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Thin Place

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White ash,
you wait for me

as I will wait
for someone.

What but skin
feels the wind,

what darkness
makes distinctions?

Breaking down
dusk and dawn,

housewreckers
on horse scaffolds

syncopate
their hammers.

Brick dust
drifts like smoke,

tents of habitation
withdrawn,

hinges of habit
undone.


Source: Poetry (April 2010)
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Thin Place

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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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