multiples. Artists are gathering. Soon, so will writers.

But Mr. McIntyre of 24/7 Wall Street has the data! Numbers and spreadsheets. There, right in front of him. They show. He knows.

What esteemed Mr. McIntyre lacks is imagination and vision. Things never found on a spreadsheet. Also absent is a sense of history-- a sense which knows the world is in continual flux. Nothing stands still. The world we see now is not the world which will exist ten years from now. No one can predict the coming changes-- changes usually made by those who see a potential future and go about creating it. We at NEW POP LIT see that potential here and now in Detroit.

We also know that Douglas McIntyre is no gambler. Carefully-cautious pawn-progression chess moves only. No spectacular leaps.

If he were a gambler he'd bet on Detroit!


NOTE: If you're anywhere near Detroit this Saturday, stop by the NEW POP LIT booth at the huge "Dally in the Alley" street fair in Midtown aka the Cass Corridor. Hear more about our plans to set up new publishing in Detroit-- and take a look at our prototype lit journal. For more info about the event read our main site's most recent post.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Meet Your Editor

Forget the usual biographical bullshit. NEW POP LIT Editor Karl "King" Wenclas -- who also edits this blog-- is a born Detroiter and a lifelong shit disturber who's now working toward positive pro-Detroit accomplishments. He's seldom played by acceptable rules, and has no intention of doing so now. (Once he was front man for the notorious writers group Underground Literary Alliance.)

Does he write?

On occasion, yes!

Currently he has seven ebooks for sale at the Kindle Store and Nook Books.

His main focus, however, is PROMOTION. He needs exciting, ambitious, charismatic new writers to promote.

Thursday, August 20, 2015



What's MegaDetroit?

MegaDetroit is merely a Detroit of the size of a previous incarnation. 1.8 to 2 million inhabitants. This time at the forefront of at least two major industries.

Is this possible?

Take out a globe of the world and look for geographic crossroads. You'll see at those crossroads-- Instanbul for instance-- world-class cities.

Detroit is not only at a key geographic crossroad. It's also placed near large freshwater lakes. Because industrial plants consume large amounts of fresh water, there may be no better location on the planet for industry than Detroit. Fresh water; waterways; cool weather; transportation-- there are reasons why industry grew up here in the first place!

The city needs, however, more than the automotive industry. It needs a double punch.

Detroit's second major asset right now is its edgy reputation. Its street cred and attitude. This is why artists have begun moving here. It's why writers need to move here as well.

As I outlined in the previous post, the publishing industry is undergoing a shakeup. New technology is changing publishing and it will change the publishing product-- the art.

The conjunction of forces provides major opportunity for this tough weathered town. Opportunity that needs to be grabbed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How to Be Pro-Detroit


I've noted an aversion in town, among some, to positive publicity about Detroit coming from New York City and other big media centers. For instance, articles which showcase Detroit as a haven for artists.

Is Detroit a perfect town for artists, writers, and other DIYers? Of course not! The recent arrest of graffiti artist Shepard Fairey says it's not. The question is whether there's ever been a perfect city for artists to live in and work. History says not.

In the 1950's when Kenneth Rexroth and the Beats were revolutionizing poetry and prose in San Francisco, they faced constant harassment from police and other legal authorities. But they also had a few sympathizers. They had the atmosphere of the city at that time to draw on for their art (long before dot.com'ers from Silicon Valley took the town over). They also had themselves.

I was in a recent twitter debate (@DetroitLiterary) with the former editor of Detroit's main freebie newspaper about this very topic. She found laughable the idea that Detroit could become the new center of publishing in the U.S. I positioned the discussion in terms of "Detroit versus New York"; terms she didn't like.

Yet it's a legitimate way to present the challenge. Manhattan and its "Big 5" monster publishing conglomerates dominate the book business. To not acknowledge this would be like a new car company not noticing the presence and clout of automakers based in Detroit.

There are solid reasons for auto manufacturers to be located in and around Detroit-- the Great Lakes; St. Lawrence Seaway; and geographic position as a major gateway transit point among them. (The location of the industry here wasn't an accident.)

There are equally compelling reasons for the publishing industry to NOT be located in New York.

The economic facts can't be wished away. Right now Manhattan is a ridiculously expensive place in which to live and do business. (Think office leasing rates, for starters.) On top of this, the Big 5 publishers cling to what has become a fatally flawed, top-heavy, vertically-organized business model. In this time of print-on-demand and e-books; when an entrepreneur can create a virtual office at a coffeeshop; "economies of scale"-- the rationale for monopoly and size-- has become an irrelevant concept.

The person I discussed this matter with claimed advantages for New York, but didn't state what they are. Access to chi-chi Manhattan restaurants? An abundance of Ivy League grads? She also claimed disadvantages to operating out of Detroit.

No doubt Detroit CAN be a tough place in which to live. I know this well, having lived in Detroit's Cass Corridor in the 1990's, when it truly was the Cass Corridor. (An experience I've written about, including in an essay referenced here.) However, a writer or artist who has things too easy-- who doesn't exist in an environment with some edge to it-- tension to stimulate the senses-- will produce pablum. As we've seen out of the Big 5 the past so-many years.

(For a famous movie scene which makes a similar argument, see this.)

(For a discussion of publishing timidity, see my interview with John Colapinto of The New Yorker magazine. Note his final answer.)

Why Detroit versus New York? Why not? A city is in competition with other cities for jobs, investment, and talented individuals. If a spate of pro-Detroit articles in the New York Times or Vanity Fair spurs talented people to move to Detroit, this is a good thing. If the articles are part fact, part fiction,, it means nothing, because in time the myth of Detroit as an artist's city will necessarily become full reality. For much of the world right now, "Detroit" is a creature of the imagination. This is a unique opportunity to be used.

What Detroit needs more than anything else is people, of all kinds. The city has the geographical size and infrastructure for a population of two million. The city limits currently contain a third of this.

Notice the way the city is laid out. The gap between downtown and the New Center, for instance. In the 1920's, when the city was growing swiftly; when it was one of the richest cities on the planet; city planners envisioned a new New York.

Given that entrepreneurs like Dan Gilbert are investing huge sums of money on the prospect of a revived Detroit, there needs to be enough reasons for more people to move here, to keep the comeback going. Real estate deals alone won't cut it. You need people living in those condos and houses-- or on land that now sits vacant. Organic arts movements in a city make that city an appealing place for artists, tourists, and young professionals alike. People want to be part of a dynamic happening. They want to visit and live in a magical, mythical city that stimulates the imagination. (See Paris of the 1920's.)

In creating such a scene, writers are as important as artists, because they'll write about, publicize, mythicize that time and that place.

All that's needed for Detroit to become the center of new publishing is for people in Detroit and the world to believe it's possible.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Detroit Scoops New York!


No, we won't apologize for scoring a minor coup in running with a story that vaunted New York media won't touch.

Read about the matter here.

Note our questions to award-winning writer John Colapinto. He responds with honest opinions rare from one who works at the heart of literary power. You'll not read a stronger interview anywhere.