Joe Rosenblatt Frank Davey - Essay

Frank Davey

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Joe Rosenblatt is a poet of wit and contrivance—along with John Robert Colombo one of the few to emerge among Canadian experimential poets of the past fifteen years. He delights in outrageous effects—in the juxtaposition of the sublime and the frivolous, the sacred and the obscene, sophisticated surrealism and the blatancies of pure sound.

Since his second book, The LSD Leacock (1966), his predominant theme has been the essential unity of cosmic life. To Rosenblatt, the human, animal, vegetable, and mineral realms share and interchange even their individual atoms of being. As the title of The LSD Leacock implies, he casts himself as a visionary who sees beyond the false and orgulous barriers man has placed between himself and the rest of creation. Like Leacock, he makes cynical note of human hypocrisy, but adds to this an absurd and horrific view of the insect and animal kingdoms as humanity unmasked—humanity stripped of its pretensions to decorum, tradition, etiquette, decency, chivalry, cleanliness, etc. He shows us our fragility in the smear of an egg yolk, our gluttony in the spider's feast.

The direct and exuberant lines of much of The LSD Leacock give place to more delicate and often less powerful writing in The Winter of the Lunar Moth (1968). The strongest poems comprise an opening section on the humanity of fish (and, correspondingly, the piscine nature of man); with a few...

(The entire section is 543 words.)