Search more than 3,000 biographies of contemporary and classic poets.

Adrian Blevins

Adrian Blevins received a BA from Virginia Intermont College in 1986, an MA in fiction from Hollins University in 1990, and an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College in 2002.

She is the author of Appalachians Run Amok (Two Sylvias Press), winner of the Wilder Series Book Prize and forthcoming in 2018; Live from the Homesick Jamboree (Wesleyan University Press, 2009); and The Brass Girl Brouhaha (Ausable Press, 2003), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. 

Of her work, Linda Gregerson writes, “Edgy, double-timing, favoring the feint and swerve, she plays the momentums of slang and syntax, run-on and compression for all they’re worth.”

With Karen McElmurray, Blevins edited Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia (Ohio University Press, 2015). The recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award, she teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.


Live from the Homesick Jamboree (Wesleyan University Press, 2009)
The Brass Girl Brouhaha (Ausable Press, 2003)

By This Poet


Hey You

Back when my head like an egg in a nest  
was vowel-keen and dawdling, I shed my slick beautiful 
and put it in a basket and laid it barefaced at the river 
among the taxing rocks. My beautiful was all hush 
and glitter. It was too moist to grasp. My beautiful 
had no tongue with which to lick—no discernable 
wallowing gnaw. It was really a breed of destruction 
like a nick in a knife. It was a notch in the works 
or a wound like a bell in a fat iron mess. My beautiful 
was a drink too sopping to haul up and swig!
Therefore with the trees watching and the beavers abiding 
I tossed my beautiful down at the waterway against 
the screwball rocks. Even then there was no hum.  
My beautiful was never ill-bred enough, no matter what 
you say. If you want my blue yes everlasting, try my 
she, instead. Try the why not of my low down, 
Sugar, my windswept and wrecked.

Dear Mothers of America

As for living to the side of yourself like a pile of rice
                        in the vicinity of the fish (as for being an eye-self
                                    hanging above a body-self

content with separating cowboy stuff
                        from G.I. Joe stuff from Batman boxer shorts):
                                    yeah, I’ve been there, I know what you mean,

don’t get me started.  There were, in fact,
                        ten rooms in one house. 
                                    And dust and a couch and dirt and lamps. 

I was thus the body of the two hands
                        and the body of the feet
                                    becoming somehow

the body primarily of the mouth
                        demanding bleach.  It’s not that I was
                                    pitiful.  It was more like:

who else would eradicate
                        this rotten scattering of skin flakes
                                    and hair and spiders

and such?  Who else would swab the spit? 
                        So sure it was wholesome at the river
                                    when I was a new mom

but creepy is the point
                        to live for the wiping of boots
                                    and the soaking of jackets
with my mouth open and my poor tongue sticking out
                        like I was hoping to comprehend
                                    what was wrong

with being mostly as I say
                        just the eye part of something
                                    soaking in the grimy particles

while all the other girls went on being actual girls
                        and I’m sorry to have to say this
                                    since I know it’s upsetting
but that’s the way it was; I appreciate your asking
                        come again real soon
                                    be careful watch your step.

Status Report

            I love-love-loved the alphabet
back when I could use it to go OMG & WTF

vis-à-vis some shady late capitalist wrongdoing
such as the rich & famous floating off the continent

in the most flagrant of boats, leaving just
the youngsters & me here on the prairie

to keep everything intact with just this sugar on the mantle
in its charismatic tin.  But then the youngsters

got up from the knitting circle & put down their seedcakes
& other organic whatsits, saying OMG & WTF to me

as in in reference to me like what I had on was not just
the dress, the feeling unfortunately was, but also

a shawl as in a cloak as in a stole as in a shroud. 
That’s when I finally knew what animals

youngsters just naturally are.  What piles of tractor parts. 
What fishheads in a sink!  So now I’m using my Rosetta Stone

to examine the language of rhinos for the impenetrable skin
& the language of axes for the battle for when our foes return

to knock down our pretty little door. & here
I just wanted to sit out the rest of my days

with my sweeties by the hearth & talk the talk to hold at bay
whatever apocalyptic thing’s got our number as in our address

as in the extent to which we were born to fight moneyed reprobates
with just our lingo as in our candidness & cheeky verbal fluidity

if that’s what you want to call running out the clock on the ends of things
            in an old lonesome song like this.