"Highly recommended for all collections."
            Library Journal

reader comments

Dacey's work never fails to amaze.
               San Francisco Review of Books

Dacey achieves more in this one volume of poetry than the average poet achieves in several volumes. Highly recommended for collections seeking the best in contemporary poetry.
              Choice

To find such accessible complexity is rare in our period.
              Tar River Review

We have a true voice that sings in various tones and whose songs pretend not to be songs at all.  The full lines sing off the page while remaining firmly in touch with the natural speech rhythms.  Adventurous imagination informs the whole.
              American Book Review

Dacey is a charmer, a fantasizer, a pyrotechnician in the child's world of adult poetry.
              The Fessenden Review 

Reading Philip Dacey's poems is like having a conversation with a funny, sophisticated, and insightful friend.  And you don't want to say goodbye soon.
                Mark Brazaitis, on Church of the Adagio

If there were a poet laureate for middle America, Philip Dacey would surely be at the top of the list.
              G. Emil Reutter, Fox Chase Review, review of Gimme Five

Reading Philip Dacey's The Mystery of Max Schmitt brings to mind the criteria Barbara Kingsolver used in selecting the 2001 Best American Short Stories, choosing pieces that told her "something remarkable," were "beautifully executed," and "nested in truth."  How rare that a book of poetry could meet such criteria, and do so while adhering to some of the genre's strictest forms.
              Poetry International

Exceptional.
              Chicago Daily News

An author of witty, affirmative verse, Dacey combines traditional poetic forms with such elements as wordplay, irony, surreal imagery, and unusual syntax to convey the significance and value of commonplace events.
              Contemporary Literary Criticism

The motive up Dacey's sleeve that everybody knows best is that of the good-humored, surreal, and lethal commentator on the current American scene.
             Plainsong

Dacey's poems are as individual as fingerprints.
             The Hudson Review 

Phil Dacey is master of multiple forms; he speaks through many characters, male and female; he is wildly imaginative; he is ungodly prolific. These are characteristics we associate with the finest poets of the past, and he is one of ours.
             Barton Sutter

Dacey's a good story teller, and sheer interest of situation or character could carry his readers or listeners a long way. But like all genuine poets, Dacey is more than a story teller: he opens doors to other awareness, shoots you through the fog of cultural conditioning and habitual acceptance into insight.
             Marion Stewart, Sheboygan Press

Lovers of poetry, of fine turns of language, of amazing knots tied and untied, will appreciate Dacey's poems. Their strength is in the voice, the casual, comfortable speaker, whether Whitman, Hopkins, Gauguin, or the men and women of middle America.  The authenticity, the humor, the intelligence--in verse, free or chained--you can't ask for more.
             Louis McKee, Pembroke Magazine 

Philip Dacey, the protean poet of our time, ranges freely across time, humor, culture, form, and anything else he damn well pleases, and does so with startling productivity and imagination in a voice that is by turns wry, tender, incisive, and intelligent.
           Greg McBride, Innisfree Poetry Journal

In The Deathbed Playboy, Philip Dacey continues to do what he's done for years: keep kicking what passes for contemporary American poetry in the ass by way of reminding it of its wondrous possibilities, if, as my grandmother used to say, we would care to be possessed of all our faculties when we write it.
            Bruce Cutler

Dacey transmutes the ordinary into the metaphorical and the surreal; dream time and normal time coexist in his poetic universe. Readable and fresh, Dacey's poems engage and delight.  Highly recommended for all collections.
            Library Journal

Dacey's sixth book proves that tenure doesn't necessarily destroy one's sense of humor. He has a knack for tipping the balance between high and low, the serious and the absurd.
            Minneapolis Star-Tribune

I'd rather read an uneven book of Philip Dacey's than an even one by many of his more award-laden contemporaries.  Dacey's satiric brilliance shines throughout The Deathbed Playboy.
            William Trowbridge, The Georgia Review 

The Whitman suite alone, with its subtlety of tone and its historic authenticity in bringing alive telling incidents in the great poet's life, makes The Deathbed Playboy worthwhile.
          George Held, One Trick Pony

Dacey's uncompromising and radical voice is a perfect match for Eakins' uncompromising and radical painting. The Mystery of Max Schmitt is an extraordinary and splendid salutation.
          Denise Duhamel

Hundreds of poets have evoked, addressed, described, argued with, imitated, and parodied Walt Whitman for well over a century. Few poets, however, have more frequently, more successfully, and more imaginatively engaged him than has Dacey.
          Ed Folsom, Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 

When he is serious, Philip Dacey isn't daunting, and when he is humorous he isn't silly, rather brings to his work a mixture of learning and a deft touch with language.
          David  Chorlton, Future Cycle

Back in the 1970s, Edward Field and Billy Collins in New York , Russell Edson in Connecticut , and Philip Dacey in the Midwest were all writing what I would later call Stand Up Poetry.
          Charles Harper Webb

Many outstanding poets whose work does not fall conveniently into a specific "school" or category flourished in the second half of the twentieth century. Simply to cite some representative figures--Adrienne Rich, Stanley Kunitz, William Stafford, Mary Oliver, Lucille Clifton, James Dickey, Robert Hayden, Mark Strand, A. R. Ammons, Audre Lord, Charles Simic, Philip Dacey, Billy Collins, Carolyn Forché, Sharon Olds--is to suggest the vitality of American poetry in these years.
         Oxford Companion to United States History (2001)

Phil Dacey has been working profitably and pleasurefully for years toward blending literary and artistic biography with lush lyricism, and toward blending the feel of loose, open possibility with the infrastructure of traditional forms.  This Eakins book is the apotheosis of that lovely search, and we're all its beneficiaries.
           Albert Goldbarth

Dacey's work is land-mined with risks. And brave. Persona poetry gives up a lot: the self, in the Buddhist sense. We admire it, particularly when it succeeds in its obsessions and masks as Dacey does.
           Leonard Gontarek, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts

Dacey's poems manage to be both innocent and experienced at the same time, Blake notwithstanding. Dacey's tap dance in this collection is nimble and sprightly--serious yet quirky, fun yet wise.
           North American Review

 

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