Far-Fetched, by Devin Johnston (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; $23), is a gorgeous collection that demonstrates how musical poetry can be. From the very first stanza, sounds wash over the reader in a stream that gently bubbles and flows: “Well, Sally Hen, how do you like your home?/ A straight run from the East to the West/ with hardscrabble fit for a choral dance/ and overhead, a walnut tree,/ lord of ice and obstacles.”
Birds grace many of these poems, which shimmer with light and color. Johnston is an astute observer, rendering nature and various locales with the keen eye of a painter and the wisdom of a historian who grasps the value of the overlooked. The poems also survey the human landscape, with quirky characters and poignant family moments.
This is a book for readers who want verse that etches memorable lines on the heart and mind.