State of the Arts Blog

Minnesota Poetry: Eireann Lorsung’s “Knitting”

Éireann Lorsung's poetry reflects a love of craft; not just the craft of poetry, but her love of textiles, dressmaking, and paper. Lorsung's artistic talents are not limited to being a wordsmith; she also used to have her own line of clothing and now creates prints and drawings. Lorsung was born in Minneapolis and earned in MFA in writing and her BAs in English and Japanese from the University of Minnesota. You can find out more about Lorsung at her website,


When are you coming back to stand in front of the window?

(I heard you whistling last night. Cars pass me by all day,

waves circling the enormous globe.)

So much is left out, I'm knitting a pattern without

stitches, without needles, only long fingerbones

to carry yarn. There was something buried

the night I left Eau Claire for good, and I never knew

how it would grow. Now your childhood friends

are my students, I walk past houses you lived in

without my knowledge and your scent trails

from abondoned bakeries. Whole warehouses

have been invented to catalogue want like this.

I go on knitting night and day because I don't know

any other thing. All unknits by darkness

into twine birds use piece by piece. What secret

name can I call you? What adventure are you on tonight?

There is forgetting in the density of raw new wool,

yarn shop one block from your apartment,

the cheap scarf - you don't value things

because you never make them. Moon over the whitening world

sharpens spindle, windowframe. The sash

is pulled, seam is set: without material, there is no map.

"Knitting" in music for landing planes by by Éireann Lorsung (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2007). Copyright © 2007 by Éireann Lorsung. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions.