Poetry Reading, Robert Adamson and Devin Johnston

Apr 9, 2015, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
Chancellor Green 105



Event Description

Robert Adamson is one of Australia's most eminent poets, and is a writer, editor and publisher. He has published 15 books of poetry. He has acted as President of the Poetry Society, editor of the Poetry Society of Australia's magazine, New Poetry, and poetry reviewer for Australia's national newspaper, The Australian.

The Goldfinches of Baghdad, Adamson’s first book published in North America, teems with cockatoos, kookaburras, lyrebirds, dollarbirds, and a host of waders from his native region. At once real presences and sly emissaries of the poetic imagination, these birds perform aspects of ourselves just as we assume their weird attributes: “The shadow your hand casts / resembles the mudlark, opening / its wings, calling and rocking, / perched in the pages / of my book.” Coming from elsewhere, they transgress human boundaries, ignoring sign posts and political borders. As birds and words exchange places, Adamson charts their migration. His poems arrive as epistles from the other side of the world. (Source: Flood Editions)

“Robert Adamson is that rare instance of a poet who can touch all the world and yet stay particular, local to the body he’s been given in a literal time and place. He is as deft and resourceful a craftsman as exists, and his poems move with a clarity and ease I find unique.” —Robert Creeley


I made this up from nothing. 

It’s not myself I sing, 
or love, or anything 
     that has a source. 
I dreamed these words while riding 
     on my horse.

(Source: Paris Review)

Born in Canton, New York, Devin Johnston grew up in Winston-Salem and received his PhD from the University of Chicago. 

Johnston is the author of several collections of poetry, including 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 University. (Source: Poetry Foundation)


The Poetry Series is organized in conjunction with ENG 405: Contemporary Poetry.

Co-sponsored by the Contemporary Poetry Colloquium.