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About this poet

Mark Irwin was born in Faribault, Minnesota. He received a BA from Case Western Reserve University in 1974, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1980, and a PhD from Case Western Reserve University in 1982.

He is the author of nine poetry collections, including A Passion According to Green (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2017), American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987–2013) (Ashland Poetry Press, 2015), and The Halo of Desire (Galileo Press, 1987). He is also the author of the essay collection Monster: Distortion, Abstraction, and Originality in Contemporary American Poetry (Peter Lang, 2017). 

Of his work, W. S. Merwin writes, “Subtlety of ear, of phrasing, of language altogether, and a light-play of feeling, disguise the urgency and evocative range of Mark Irwin’s grave sensibility.”

Irwin lives in Colorado and Los Angeles, where he teaches in the creative writing and literature program at the University of Southern California.


Bibliography

Poetry
A Passion According to Green (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2017)
American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987­–2013) (Ashland Poetry Press, 2015)
Large White House Speaking (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2013)
Tall If (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2008)
Bright Hunger (BOA Editions, 2004)
White City (BOA Editions, 2000)
Quick, Now, Always (BOA Editions, 1996)
Against the Meanwhile: 3 Elegies (Wesleyan University Press, 1988)
The Halo of Desire (Galileo Press, 1987)

Prose
Monster: Distortion, Abstraction, and Originality in Contemporary American Poetry (Peter Lang, 2017)

Voyage

When we could no longer walk or explore, we decided to wear

the maps and would sit talking, pointing to places, sometimes

touching mountains, canyons, deserts on each other’s body,

and that was how we fell in love again, sitting next to

each other in the home that was not our home, writing letters

with crooked words, crooked lines we handed back and forth,

the huge hours and spaces between us growing smaller and smaller.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Irwin. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Irwin. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.

Mark Irwin

Mark Irwin

Mark Irwin is the author of A Passion According to Green (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2017). He lives in Colorado and Los Angeles.

by this poet

poem
When within ourselves in autumn we feel the autumn
I become very still, a kind of singing, and try to move
like all things green, in one direction, when within ourselves
the autumn moves, thickening like honey, that light we smear
on faces and hands, then touch the far
poem

Now light turns the room a deep orange at dusk and you

think you are floating, but in truth you are falling, and the fall

is so slow, yet precise, like climbing a ladder of straw. Now

leaning forward, you open your hands that keep opening. Is

this what Yes feels like? Making a shore where no

poem

   Sunday mornings I would reach
high into his dark closet while standing
   on a chair and tiptoeing reach
higher, touching, sometimes fumbling
   the soft crowns and imagine
I was in a forest, wind hymning
   through pines, where the musky scent
of rain clinging to damp