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 of 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, “Each poem holds in balance a lapidary concision and utter lushness of vowel-work,” forming a distinctive music.
Born in 1970, Devin Johnston spent his childhood in North Carolina. He is the author of three previous books of poetry and two books of prose, including Creaturely and Other Essays. He works for Flood Editions, an independent publishing house, and teaches at Saint Louis University in Missouri.