M(acha) L(ouis) Rosenthal Joseph A. Lipari

Start Your Free Trial

Download M(acha) L(ouis) Rosenthal Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Joseph A. Lipari

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Rosenthal displays impressive range and intelligence in [Poems 1964–1980], which includes poems from four previous books and new pieces. Rosenthal is not afraid to tackle major themes (nature and the imagination, memory and desire, the violence of our time, the redemption which is love), and he does so with suppleness and wit. Still, his limitations as a poet are apparent here. At his best, Rosenthal fuses the personal and universal in a lucid yet suggestive rhetoric. At times, though, stridency and ironic undercutting, mythological and literary allusions, and archaic diction ("you're borne / whithersoever the torrent lists") are poor substitutes for vivid emotion.

Joseph A. Lipari, in a review of "Poems 1964–1980," in Library Journal (reprinted from Library Journal, October 1, 1981; published by R. R. Bowker Co. (a Xerox company); copyright © 1981 by Xerox Corporation), Vol. 106, No. 17, October 1, 1981, p. 1930.