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.

1 comment:

Larry Ziman said...

Hi J.S.---- Thanx for the review of TGAPS #1. How did you get a copy over there in England? Do you have the hardcover or a PDF copy? If you have the PDF, I'll send you the hardcover as a thank you and I'll include the hardcover of TGAPS #2.
Let me know. And I can always email you PDF copies of TGAPS 1 & 2 if you don't have them. My email is Please email me your physical address. And check out our website at where you can find over 10,000 poetry & literary links. Larry Ziman