From Publishers Weekly
The specter of nuclear holocaust serves as a backdrop against which Irwin's ( The Halo of Desire ) central themes are brought into sharp relief. The time-honored symbolism of the cycles of nature evinces death and rebirth, but redundant and mundane imagery is redeemed by striking combinations of scientific and esthetic perceptions. For example, Irwin's point that all entities in the universe are interconnected, made of the same elements but given different forms, would be hackneyed were it not for the vivid and imaginative illustrations he finds within the world of nature. And so, in the first elegy, "The Wisdom of the Body," he splits open a cocoon and discovers "a thick and formless jell / the caterpillar gone, / dissolved to a fetal pool of white. / Its center diminished to everywhere. / We too once moved in a sleep like nothing / when liquids giving form / spelled out time's possibility. / So too when put in the earth / the body gives up shape."
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"When Hegel spoke of poetry as 'the sensuous radiance of the idea' he might well have bee referring to Mark Irwin's extraordinary new volume of poems Against the Meanwhile. These meditations on loss serve as elegies for places, people, and memories given up to history, to passage, to faithlessness. Geological and evolutionary time loop through these poems, weaving together the historical, the personal, and the natural, providing a dazzling perspective that is unique in American poetry."-- David St. John