Waiting for the Alchemist

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-05-15
  • Publisher: Louisiana State Univ Pr
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Direct, tactful, and compassionate, the poems in Waiting for the Alchemist, published posthumously, tell us things we need to know-about art, history, nature, love, and life. Wholly without pretension, these poems make us feel that we have discovered the truth. The poet accomplishes this partly by his delicate touch with rhyme and assonance, partly by making himself seem almost an accidental instrument of the poem, and someone who just happens to be conveying it. The reader cannot help but respond with affection and gratitude. The title poem reminds us that the philosopher's stone is more likely to turn up in our backyard-or in our imagination-than in a laboratory. The poems of the second section address history with restraint and tenderness, while those in section three explore contemporary lives. In the final section, Perlberg writes about his family, his friends, and himself. In the poem "In My Next Life" the poet writes-perhaps smiling inwardly-that he will then be "amiable, mostly, but large / and formidable," and adds, with a wink, "I'll insist you be present / in my next life-and the one after that."

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