MONICA MANOLACHI Reviews
THE GREAT AMERICAN POETRY SHOW, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, edited by Larry Ziman, Madeline Sharples, and Nicky Selditz
(The Muse Media, West Hollywood, CA, respectively 2005 and 2011)
The Great American Poetry Show is a serial poetry anthology open year-round to submissions of poems in English on any subject, and in any style, length and number. Volume 1 (from 2005) includes 113 poems by 83 poets, whereas Volume 2 (from 2011) contains 134 poems by 92 poets. There is also a Volume 3, published in 2015, and the editors are now taking submissions of poems by email for Volume 4. The volumes are edited by Larry Ziman, Madeline Sharples, and Nicky Selditz and published by The Muse Media.
In the spring of 2016, I was happy to receive a parcel including, among other titles, the first two volumes of The Great American Poetry Show at my place in Bucharest, Romania.
In terms of style and subject matter, most poems in the first volume have a narrative thread and deal with themes such as relationships, love and hate, family bonds, art and nature, urban landscapes and space adventures, personal history and memory etc.
Poems such as “So I Dream of the Dead” by Hector E. Estrada, “At the Hotel Giotto, Assisi” by Michael Fedo, “Hungarian Pastry Shop” by Stefan Kiesbye, “Paris, 1917” by Heidi Nye or “Sailing with Memories of Li Hong” by Nellie Wong invite readers to reflect on the multicultural and palimpsest nature of the American ethnic.
In terms of form, five poems stand out. Three of them are all related to death (“ATTAC” by James Heller Levinson, “September 11 – The Missing” by Frank Hertle and “Los Angeles” by Lauren Young). Two others are signed by Jacob Scanlan: one combines mathematics and verse, and “Physiognomy” uses first and last letters of each line to transmit an acronymic message.
The second volume, which is 30 pages longer, continues the patterns of the first one and contains several significant additions.
Stories about family relationships, especially between parents and children, can be found in “Loons” by Michael Hettich, “How You Know You’ve Met Your Future Wife” by Tom C. Hunley, “Poem for My Daughter to Read Ten Years Hence” by Roger Pfingston, “By the Window” by Connie Post or “Dream World” by Madeline Sharples.
Some of the love poems included in this second volume are “Mittens” by Christine Fotis, “Even the Nails in the Sheet Rock Missed Her” by Cheryl Gatling, “Early” by Leonard Orr, “I Asked My Love” by Eileen Sheehan or “Their Morning in Flannels” by Philip Wexler.
Poems with an ethnic or immigration flavor are “Visit from My Mother on My Birthday” by June S. Gould, “The Last Photograph of My Father” by Rasma Haidri, “La Loba (A Native American Legend)” by Les Merton, “Address Book” by Fred Moramarco, “Phone Call” by Nora Nadjarian, “Los Huesos” by Charles P. Ries or “The Undressing Room” by Sam Taylor.
Interesting points of view and approaches of the subject matter can be found in poems such as “Oolong” by Don Brennan, “Micronauts” by Bob Cook, “Alphabet Stupor” by Barbara Lydecker Crane, “White Hole” by Joseph Hart or “The Body Reflects on the Future” by Pamela Miller.
Of course, many other titles could be highlighted here, but let’s give readers the opportunity to discover what they like at their own pace.
Monica Manolachi is a lecturer at the University of Bucharest, where she teaches English in the Department of Modern Languages and where she completed her doctoral thesis, Performative Identities in Contemporary Caribbean British Poetry, in 2011. Her research interests are American, British and Caribbean literature and culture, postcolonial studies and contemporary Romanian and Eastern European literature in translation. As a poet, she has published two collections in Romanian, Trandafiri (Roses) (2007) and Poveștile Fragariei către Magul Viridis (Fragaria's Stories to Magus Viridis) (2012) and one in English and Romanian, Joining the Dots / Uniți punctele(2016). She is also a translator and editor, contributing to the multilingual literary magazine Contemporary Literary Horizon.