Mark Irwin was born in Faribault, Minnesota. He received a BA from Case Western Reserve University in 1974, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1980, and a PhD from Case Western Reserve University in 1982.
Irwin is the author of eleven poetry collections, including Joyful Orphan (University of Nevada Press, 2023); A Passion According to Green (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2017); American Urn: New & Selected Poems (1987–2013) (Ashland Poetry Press, 2015); and The Halo of Desire (Galileo Press, 1987). He is also the author of the essay collection Monster: Distortion, Abstraction, and Originality in Contemporary American Poetry (Peter Lang, 2017).
Of his work, W. S. Merwin writes, “Subtlety of ear, of phrasing, of language altogether, and a light-play of feeling, disguise the urgency and evocative range of Mark Irwin’s grave sensibility.”
The recipient of The Nation/Discovery Award, two Colorado Book Awards, and four Pushcart Prizes as well as fellowships from the Fulbright Program, the Poetry Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, Irwin is a professor at the University of Southern California.