M(acha) L(ouis) Rosenthal John Parisi

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John Parisi

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The variety of subjects and tones, the technical skills, the fine perceptions, but also the faults of the poet are well represented in [Poems, 1964–1980], especially in his rightly acclaimed love lyrics. Rosenthal has a special gift for locating the peculiar nexus where human duality results in dilemma. He is probably at his best in witty verses that contract complexities into pithy paradoxes. Too often, however, his heart gets the better of his head—an understandable occupational hazard for one so immersed in amatory matters—and the poet veers toward merely facile remarks, sentimental tags, or pseudoprofound aphorisms, especially in disappointing closing lines that betray the strengths and originality of those preceding them. Still, this is a most enjoyable, and accessible, collection from a poet of many tastes and talents.

John Parisi, in a review of "Poems, 1964–1980," in Booklist (reprinted by permission of the American Library Association; copyright © 1981 by the American Library Association), Vol. 78, No. 5, November 1, 1981, p. 366.