Joe Rosenblatt Douglas Barbour - Essay

Douglas Barbour

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Joe Rosenblatt's Winter of the Luna Moth, is [an] … interesting if somewhat flawed, book. Rosenblatt has a weird sense of humour and a strange ear for puns. His poems run the gamut of language, from the gutter to a medieval hymnary, while he acts as a word-alchemist, changing nouns to verbs, adjectives to nouns, and so on. But far too often they fail to reach a destination, leaving one with some brilliant lines, and occasional lovely verses, but seldom a complete poem. The ideas and images are often exciting, but they stand apart from the poems in which they appear. When he does get everything working together, however, the results are unique:

        Fernanda, you teach my touch new breath—
        opossum micing my senses in music opuses;
        O, I grew a love root opposite—
        glands gleed locust of mole cricketing;
        is multinudes of moth in milch flood.
                                       "Mothlady."

The animals which fill the poems live only in the universe of Rosenblatts's brain—live and love, as in "How Mice Make Love", one of the finest poems in the book, where the poet creates a total image of miniaturized love that is pure and joyful in its precise intensity. The final poem, "A Hall of Mirrors", is the most ambitious in the book, and the most exciting. A long and spirited meditation on life and the metamorphoses of the poetic mind, it exerts a real imaginative force. Rosenblatt is considered by many critics to be one of the best young Canadian poets. This book offers sometimes exciting, sometimes mystifying, sometimes maddening examples of his work. (pp. 290-91)

Douglas Barbour, "Book Reviews: 'Winter of the Luna Moth'," in The Dalhousie Review, Vol. 49, No. 2, Summer, 1969, pp. 289-91.