Brian Blanchfield reads "Edge of Water, Moiese, Montana"

View all films

Brian Blanchfield reads "Edge of Water, Moiese, Montana"

Brian Blanchfield’s poem “Edge of Water, Moiese, Montana,” performed by the poet. “Edge of Water, Moiese, Montana” is the twelfth and final film in Above Strands of Earth: Adrian Brinkerhoff Poetry Foundation at Tippet Rise, a film series produced in collaboration with and the Academy of American Poets.

Directed by Matthew Thompson and shot at Tippet Rise Art Center.

Edge of Water, Moiese, Montana

Just this dry mix
of whitening pink and mauve and blue bean
powdered over cache, which becomes beneath
the least lick of the Jocko River
market radish red and cobalt, and some stand
half in bath—
To outlast alone the doubt one is alone, or
acclimate to a decency, differ in temperature
from the big and little stones in the scree decreasingly,
and search for a place to build a spine.

The phrase for it, catch myself, is fugitive
even. About Moiese the dry first fact
of a scarab, a white one specked in the chalk rock
whose antennae, nearly fabric, are data-fond
and then the woozy look again downriver
an hour on: moose maybe, opposite
and large enough, a legend at the water table
filling the green shade brown. Too, about
Moiese, to spot her, or anything, is a decision.

Put that third. Make a rule. Edges of water
are promise places. Lie back bare and
there is a cable pulling your next thought
to the sun. Rake your face cheek to jaw
with broken mica, and the moth traffic
triples at your back. Is that a fact?

Brian Blanchfield

Photo by Matthew Thompson

Brian Blanchfield

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.