09/28/2012 09:43 AM
BATON ROUGE – Moving and unpretentious, “Theater of Memory: New and Selected Poems,”
published in October by LSU Press, features work from Mark Perlberg’s four previous
books – “The Burning Field,” “The Feel of the Sun,” “The Impossible Toystore” and
“Waiting for the Alchemist” – along with a sampling of previously unpublished pieces.
Perlberg began work on the collection during the last year of his life, and his wife,
Anna Nessy Perlberg, finished the compilation after his death. The book includes an
afterword by Anna, who shares the story behind this retrospective collection.
Poems range from verses about the poet’s childhood, including the early death of his
father, to pieces in conversation with Chinese poet T’ao Ch’ien, to poignant poems
about his grandson. A slowly deflating helium balloon becomes a meditation on aging
and the urgency to teach his grandson “to remember in perilous / times to keep something
of himself for himself.”
Perlberg (1929–2008) cofounded the Poetry Center of Chicago and served as its president
for many years.
Posted on Friday, September 28, 2012