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  • The Great American Poetry Show, Volume 3 – Galatea Resurrects #26 (July, 2016)

    GALATEA RESURRECTS #26 (A Poetry Engagement)
    Presenting engagements (including reviews) of poetry books & projects. Some issues also offer Featured Poets, a “The Critic Writes Poems” series, and/or Feature Articles.

    Monday, July 11, 2016

    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.

    TGAPS Review – Neon Literary Magazine #32

    Neon Literary Magazine #32

    The Great American Poetry Show – reviewed by Christopher Walsh

    The Great American Poetry Show is, contrary to the name, not a show at all, but rather a poetry anthology published every few years by The Muse Media. It is hardcover, almost two-hundred pages long, and home to the work of over fifty different poets.
    For the most part this is a strong collection. The poems vary wildly in length, form, tone, subject matter, language, style and feel. In fact there doesn’t seem to be any unifying theme to the poems, except perhaps that they’re all fairly strong, and American in origin. It’s a varied selection, with a solid body of traditional and free verse poems sprinkled with the occasional burst of something more shocking or experimental. The balance is just right and makes for an enjoyable and sustained read.
    Although there’s nothing to particularly mark out The Great American Poetry Show as special, it’s worthy of interest for its solidity and strength. Energy that might have been put into a fancy layout or extensive website has instead been sunk into carefully editing and arranging for maximum effect. The result is an anthology with range and depth.

    To give you an idea of just how wide a range it has, I’d like to highlight two poems from the most recent edition. “Loons” by Michael Hettich is a haunting, quiet narrative poem in which the writer and his father swim out into the middle of a lake. This can be contrasted with the much more humorous “Robinson Crusoe” by Lockie Hunter, which takes the form of a list of song titles which, read in sequence, tell the story of the famous shipwreck novel. It’s a credit to the anthology that having these two pieces printed together doesn’t feel uneven or ill-planned.

    Within an otherwise beautifully-presented volume there are a few strange anachronisms, including a page labelled “Intermission” at the very end of the book, and an extensive list that informs us name by name, that each one of the contributors has given permission for their work to appear. These blips aside, The Great American Poetry Show is a carefully-curated and beautifully-produced collection. In such an extensive and varied anthology it would be hard not to find something to enjoy.

    Christopher Frost is a writer from the North of England.

    TGAPS #1 Review – by J.S. Watts at Clockwise Cat

    Sunday, December 11, 2011
    Review of The Great American Poetry Show Volume 1 by J.S. Watts

    Billed as a serial poetry anthology, open year-round to submissions, Volume 1 will give you a hearty meal of U.S. poetry. By my calculation there are eighty-four poets and one hundred and thirteen poems on the menu.

    The potential problem with such an open and eclectic gathering of verse is often quality, but a quick browse through the ten pages of notes on the contributing poets discloses a creditable writing and publishing record across almost the entire board.

    With so many juicy titbits to sample, it is difficult for this reviewer to choose which poems to highlight to provide a flavour of the diverse verse on offer. I’ve opted for a semi-random selection, but as the poems are arranged alphabetically by poet I’ve endeavoured to select some from the beginning, middle and end of the anthology so the A,B,Cs don’t get all the glory.

    First there is the sharp humour of craving a baby in Susan Ahdoot’s “Mutiny in the Body”,

    “Yes, the ovaries are pissed
    and seeking revenge.
    There’s a battle being fought
    and it isn’t always pretty.”

    and three lyrical poems from Sara Berkely on the joy and pain of having children,

    “You are coming down the present in your short dress,
    you have not done this before, alive in your first April,
    but this is your stride, the rhythm of arrival,
    and you carry the moment aloft,
    brimming, like pale water in a silver cup.”

    In “September 11 – The Missing” Frank Hertle constructs a sombre poem shaped like the twin tours from lists of the dead and a narrative of their known fate, whilst Larry Ziman proffers a prose poem, “Sci-Fi Flick”, enthusing over the delights of an inter-galactic striptease,

    “Fast as summer lightning I banked our fighter right and shot into the middle of an asteroid belt and hid our craft behind a speeding stream of planetary
    boulders. Just as the enemy ship zipped into our gunner’s sights, a fluffy
    pale-blue brassiere landed on the surface on our cockpit window.”

