Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Underground Problems

In conception, the Underground Literary Alliance was a great thing. The idea, in part, was to create a big tent which all undergrounders could use for their own benefit. It was a plan toward necessary cooperation.

Right now there’s enough talent out there for underground writers and artists to compete with the established literary world. What’s lacking is direction and cohesion. We’re a collection of random molecules bouncing aimlessly. We need to get moving in one direction.

What’s lacking is a structure or format so that what benefits one benefits all. There needs to be a synergy, so that underground projects benefit other underground projects, and are benefitted in turn.


1.) First, the underground needs to present itself as a single movement.

2.) It needs a critical journal which explains that movement.

3.) It needs avenues of publicity for the movement, across the spectrum. Its own websites, radio programs, publications, stores—each of which will be tied together in some way, either through presenting or advocating a particular aesthetic, or, as the ULA attempted, through uniting around a particular name.

There have to be individuals willing to take one part of that need. No one person, or small group of persons, can do it all, yet the ULA tried to do it all. No one person can write, and promote, and distro, and sell. If we all “just write,” there leaves time and effort for nothing else.

Yet if we don’t work together we’re nowhere.

What’s the solution?

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