063.1: Mark Irwin:: On the mountain once & Cuckooland & Self Portrait with Whiffle Ball & In the Year Of
23 May 2011
Reading Mark Irwin's poetry requires encountering the bigness and overwhelmingness of the world within the boundedness of the world, "where one leaf becomes a galaxy" and where a tulip creates "a red greater than any word." The four poems below appear at first glance to be short, brief snapshots of images and moments of time, but what occurs through the reading of each poem is an unfolding into the same largeness that the images find, a movement toward Kant's mathematical sublime. This sublimity is not found in the obviously boundless but rather in the infinite contained within the intimately bound that is carefully considered. Irwin's sublime draws from a perspective similar to ancient Chinese poets such as Wang Wei and Li Po: this mathematical sublime opens up a tenderness toward the world as opposed to awe. We find ourselves with Irwin hoping "[t]o hear just one / unravel through earth from seed."