Proxies: Essays Near Knowing by Brian Blanchfield


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“Cite your sources or don’t. Honoring the tagline of this collection—“permitting shame, error and guilt, myself the single source”—and its conceit—to write essays without referencing sources or citations beyond the self—Blanchfield pioneers a kind of queer joy: inefficiency, the valuing of detours and exploration and nuance over measurable products and epiphanies, the asking of what’s lost when a process is streamlined. If that previous sentence got you jazzed, you’re in for a treat. Proxies is a kind of boundary-pushing autotheory, not unlike Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts or Hilton Als’s White Girls. It’s wordy and intellectually gluttonous. It’s hot, emotional, and poetic. The kind of reading that makes you want to WRITE. My favorites were “On Frottage,” “On Reset,” and “On Peripersonal Space.” Did I also mention that Blanchfield did his undergrad at UNC? Yeah. Fellow poets, gays, & lit nerds: if you haven’t read him, you’re missing out.”

– Mason

Proxies: Essays Near Knowing by Brian Blanchfield