A Several World



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Additional information

Weight .3 lbs
Dimensions 6 × .2 × 8.5 in

Winner of the 2014 James Laughlin Award
Longlist Finalist for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry

As in the title phrase—borrowed from a 17th century poem by Robert Herrick—in which “several” is used to individuate, questions of singularity and the plural, of subjectivity and the collective, pervade this dream-quick poetry. In A Several World there are glimpses of an “us down here”—in a city state, in a valley town, in an open clearing, in the understory—and, by various projections, there is frequent attainment of an aerial vantage, a supervisory perspective. The wish to be out of the weeds, to imagine one can see the thing in whole, and, conversely, the wish to be overseen, even to be overlooked, further animate the poetic shuttling between late pastoral and conceptual project. Landscape here is spatial theater and, blowing through like new weather, a choreography recruits certain standalone selves: solidarity beginning in an erotics of attunement, catching likenesses. “Pick me up can also be as frequency and antennae do.”


In Brian Blanchfield’s poetry, ideas, as in his sequence ‘The History of Ideas,’ are constantly crystallizing into words and even letters—”in the gravel was planted some grass/ in sprigs. Sort of Garamond, ornamental, it/ rounded down”—which, in turn, dissolve into thought. The oneness of our physical and spiritual life has rarely been conveyed more accurately. Blanchfield is a talent to watch.

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ISBN: 978-1-937658-17-5
paperback, 112 pages, 6 x 8 3/4 in
Publication Date: 2014

One might miss, in the exquisitely shapely poems of Brian Blanchfield’s second collection, A Several World, how frequently the poems’ brash dazzle gives way to wit… [Or] one might miss, appreciating its humor, the book’s stylized (and appealingly stylish) intelligence, through which its poems can turn on linguistic
self-consciousness…and gentle reorientations of genre.

“One’s apprehensive / approach can be determinative,” Blanchfield observes, which could serve as an articulation of [his] process, as could his triumphantly deliberate description of a tortoise pulling herself toward a strawberry. One should be glad to be a tortoise to the strawberry of A Several World.


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Brian Blanchfield is the author of two books of poetry, Not Even Then and A Several World, which received the 2014 James Laughlin Award and was a longlist finalist for …

More about Brian Blanchfield