The poems in Devin Johnston’s Traveler cross great distances, from the Red Hills of Kansas to the Rough Bounds of the Scottish Highlands, following weather patterns, bird migrations, and ocean voyages. Less literally, these poems move through translations and protean transformations. Their subjects are often next to nothing in several senses: cloud shadows racing across a valley before dusk, the predawn expectation of a child’s birth, or the static-electric charge of clothing fabric. Throughout, Johnston offers vivid glimpses of the phenomenal world: “He describes objects with his hands and his eyes, noting texture, heft, and fit” (Boston Review). Equally, one finds a keen attention to sound in the patterning of subtle rhymes and rhythms, demonstrating “care and precision with line and pause” (Poetry).
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Yet Johnston may be most original when his subjects turn up close to home: his cool temperament meets its fruitful complement when he writes of family and children, most of all his young daughter, who in the brief, fine triptych entitled "Appetites" "lies awake/ talking in confidential tones/ wit...Jun 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Traveler: Poems