Feature and New Story on New Pop Lit

New Pop Lit ran a short feature on me as part of their series on their contributors, and published a new short story of mine:

SAMUEL J. STEVENS

We wanted to open this segment of our series by planting a flag to say, “Yes, alternative viewpoints to one-size-fits-all literature ARE out there and need to be valued.” We reject any notion of a monothink hive or herd putting Orwellian pressure on writers to join an unthinking mob.

The writing of Samuel Stevens is unique– short stories or novels– because he gives the reader an unfamiliar viewpoint. One never seen in today’s approved literary scene. His male characters once were the norm– in the 1950’s, before a culural sea change. Think Charlton Heston in films like “The Naked Jungle.” This upstanding, moralistic type still exists. Plenty are out there. Mainstream culture has decided they don’t exist, and so excludes them from all scenarios except as a target for mockery. [continue reading here]

In Stevens’s new story for us, “Greener Country Grass,” the narrator journeys into the American heartland with a cynical D.C. buddy. The story could be an analogy for east coast intellectuals currently scrambling to understand the attitudes of the heartland.

New story, “A Difficult Operation” at Casper Review

The Casper Review published my latest short story, a noir:

He saw the girl on the side of the parkway. She looked about as out of place out in the Blue Ridge as in her nylon shorts and crop top and gaudy floral thigh tattoo as he did in his suit. She waved to his car. He drove past her. He’d only pick her up because he thought he’d get lucky and even if the chance arose he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He was working a case.

Read the rest here

Antennae of the Race: Understanding Modernist and Contemporary art

Ezra Pound once remarked that artists are the “antennae of the race,” perceptive to the spirit of the age around them. Mainstream conservative commentators make the horrendous mistake of dismissing Modernist and contemporary art as “bad,” and therefore they must complain about the artwork. Yet, like they normally do, they miss the root issue of “bad” contemporary and older Modernist works. Artists take in what they see and feel around them. Disordered, nihilistic times such as ours (with, of course, some elite meddling) are invariably going to produce ugly artwork. In this regard, that is why contemporary art is important–not that I personally like most of it–but it is a touchstone for the state of our culture. Marcel Duchamp’s infamous toilet  did not simply come about without social context.

When Modernist art took off after the Great War, traditional painters and artists could not Continue reading

“Writers Resist” or, Color Revolution in miniature

 

Writers Resist is the latest farce the American literary establishment has trotted out in response to the election. It is sponsored by the PEN America, whose mission is to preserve the freedom of expression. One site is writersresist.com and another is writersresist.org.
This new movement is on one level a mobilization of the overwhelming left wing population of people that call themselves writers, or are published authors/MFA program teachers. On closer examination, Writers Resist is very much a part of the Color Revolution technology used by the neoconservative/neoliberal establishment to achieve foreign policy goals internationally, but here used domestically against the incoming Trump administration. Some of you may be wondering how this fits together. We will get to that. Continue reading

From the ashes of Postmodernism, a New Sincerity?

Image result for st francis de sales quotesThe last few years may be, in the minds of later historians, the peak of the postmodern worldview. Postmodernism’s chief tools are irony, metafiction, and word games; to paraphrase David Foster Wallace (himself a postmodern writer) the basic premise is that we are reading a text, the text itself is aware it is a fictional story, and by extension the real world is a text we, or some authority, can manipulate. Kurt Vonnegut’s work provides a wealth of examples, particularly his narration in Slaughter-House Five and Breakfast of Champions where he appears as a character. Other postmodern authors like Cormac McCarthy and Brett Easton Ellis do not play with text as much as Wallace or Thomas Pynchon, yet their subject material is postmodern—both portray bleak worlds with little hope because PoMo posits there are no grand narratives. Ellis’ novel Glamorama depicts Continue reading

The Bank Agent

The bank agent got a call about an old man, a widower, that hadn’t paid his bills in six months and was nowhere to be found. His relatives were dead and his children lived off in the big cities on the coast. His accounts had run dry.

The bank agent had to go make a house call. He knew what would greet him at the door.

It was his third call like it this week.