Issue 25 – 2014 – Mark Irwin

Mark Irwin



of a dress and all its tatting
yellows like the unused

invitations. White 
clouds, white church, white

dress when they answered each 
Will you with Yes, the white continuing

still as each red 
mouth pushes into the north of memory. How was it

when she glanced 
he would tear

a pelt from the grass and run

like an animal? Now he recedes into the bodiless 
forest. Angle

of time long with the sun now entering the woods 
like butter, and the words still lifting, muddy

with feeling, and a name, its wind 
imbued with autumn.

Again the Rain,

where had the body gone? So many 
years. What was the line? “The small rain down 
can rain.” Pull all the arrows out of sorrow and you 
are left with an old beast. How can
it happen again and again, the bodies leaving? Down, 
down. When is a long time. The smell of wet 
fir: an old beast yearning for tomorrow.

A Green Wind’s

blowing across the playground.

Across the playground the green wind gathers the bodies 
of children. Women and men

gather to watch their children running, gathering 
the green wind in their arms, giving

it to one another growing taller, offering it to their parents now 
whose green faces lean

down, drinking ravenously there.



Mark Irwin‘s poetry and essays have appeared widely in many literary magazines including The American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Paris Review, Poetry, The Nation, New England Review, and The New Republic. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop (M.F.A.), he also holds a Ph.D. in English/Comparative Literature from Case Western Reserve University and has taught at a number of universities and colleges including The University of Iowa, Ohio University, University of Denver, University of Colorado/Boulder, University of Nevada, and Colorado College. The author of seven collections of poetry, including Against the Meanwhile, Wesleyan University Press (1989), Quick, Now, Always, BOA (1996), White City, BOA (2000), Bright Hunger, BOA (2004), Tall If, New Issues (2008), and Large White House Speaking, New Issues (2013), he has also translated two volumes of poetry, one from the French and one from the Romanian. His American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987-2013) will appear in 2015. Recognition for his work includes The Nation/Discovery Award, four Pushcart Prizes, a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, Colorado and Ohio Art Council Fellowships, two Colorado Book Awards, the James Wright Poetry Award, and fellowships from the Fulbright, Lilly, and Wurlitzer Foundations. He lives in Colorado, and Los Angeles, where he teaches in the Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature Program at the University of Southern California.