Our Faculty

Brian Blanchfield

Associate Professor


LA 215
Office Hours

Wednesdays 2pm to 4:30pm, or by appointment.


Personal Summary

Brian Blanchfield is the author of three books of poetry and prose—Not Even Then, A Several World, and (most recent) Proxies: Essays Near Knowing, for which he received a 2016 Whiting Award in Nonfiction. The collection—part cultural close reading, part dicey autobiography—was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Memoir and named the Book of the Year by critics writing for Publishers Weekly, Tin House, BOMB, HTML Giant, The Portland Mercury, and The New Statesman. A Several World was a longlist finalist for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry and winner of that year’s Academy of American Poets’ James Laughlin Award. His other honors include a Howard Foundation Fellowship, the Richard Hugo Visiting Professorship, and an Idaho Arts Council Fellowship.

His work has appeared in Best American Essays 2022 (ed. Alexander Chee) American Poets in the 21st Century (eds. Michael Dowdy & Claudia Rankine), The Oxford American, The Paris Review, The Nation, Brick, Conjunctions, The Brooklyn Rail, Bookforum, The New York Times Book Review, A Public Space, and Chicago Review, among other publications.

Formerly lead poetry editor of Fence and founder/host of the poetry radio show Speedway and Swan on KXCI Tucson, he has taught creative writing at The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, The University of Idaho, Cal Arts, Otis College of Art and Design, and Pratt Institute of Art, and is core faculty at The Bennington Writing Seminars. He and his partner, John, make their home in Missoula, where he is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Montana.

Courses Taught

Poetry Workshops: Intermdiate, Advanced, and Graduate levels

Poetry Techniques and Special Topics courses

Nonfiction Workshops: Intermediate, Advanced, and Graduate levels

Nonfiction Techniques Studio

Queer Literature

Tradtions of the Essay

Life Writing

Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics

Teaching Experience

To me, a creative writing classroom is like its counterpart in fine arts: a studio in which we learn by doing, familiarize ourselves firsthand with the properties of our medium, and honor in one another the experimentation that artistic development requires.  At more advanced levels, I enjoy helping student poets build from individual poems to series, chapbooks, and full collections.  My guiding objective in any workshop is that a writer should feel their next essay or poem is more possible, not less.  I teach several modes of nonfiction writing, but I celebrate that in its oldest and now in its very newest traditions the essay is a space for thinking rather than knowing, that even narrative nonfiction—be it lifewriting or other sorts of account—is most charged when it can operate as both story and study.