Proxies : Essays Near Knowing
Past compunction, expressly unbeholden, these twenty-four single-subject essays train focus on a startling miscellany of topics --Foot Washing, Dossiers, Br'er Rabbit, Housesitting, Man Roulette, the Locus Amoenus--that begin to unpack the essayist himself and his life's rotating concerns: sex and sexuality, poetry and poetics, subject positions in American labor (not excluding academia), and his upbringing in working-class, Primitive Baptist, central-piedmont North Carolina.
- Paperback | 200 pages
- 140 x 216 x 17.78mm | 272.16g
- 19 May 2016
- Nightboat Books
- New York, United States
Awards: 2016 Whiting Award in Nonfiction Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Memoir and the Finalist for the PEN USA Literary Award in Nonfiction Review Quotes: "A collection of idiosyncratic, candid, devastating essays...it's the most brilliant book I've read in years. Anyone who has been amazed (and rightly so) by Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts should read this book posthaste."--Garth Greenwell, The Guardian "The quiet but searing vulnerability in Brian Blanchfield's writing is as wide and trembling as the wingspan of his otherness. He writes with a beguiling sagaciousness that made me bow my head so many times that I lost count. These are essays about honesty and the revelation of self in which shame and guilt are dissected and anything extraneous scrubbed away. Each sentence is a live wire. Diverse, maybe mismatched styles, genres and topics accrue to great and moving effect, a profound whole made from an unlikely assemblage of parts. He appears to be forging a new genre before your very eyes."--2016 Whiting Award Judges' Citation "Proxies: Essays Near Knowing brings a slowed-to-meaning lens to the remembered moments of a life. Blanchfield's readers wander into his ordinary-extraordinary quotidian the vulnerable longing of a singular voice expressing a peopled intelligence. Not since Hilton Als' White Girls have I read anything as interrogative, unsettling, and brilliant."--Claudia Rankine "Into what some are calling a new golden age of creative nonfiction lands Brian Blanchfield's PROXIES, which singlehandedly raises the bar for what's possible in the field. This is a momentous work informed by a lifetime of thinking, reading, loving, and reckoning, utterly matchless in its erudition, its precision, its range, its daring, and its grace. I know of no book like it, nor any recent book as thoroughly good, in art or in heart."--Maggie Nelson
About Brian Blanchfield
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 the National Book Award. His book of essays, Proxies: Essays Near Knowing, was published in April 2016. Recent essays and poems have appeared in Harper's, BOMB, Guernica, The Nation, Chicago Review, The Brooklyn Rail, A Public Space, The Paris Review, and The Awl. He has taught as core faculty in the graduate writing programs of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and at the University of Montana, Missoula, where he was the 2008 Richard Hugo Visiting Poet. A 2016 Whiting Award winner, he lives with his partner John in Moscow, ID, where he is as an assistant professor of English at the University of Idaho.