Brian Blanchfield

(1973 - Present)

Poet and educator Brian Blanchfield was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and raised in the central Piedmont region of North Carolina and Virginia. He earned his BA from the University of North Carolina and his MFA from Warren Wilson College.

Blanchfield is the author of two poetry books, Not Even Then (University of California Press, 2004) and A Several World (Nightboat Books, 2014). A Several World won the 2014 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and was longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry. In 2016, Blanchfield published Proxies: A Memoir in Twenty-Four Attempts (Nightboat Books), a collection of essays he describes as “part cultural close reading, part dicey autobiography.” Proxies won a 2016 Whiting Award in Nonfiction and was named a finalist for both the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Memoir and the PEN USA Literary Award in Nonfiction, as well as being chosen as a Book of the Year by critics writing for Publishers Weekly, Tin House, BOMB, HTML Giant, The Portland Mercury, and The New Statesman. Blanchfield has also authored a poetry chapbook, The History of Ideas, 1973-2012 (Spork Press, 2013), and a prose chapbook, Correction. (Essay Press, 2016).

The recipient of a 2015–16 Howard Foundation Fellowship, Blanchfield is a former poetry editor of Fence and editor for Farrar, Straus & Giroux. From 2015 to 2017, he created and hosted the biweekly poetry-and-music program Speedway and Swan on KXCI Community Radio in Tucson, Arizona. His writing has appeared in publications including Best American Essays 2022, American Poets in the 21st Century, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Chicago Review, BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, Bookforum, The Paris Review, Brick, Conjunctions, Tin House, A Public Space, and The Oxford American.

Blanchfield has taught creative writing at Pratt Institute, Otis College of Art and Design, Cal Arts, University of Arizona, University of Idaho, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He currently teaches poetry and nonfiction writing at The University of Montana and in the Bennington Writing Seminars. He and his partner, the poet John Myers, live in Missoula, Montana.


More Brian Blanchfield

Text: Read Blanchfield's poem "The City State" and his thoughts on it

Audio: Blanchfield is interviewed on Tin House's podcast, Between the Covers

Text: Read seven poems by Blanchfield at Academy of American Poets


Photo by Matthew Thompson.