Mark Irwin

October 24, 2016 Irwin Mark



I’ll crumple the paper before beginning to write

on it, or sometimes I’ll spray my notebook with water,

then sit in the sun, jabbing at the muggy pages with

a pencil. Each does what he can to make this process

more difficult, and why not? The white paper’s selfish,

wanting only more space and silence, inviting words

as one might houses to an Alaskan glacier, or inviting

emotions as one might guests to a wedding, each of them

blindfolded, feeling their way into the chapel to listen,

then toward the buffet to eat. And sometimes I’ll write on black

paper—the letters glinting, barely detectable, deterring my desire

to change things—then tilt the paper at noon to read it.

And sometimes I’ll toss the empty pages into the fire

at dusk and speak to them as one would to a child, or

a ghost ruining the sky, then only what I wake to

in the old morning will I remember.

Mark Irwin’s ten collections of poetry include the recently published Shimmer (2020), winner of the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, A Passion According to Green (2017), American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987- 2014), Tall If (2009), and Bright Hunger (2004). He recently completed a long translation project entitled Zanzibar: Selected Poems & Letters of Arthur Rimbaud, with an afterword by Alain Borer.