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Hog Island Oysters

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Oysters adhere
to things, no eyes:

spat on the smooth
curve of a pier

they feel shadows   
and snap shut.

The sun wavers
while anchored below

each distills
Tomales Bay,

accreting waves
within its shell.

Voluptuous and cold,
Kumamoto trembles

on a thin fork,
liquefaction

of cloud. Rain
distorts glass,

our tavern submerged
all afternoon.

Source: Poetry (December 2007)
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Hog Island Oysters

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  • Born in Canton, New York, Devin Johnston grew up in Winston-Salem and received his PhD from the University of Chicago. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Far-Fetched (2015), Sources (2008), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Aversions (2004), and Telepathy (2001). His prose writing includes the critical study Precipitations: Contemporary American Poetry as Occult Practice (2002) and Creaturely and Other Essays (2009). A former poetry editor for the Chicago Review from 1995-2000, Johnston co-founded and co-edits Flood Editions with Michael O’Leary.

    A lyric poet influenced by Yeats, Johnston whittles the lines of his poems, compressing imagery that is at once allusive and immediate. “While his lexicon is rich and particular, Johnston's line is severe, unadorned, and keenly cut to measure out the subtle, counter-pointed music which so strongly marks these poems,” observes poet Forrest Gander of the poems in Telepathy.

    He lives in St. Louis and teaches at Saint Louis...

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