    With so many forms, styles and tones on offer you are unlikely to enjoy every poem in this eat-all-you-can buffet, but then again there will inevitably be little delicacies to tempt you, whatever your palette.

    The Great American Poetry Show is edited by Larry Ziman, Madeline Sharples and Nicky Selditz and is published by The Muse Media at The Great American Poetry Show and TGAPS.

    Author bio:

    J.S.Watts lives and writes in the flatlands of East Anglia. Her poetry, short fiction and reviews are published in a variety of magazines and publications in Britain, Canada, Australia and the States including: Ascent Aspirations, Envoi, The Journal, Polluto and The Recusant. Her debut poetry collection “Cats and Other Myths” is published by Lapwing Publications. For further details see J.S. Watts.

    Review of TGAPS #2 by Zvi A. Sesling – Boston Area Small Press & Poetry Scene

    Review by Zvi A. Sesling

    Online at Boston Area Small Press & Poetry Scene – Oct 31, 2010

    This book of poetry really is a “show.” It is 8×10, hardcover
    and provides 157 pages of poetry, followed by a bio of every
    author. Moreover the authors are presented in alphabetical order
    which is especially useful if you want to find the poem or author

    As for the poetry, it has some old poetic friends like A.D. Winans,
    Lyn Lifshin, Alan Catlin, but for the most part I am not familiar with
    the poets, though their poems are of high quality and belong in “the show”
    which is baseball talk for the major leagues.

    Of the many poems a number caught my eye. Let me name just three: To My Daughter on a Fine Fall Day, by Carol Carpenter, Big Daddy by Carrie Jerrell, Remembrance by David Parke about a lost love which closes: At night when I stand in the chilled desert breeze/ and feel it lightly kiss my face,/I close my eyes and feel the phantom of your lips against mine.

    The anthology has a penchant for personal poems as a good many of them are first person, though Lois Swann’s short poem (8 lines) is quite enticing:


    The frost has left a simple beautiful pattern
    on the black car roof
    Like stars clustered or marcasite
    threaded with silver.

    Shivering, undressed, I find such marks sparkling
    on the skin of my inner thigh,
    The sign of you I am loathe to bathe away,
    fearing to squander diamonds

    To be sure there will be poems you do not like, but in 157 pages can you really expect
    every poem to grab you? No, but in The Great American Poetry Show my guess the majority (probably more than a simple majority) will be enjoyable, and since every reader is different, many readers will connect with a number of the poems and poets.

    Review of TGAPS #1 by Barb Radmore – Front Street Reviews

    The Great American Poetry Show is a 2005 compilation of poems that were selected from over 8,000 submissions. They include poems by experienced writers and first timers. Some had been previously published in other places but not all. The poets are teachers, nurses, students and, of course, authors, to name a few. They come from a wide cross section of America to represent all the parts of the American Poetry Show. Read more… »

    Review of TGAPS #1 by Tim Bellows on Amazon

    A FINE SHOW, January 19, 2006
    Reviewer: T. Bellows "soul9"

    This is a great read – despite the strange title (poetry is not a mere "show." It’s all that is genuine and intense in thought). But the book reveals a variety of poems – from touching, to zany to off the wall. The 8.5×11 format and hard cover make a quality setup for some energetic work. Often with a keen edge. Great fun to spot through – and savor! Highly recommended.

    Review of TGAPS #1 by Adam Peltz – Literary Magazine Review

    Literary Magazine Review, Vol. 23, No. 4 Winter, 2006 – by Adam Peltz

    What Makes for American Poetry?

    Three very American elements of the anthology The Great American Poetry Show are found in the names and notes of the poets, themselves. The variety of poets’ names (eighty-three of them) offer diversity and an index of those who are among the contemporary circuit of submissions. The contributors’ notes offer an index of resources, which include a list of journals and small presses that have printed poems, and also patches of around the country from where the poets hail. Read more… »

    Review of TGAPS #1 by Richard Lauson – small press review

    small press review – May-June 2005: Mind Candy by Richard Lauson –
    This strikingly produced cloth-bound ‘zine proclaims itself: “a serial poetry
    anthology, open year-round to submissions of poems in any subject, style and number.” A joyously creative, kaleidoscopic blend of poetry forms (a veritable bouquet), this volume delights Read more… »

    Review of TGAPS #1 by Doug Holder

    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. Read more… »