Published on Academy of American Poets (

Edge of Water, Portage Bay, Washington


Standalone heron borrowing a pylon in Portage Bay

            accounts payable

according in quarter turns her head by the dial

of her beak to motion under current

                                        until certain. One of seven.


But the night began later.

Even after the soaring bridge hid

the assignation, the dark water passing darker

though. A grade higher, inland, on the return path

the tedium of midges lifted that hung about

kissing level.

Like we left the guild victorious.


From A Several World (Nightboat Books, 2014). Copyright @ 2014 Brian Blanchfield. Reprinted by permission of Nightboat Books.


Brian Blanchfield

Brian Blanchfield was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1973, and raised in the central Piedmont. He earned a BA from the University of North Carolina and an MFA from Warren Wilson College.

Blanchfield is the author of A Several World (Nightboat Books, 2014), which received the 2014 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, given to recognize a superior second book of poetry by an American poet.

He is also the author of Not Even Then (University of California Press, 2004). His collection of essays, Onesheets, is forthcoming from Nightboat Books in 2015.

Laughlin Award judge C. S. Giscombe wrote about Blanchfield’s winning book:

Robert Herrick wrote, “Here we are all, by day; by night we’re hurl’d / By dreams, each one into a several world.”  Where Herrick’s several is implicitly separate, Brian Blanchfield’s book examines and contests commonality. That is, A Several World unsettles the world—all and several alike—by reading its associations and memberships and public languages with an unnerving exactingness. And, for all that, it’s a very finely-ranging travelogue, though not in the usual senses: “Consider the milieu durance,” Blanchfield invites as the book sets sail and then responds, in the next line, to his own invitation—“Way out there now.”

About A Several World, John Ashbery wrote, “The oneness of our physical and spiritual life has rarely been conveyed more accurately.”

Blanchfield has worked in the editorial department of Farrar, Straus and Giroux and has taught at Pratt Institute of Art, Otis College of Art and Design, and the University of Montana, where he was the 2008–2009 Richard Hugo Writer in Residence. He is a poetry editor of Fence and teaches poetry and nonfiction writing in the Honors College at the University of Arizona. He lives in Tucson.



A Several World (Nightboat Books, 2014)

Not Even Then (University of California Press, 2004)


Onesheets (Nightboat Books, 2015)

Date Published: 2014-03-15

Source URL: