Mosses and Lichens by Devin Johnston (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, paperback)
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
A new collection from the author of Traveler
Not days of anger but days of mild congestion, infants of inconstant sorrow, days of foam in gutters, blossoms and snow mingling where they fall, a spring of cold profusion.
If a rolling stone gathers no moss, the poems in Devin Johnston's Mosses and Lichens attend to what accretes over time, as well as to what erodes. They often take place in the middle of life's journey, at the edge of the woods, at the boundary between human community and wild spaces. Following Ovid, they are poems of subtle transformation and transfer. They draw on early blues and rivers, on ironies and uncertainties, guided by enigmatic signals: "an orange blaze that marks no trail." From image to image, they render fleeting experiences with etched precision. As Ange Mlinko has observed of Johnston's work, "Each poem holds in balance a lapidary concision and utter lushness of vowel-work," forming a distinctive music.