Devon is a poet and artist whose work explores the relationship between language and identity. His poems have appeared in Fence, Aufgabe, Colorado River, Octopus Magazine (online), the tiny, Backward City Review, and 26 – A Journal of Poetry and Poetics, among others. A former Fullbright fellow to Denmark and artist-in-residence at Yaddo, Devon's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. He is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Montana and ABD in the Comparative Literature Program at the University of Iowa. He is an instructor at Whitman College and lives with his wife among the wheat fields of southeast Washington. He curates


My creative writing is an attempt to come to terms with the problematic construction of subjectivity within language's never-ending slippage of meaning. While language is often posited as that stable medium with which one generates oneself ex nihilo, it is, in reality, a system defined by its radical dependence on the Other. Paradoxically, one asserts one's linguistic agency with and in a system whose validity is always already contingent. I think of my work as a linguistic working-through, concerned with questions of performativity, appropriation, and recontextualiation. Combining traditional poetic forms, visual art, and prose, I try to bring my reader's attention to the way in which language and personal experience are structured.


My pedagogy constitutes an exploration of what it means to be an ethical individual within a system that enables inequalities around race, class, and gender. As such, I am interested in how discourses of power are created, maintained, and subverted. I consider my teaching, creative writing, and academic research facets of this larger project – the conceptualization and embodiment of a discursive position that encourages compassionate engagement with the world.


[PANK] (forthcoming)

"[This is sufficient.]"


"[In the same sense, a reduction]"

"[Reader, I'd've left this undone, gainsaid.]"



The California Journal of Poetics (forthcoming)

"[I try to figure out what they say to each other;]"


Vinyl Poetry (forthcoming)

"[the war is so lurid]"


Bayou Magazine (forthcoming)

"[12/18/15 – 11:20am]" (wikipoesis)


RHINO (2016)

"[The atomists were not incorrect.]"


Gigantic Sequins 6.1

"[This is how it starts]" (wikipoesis)


Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Tribute to Tomas Šalamun)

”[i! went looking for it.]”


Storm Cellar Quarterly (spring 2015)

"[What could eat her up?]"


LIT (spring 2015)

"[at closing time. the voice inside me said]"


Drunken Boat 21

”[Whole strata of rounded stones torn asunder]”

"[An inauspicious beginning]"

"[Reader, there are limits to credulity]"


JMWW (summer 2014)

"[What has been resolved?]"

"[I have conceded every thing.]"

"[What's said of stones]"

"[That there are consequences is clear.]"


Í máli og myndum (Eds. Catrine Thornstensen and Torgeir Husevaag)




Octopus #8

"[I imagine you / sleeping]"

"[In a dream]"

"[My hands / starred]"

"[The lashed knot]"

"[Fosse / what remaindered]"

"[Your response]"

"[More than the well]"


Aufgabe #6 (2007)



26: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics – F, 2007

"[Rather, the hymn]"

"[My inked-over eye]"

"[Plait unto skin]"

"[As the crops are gathered]"

"[Among trees / the river I knew]"

"[Now, the divide]"

"[Of late]"

"[I carry measure]"


the tiny, 2007


"[Movement / tagged to the river]"

"[The exact opposite of bells]"


Fence Magazine (Winter/Spring 2006)

"[Plum trees reach beyond me]."


Colorado Review (Spring 2006)

"[O, sharpening edge]"


Backwards City Review (Fall 2006)


Devon is a former Fullbright fellow to Denmark, artist-in-residence at Yaddo, and a graduate of the University of Montana and University of Iowa.

Implications - a collaboration with Nicole Pietrantoni

9 feet x 33 feet

Injet on Awagami Inbe Thin, folded and bound into 30 accordion books that expand to create a panoramic image.

The overlaid poem by Devon Wootten is titled Risk[,] Event[,] Disaster. It is an exercise and appropriation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation.


Recall that disaster has social as well as physical dimensions, i.e., change affects risk, but so too the spatially diverse and temporally dynamic patterns of exposure and vulnerability.

As the body is physical, this too is intimate. Would that you provide, would that you attend. O, knowledge of change and its potential.

To express appreciation is no easy task. You are a gracious host & I am in your debt.

This too a matter of perspective, hence of knowledge & collaboration. Recall that each strategy for disaster is in some way a reparation of the origin.

Would that our direction process as stars process, in relation to another.

What follows is only an outline. What follows could not have been observed. What is true cannot help but be retroactive. This I admit. This is not causal.

Consider constraint as what inheres in transformation. This is an overcoming of constraints – this an illustration of complexity, a document of important progress.


Precipitous - a collaboration with Nicole Pietrantoni

15 feet x 6 feet

Injet on Awagami Inbe Thick, folded and bound into 5 accordion books (each 22 pages) that expand to create a panoramic image.

The overlaid poems by Devon Wootten are excisions and appropriations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's reportClimate Change and Water.

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Reader, this is a record loss and abundance. Let me be clear – what is vulnerable has potential for change. Reader, as this is consequential, so let us be systematic.

Reader, change is never not cyclical: content, pattern, intensity– these will be our watchwords. We will attend to spatial variability, e.g., any increase or decrease in birdsong.

Reader, every song is spatial & we must assume significance – as rivers to the lakes they feed.

Reader, let us be consistent. O, sign and magnitude, O, varied substance! O, uncertainty.

Reader, to what avail? & at what distance moved?

Reader, sound me true – what rent thing fills these sails?

Reader, I comprehend. Variability is to risk as frequency to consequence – end & and in proportion.

Reader, tend these words as to the wind or tide. For what guides declines our course, as mountains call to currents.

Reader, let us temper our demands. Each of us is water and salt, thus each of us contains a sea.

Reader, we are subject to each other. Reader, we cannot be otherwise. We have been provided for.

Reader, we are nothing if not precipitous. Reader, ours is to affect and to be affected.

Reader, this my intent, & this, my intended – a pact I would not put aside. Let us incline to one another.

Reader, let us speak from abundance. What is vulnerable must have potential & what varies exceeds all assessment.

I am saying this to you – uncertainty comes unbidden, as the migration of certain birds.

Reader, do not misunderstand the context of this uncertainty. Consider migration as a model of collaboration – the only appropriate response to scarcity.

Reader, to speak is to admit uncertainty, so let us hew to what is necessary, to what is vulnerable. Reader, let us go down to the water – for there is knowledge in these needs.


The eye's a snare for the world - a collaboration with Nicole Pietrantoni

22" x 15"

Monoprint with bleach, salt, and graphite on laser cut paper and burnt wood.

Text from the poem [What has been resolved?] by Devon Wootten.



Were this perpetual / or were this remote… // were this, or this, & this unimportant.