Far-Fetched

Devin Johnston. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23 (96p) ISBN 978-0-374-15359-5
Johnston (Traveler) offers a fifth collection of poems that sparkle with a sharp eye for image and ear for language play. The way Johnston describes a pair of Orpington chickens "with iridescent necks" would serve equally well for the poems themselves: they "kindle in each yolk, the smallest flame of spring." The first half of the collection examines the textures and strange mysteries of the natural world, occasionally in language that seems to come from another time. "Be stil, and smoothly draw your flye/ to and fro in a kind of daunce/ as if it were alive," Johnston instructs a would-be fly fisher. Then Johnston shifts his subject matter to contemporary urban landscapes without altering the crisp precision with which he sees his surroundings. A "hand waits its turn/ outside a bag of popcorn," and a surprising conversation takes place on a flight from Houston. This is where Johnston lets his character slip through, exploring his role as a poet, birdwatcher, and father. "Let the child cry awhile," he writes, waiting for his child to sleep. In Johnston's arresting poems, "eyes roll inward/ and night unravels/ the wale/ that day has knit." (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 03/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 96 pages - 978-0-374-71408-6
Paperback - 96 pages - 978-0-374-53670-1
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