A noted poet and critic explains some basics about the emotional appreciation of poetry. Rosenthal (The Modern Poetic Sequence, Sailing Into the Unknown) here grapples with the questions of how gifted writers become great poets, and how even lighthearted verses may contain matter of utmost seriousness. Music in poetry and the notion of verse as ""sheer good luck"" are also dealt with in this slim volume. All of these topics are reason for Rosenthal to quote his favorite examples of poetry, and indeed it is as citer that his supreme talent may lie. Though few readers will have such a catholicity of taste, which embraces Pound and Sylvia Plath, Langston Hughes and Emily Dickinson, Rosenthal makes all of these excellent choices the occasion for a sensitive reading of each poet's words--and the prevailing tone is appreciative. There are some cautious words of blame addressed to such prize-winning writers as John Ashbery, but, even here, Rosenthal's advice is so patiently and genteelly given that no reader could take offense, even Ashbery himself. A sensible, sensitive meditation on poetry.