Mark Irwin

There are poems that offer closure: “Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards, / And seal the hushèd casket of my soul.”  But there are poems, also, that offer aperture instead: “Was it a vision, or a waking dream? / Fled is that music: — Do I wake or sleep?”


One form of aperture is indefinite continuation, and Mark Irwin’s “Tell Me,” which invites its reader to tell the speaker “how                 we hear music / in silence, or                  a dead person’s voice / in our minds,” invites such continuation.  The reader knows to add her or his own list to the one Irwin starts.  How we understand meanings that are not spoken, how we are bound by laws we cannot articulate, …


Irwin, Mark.  Large White House Speaking.  New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2013.


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