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Through birdcalls and ancient songs, rain patter and a child's scribble, the poems in Far-Fetched "sound the empty space / to test how long / how far." They follow the contours of Appalachian hillsides, Missouri river bends, and remote Australian coastlines, tuning language to landscape. They register emotional life with great care; this is a work of fierce and delicate attention to the world. It is also poetry meant to be heard, alert to the pleasures of sound. As August Kleinzahler has observed, "In Devin Johnston's poetry every syllable is alive; the vowels and consonants combine to make a distinctive, lovely, austere music."
a yolk, the smallest flame of spring. NEW SONG after William IX, Duke of Aquitaine As sweetness flows through these new days, the woods leaf out, and songbirds phrase in neumes of roosted melody incipits to a new song. Then love should find lubricity and quicken, having slept so long. The bloodroot blossoms, well and good, but I receive no word that would set my troubled heart at ease, nor could we turn our faces toward the sun, and open by degrees, unless we reach a clear accord.
permitted one greeting and departing kiss, a closed-mouth kiss of one to two seconds. Do not leave children unattended. FIXED INTERVAL When he turns fifteen, you’ll be fifty-four. When he turns thirty, you’ll be sixty-nine. This plain arithmetic amazes more than miracle, the constant difference more than mere recursion of father in son. If you reach eighty, he’ll be forty-one! The same sun wheels around again, the dawn drawn out and hammered thin as a copper sheet. When he turns
a window left ajar. One talks and talks, a reckoning of who got sober, who took ill. The talker seeks me out at lunch, a bond of passing circumstance. He slides the food around his tray disdainfully and looks askance at those nearby, as if to say, In here, you can’t expect too much. Across the hall, five years ago, the talker fought for custody and lost, his daylight blotted out. He’d spent the decade carelessly and sucked a mortgage up his snout. He never sees his daughter now.
handbreadth of cloud skiffing across the gap, its wake a drow of cold breath, a mug of dirty light, tipping out reflections from a daguerreotype, smur that deepens and deepens, turning as smoothly as dusk from mull to rug bickering on the chimney cowl. Socked in, you lie awake inside a steady rustle, a sound as dull and absorbing as paper. The general condition leaves a thousand tokens, hissing in the grate, swamping the clay chimneys crayfish make in secret hollows, lifting oil
calling.” “Satin Bowerbird” adapts a line from William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence”: “Weaves a Bower in endless Night.” ALSO BY DEVIN JOHNSTON POETRY Traveler Sources Aversions Telepathy PROSE Creaturely and Other Essays Precipitations: Contemporary American Poetry as Occult Practice Farrar, Straus and Giroux 18 West 18th Street, New York 10011 Copyright � 2015 by Devin Johnston All rights reserved First edition, 2015 eBooks may be purchased for business or promotional use. For