The Great American Poetry Show. (POBOX 69506) Edited by: Larry Ziman, Madeline Sharples and Nicky Selditz West Hollywood, Ca. 90069 $35.
“The Great American Poetry Show,” is a hard cover, coffee table book- sized annual anthology of poetry, put out by publisher Larry Ziman. I noticed many familiar names from the small press such as : M.C. Bruce, Alan Catlin, John Grey, and Lyn Lifshin included on these pages. Apart from a flashy front and back cover the anthology is a straight forward offering with a poem-a-page, a simple font, and plenty of room for the poems to breathe.
In a large anthology like this there is always a lot of work that appeals to me, and work that is less appealing. A sampling reveals a nice piece from Grace Bauer: “Café Culture,’ that is a close study of a couple in a trendy java joint. In the poem “ “The Lone Ranger Dines Again,” Elizabeth Wylder describes how the costumes of her youth ( her Lone Ranger outfit for instance), is only replaced by the costumes of adulthood: “ I sit in a restaurant with a napkin on my lap,…slippery black high heels,/ that even after years of use I still fear makes me a giantess…/ I’m already in the ladies room/ reapplying this/ checking that, cursing it all,/searching the mirror for snowflakes and Tonto’s spotted palomino.” (125)
This book will most assuredly have a lot more to say than most of those books scattered on the coffee table. And I think the poetry is well-served by this eye-catching book.
Doug Holder/ Ibbetson Update/Somerville, Mass/Nov. 2005