34: éireann lorsung

éireann lorsung

Éireann Lorsung grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she received her MFA in poetry in 2006. Her first book, Music for Landing Planes By, was published in 2007 by Milkweed Editions; a second, Projet Linguistique, is forthcoming in 2011. She continues to write and make prints while she completes her PhD in Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham (UK). Her website, where you can find information about her work and follow her on her weblog, is http://www.ohbara.com.




The things that reddened: clematis,
mallow, bramble, a mulberry in the reserve.
Now the ghost bodies
of clematis everywhere

and whitening.

A station’s slatted front is half removed
for taller trains, the longboats dormant
in canals. Nothing came
into this century
unscathed. Tunnel face
like a castle and sheep still grazing by the weir.
To the east, your little town, nine poplars
in a line, greenhouse frames all emptied
of their glass, one hedgerow no one sees
to now. A sea that comes
like history, not by our bidding
and without cease.


Rugby to Tamworth

September, the greenery falling all in on itself
Full of apples
now feral now the last exit of a nightclub
What are all these crosses drawn on wood
A wild holly …….garden grown to ruin
This careless house ………these centuries of good breeding
Plots which will breathe underwater
Roads the Romans made and roads our hands made
Across these bodies …….and bodies we don’t even know
What beautiful thing did I not find
Was I not willing to find ………….. here.


The moon over Magritte’s landscape

Whoever said it should be early evening, or the sky, uncrowded
at this point with stars, should be the perfect

blue one poet thought of when he wrote about a Summer’s
Day, or that the moon, inconspicuously dangling

in the lower-right quadrant of the top-left pane
should be blurred by mist to nacre, pink-tinged

where finally one single star shines—they were right,
like the light coming on in the house next door and the woman

upstairs pulling her full slip over her head in slow-motion are
right, you know—like the silhouettes of trees floating in the garden.

Dear painter, the little lights in the garden and the stars and the half
moon moving left to right across my window’s page make a place

for the hat you wear (the one I like), and your stained
hands, and your wife, and your dog, like the space

in the sky you made for doves, unruly torsos, birdcages and bodies
of analysts, the dark room we wandered into, finding a blue

our hands were hardly big enough to carry. In your city
every man wears an apple and the women stare like umbrellas.

I have been wandering all day and barely touched you, immense
as the moon, and also shining, pale, somehow like me but at a remove.



Everything real—
the Cathedral in Lille
our footsteps,
striped tents, long skirts,
gold teeth, feet, hands
full of apples,
the stained
glass picture of our lives in trains,
airplanes, emptying rooms—
One year we will grow tomato plants
in coffee cans, beans
between paper and the cool

clear sides of jars—

nothing to riot.
There being nothing
to promise, I only


all my ribbons for thee.


Leave the madonnas and saints where they are.
The ornate world, all its things.
Stone floors, wooden floors.
And your hands on the table
alternate with mine.
The place I imagine for myself is the space
between your hands.




on the nightstand…

am loving…

  • the Amélie soundtrack (as always…I come back to it over
    and over and find it fresh every time)
  • the feeling of winter ending
  • working in the sun
  • WJT Mitchell’s writing
  • my teaching
  • new manuscripts I’m working on
  • making lists of all my projects
  • passion fruit
  • tulips

what inspires you about the spring?

More light, the freshness of everything, flowers, more light, more light, more light.

what three poems do you revisit over and over?

“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (T.S. Eliot), the book-length poem This Connection of Everyone with Lungs, by Juliana Spahr, and “i thank you god” by e.e. cummings.

what’s your idea of the perfect spring picnic?

Let’s go somewhere on our old roadbikes, a bottle of cloudy lemonade and a couple of ploughman’s sandwiches, some strawberries, a guitar, and some books. Make sure it’s about 11 a.m. when we leave, and make sure you don’t have any plans the rest of the day…

what are three constants in your day?

  • tea
  • poetry
  • photographs

20 thoughts on “34: éireann lorsung

  1. These are all remarkable poems. They are photographic and transporting.
    Remind me of some of MacLeish’s poems; “Lines for an Interment” and “L’an trensieme de mon Eage” (forgive the spelling). 17/42 knocked me out.

  2. Bloody fuckin brilliant. Excuse my French. What you write about a picnic is exquisite. I feel every bit of that image in my soul and I long for a picnic just like that but I would bring paper thin sliced prosciutto with my own home made bread.

  3. I have to reread them over and over to really ‘see’ all the movement -and the very sudden pauses- like a dance- just brilliant- thank you-

  4. these words are beautiful. a perfect picnic, too. i’m a fan of jonathan safran foer. are you enjoying his book? thanks for being a part of this joy+ride & sharing your work, eireann. i really love everything about this issue! :)

  5. and this is why i don’t write poetry. because really when you are face to face with such lovely rhythms and words and thoughts you realize that you don’t have command of language the way some people do. the way eireann does.

    and ploughmans sandwiches? there. so there.

  6. i couldn’t
    have said
    it better than lisa s.
    i have
    Music for Landing Planes By
    by my bed.
    i read one of her
    poems again
    at least
    once a week.
    then i have
    the most beautiful
    beautiful post.

  7. ‘The moon over Magritte’s landscape’ is so very beautiful. All your work is, and I, too, listen to the Amelie soundtrack regularly (though it does make my throat constrict and tears form in my eyes).

  8. These are gorgeous. Thank you for this introduction.
    And now, I have to unearth my Amélie soundtrack. It is good springtime music.

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