Poetry reading by Mark Irwin Nov. 7

Spread the word, invite family and friends!

Poet Mark Irwin, reading from his newest book, Large White House Speaking!

November 7, 6PM in Pfau 4005, Special Collections Room

Reading will be followed by Student Open Mic — poetry and fiction!

Mark Irwin, poet and USC professor, is the author of seven books of poetry, including Large White House Speaking (New Issues), Bright Hunger (Boa Editions) and White City (Boa). His honors and awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, The Nation/Discovery Award, four Pushcart Prizes, and fellowships from the Fulbright, Lilly, and Wurlitzer Foundations. Irwin’s poems have appeared widely, including in The American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Paris Review, Poetry, The Nation, New England Review, and The New Republic. He attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and Case Western Reserve University, and is currently an associate professor of English at the University of Southern California.

sample poems by Mark Irwin

from his new book, Large White House Speaking


Now your name’s just a guest here, one
that cancels
all hellos. Fleshless
you come & go through the mansion
of air. How
will I address you, small
weather? Sometimes your name’s
a dress like an iron
bell the years
swing shadows from
longer than
home. Can you hear
that word peal? I’m going
there now,
carrying the windows
from inside
all the vowels.

Mark Irwin

This red feather floating down
from the canopy of a tree, the one
we watch all of our lives, then remember
as so many other breathing

things. Caught in a jar, the tadpoles slowly
lost their gills and tails to become
fat, knuckley, green. What

future tense to describe them
then? What grammar
I still look for

in a dissolving
past. The owl

blinks its glass eyes
in a tree. Sometimes I think the red feather’s
the word IS. I crack the skull

of an egg and watch the albumen
whiten in a hot
pan. Look, someone’s carrying red feathers

into a church where they grow into
a choir of blowing
mouths. My father once said

that all of our lives
we travel between the towns
of YES and NO. I hesitated, smiled,

then walked into a sun-ripe
woods. Red feather red
feather, we enter

bodies then place
them into the earth or
flame. April now

and the frogs crawl up
through the mud
to sing.

poem by Mark Irwin on Poetry.org


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 earth was
his scent I loved, lingering on
bands, leather, and on the inner silk
crowns where I would smell his
hair and almost think I was being
held, or climbing a tree, touching
the yellow fruit, leaves whose scent
was that of a clove in the godsome
air, as now, thinking of his fabulous
sleep, I stand on this canyon floor
and watch light slowly close
on water I’m not sure is there.

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