Absinthe Literary Review, Book Reviews Spring 2002
B O O K   R E V I E W

Winter 2004

The Last Great Glass Meat Million by John Thomas Menesini

The Last Great Glass Meat Million
John Thomas Menesini
Six Gallery Press
Macon, GA
112 pp. $13.00 U.S.


In his poetry collection The Last Great Glass Million, John Thomas Menesini often does a fine job of showing the raw and awesome power of the native poetic voice. Generally speaking, the poet has an innate grasp of rhythmic device, which lends a subtle and compelling flow to much of his work. Some of the lines bleed poetic truth, especially ones bearing more complex imagery or language runs. He seems to owe a lot to the jazz of Kerouac, both in execution and commonplace subject matter—though Menesini comes off as a bit more cynical, lacking JK’s spiritual fever and substrate. 

Unfortunately, the collection also shows the customary weaknesses of the native poet as well. The editing is abysmal. Nary a page goes by without misspellings, inconsistent punctuation/capitalization (most poems are in lowercase—see our review of kris kahn’s collection for our attitude on that), and grammatical blunders—solid blunders, even granting the colloquial approach. The cover design of the book is low-rent horrid, practically pleading to be rushed to the remainder bin. At 112 pages, this is a fairly fat collection, but one that would have been greatly improved by considerable digestion of the matter within. A tightening and some sharp editing would have gone a long way towards improving Million. Again, sadly, the rush to print claims another victim; this latest victim, however, shows incredible potential. If Menesini hunkers down and examines all the reaches of his chosen craft and language, he could undoubtedly be an excellent American poet. As things sit, he is the rough diamond. Hopefully, faceting awaits.