Jeff's Reviews > Traveler: Poems

Traveler by Devin Johnston
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Dec 27, 13


The poems in Devin Johnston's fourth collection have some continuities with earlier work, for example the persona-mode of "The Ghostwriter" (from Sources) magics into the voice of Bonnie Prince Charles Stuart of Traveler: Poems's "The Young Pretender." And the penchant for free and indirect translation results in the superb "Nothing Song," "after" William IX of Aquitaine. The language, however, its searching out the resonance of place name, birding lore, gaelic rhoter, and other short books of traveling, is new to this volume, and essentially instrumental -- Keatsian. Readers will find very little "I"-speaker in it, however, the poems' occasions, the observation in which the poem began, are easily accessible but not finally concerned to identify, but rather to limn the resonance of a certain aristocratic re-iteration in which the poet stands adjacent. Johnston is concerned (as was Creeley) with preserving the role of the poet in a culture where knowledge crowds in on us, everything is available if we'll just go look, and the much that is not poetry is too frequently mistaken for the little that is.
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