Winner of the L. E. Phillabaum Poetry Award
Gifted with a unique and elemental style that goes to the heart of things, often with Zenlike simplicity, Mark Perlberg published four books of poetry over the course of his long and accomplished life. At the time of his death in 2008 he was in the process of putting together Theater of Memory, a collection of his best poems, both published and unpublished, which he saw as the summation of his life’s work. His wife, Anna Nessy Perlberg, completed the manuscript and contributed an afterword to the collection.
Moving and unpretentious, the 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.”
Mark Perlberg (1929–2008) cofounded the Poetry Center of Chicago and served as its president for many years. He is the author of four other books of poetry: The Burning Field, The Feel of the Sun, The Impossible Toystore, and Waiting for the Alchemist.