The Monday Poem: ‘My Father’s Hats’ by Mark Irwin

The Monday Poem is brought to you by Professor Jim Gormley of the English Department. Enjoy!

My Father’s Hats

     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 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 can't be sure is there.

—Mark Irwin

The Monday Poem logoMark Irwin is the author of nine collections of poetry, which include A Passion According to Green (2017), American Urn: Selected Poems (1987-2014)Large White House Speaking (2013), Tall If (2008), Bright Hunger(2004), White City (2000), Quick, Now, Always (1996), and Against the Meanwhile: Three Elegies (1988). He has also translated Philippe Denis’s Notebook of Shadows and Nichita Stanescu’s Ask the Circle to Forgive You: Selected Poems. His collection of essays, Monster: Distortion, Abstraction, and Originality in Contemporary American Poetry, is forthcoming in 2017. His poetry and essays have appeared in many literary magazines including American Poetry Review, Agni Review, the Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, the Kenyon Review, Paris Review, Pleiades, Poetry magazinethe Nation, New England Review, New American Writing, the New Republic, and the Southern Review. Recognition for his work includes The Nation/Discovery Award, four Pushcart Prizes, two Colorado Book Awards, the James Wright Poetry Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fulbright, Lilly, and Wurlitzer Foundations. He is an associate professor in the PhD in Creative Writing & Literature Program at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles and Colorado.