Professor of English
MA, Fiction, Hollins University, 1990.
BA, English, Virginia Intermont College, 1986.
Areas of Expertise
- Writing Poems, Writing Essays, American Prose Style
- Contemporary American Poetry
- Teaching Creative Writing
- Southern Literature
Courses Currently Teaching
|EN279 A||Poetry Writing I|
|EN379 A||Poetry Writing II: Studies in Voice|
Other Courses Taught
|Great Writers Sentence By Sentence|
"What did Dickinson say? That she knew it was poetry if she felt as if the top of her head were taken off? If that’s the standard, then hell yes this is poetry, and this is poetry that has lopped off my whole head and jammed me back into where and who I’m from. Blevins has found the sweet spot, building narratives that riff, stories that sing in the voice of the most combustible, lowdown country song sung by a “punk rock of a country heart.” Her subjects are Appalachian girlhood, love, death, and motherhood, in which infants smell “like not-death—like the earliest of the early yield—like kale and collards, maybe,”—not necessarily in that order. She story-sings of places where the water is “fat with the pee foam of cattle,” where people “live up a sidewinder the sidewinding likes of which only the dead can drive,” where the speaker remembers herself as “a teenage fugitive in a teenage redneck’s redneck truck,” Frank O’Hara and Ferlinghetti in her purse, “not needlepoint,” “never Einstein.” Death, for Blevins, is “blah,” but this poetry, cascading forward via a zillion ampersands run amok and a hilarious, provocative grief, is blah’s badass antidote."
“Wildness of spirit seems to have evaporated from American poetry of late, thinned by the turpentine of earnestness and scolding. Or maybe it all just flowed downriver into the soulful ocean named Adrian Blevins. This book has all the speed, longing, sweetness, cruelty, and sorrow of time passing (as it most surely does) through the body, anybody’s body. The intelligence of the body doing the speaking here is both ferocious and generous, self-aware in the most forgiving ways—its power feeds off a deep humility in the face of the awesome daily facts. It moves me, it really does. It is also often funny as hell.”
"When you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a book of poems this alive, everything you say about it feels like an understatement. Yes, Appalachians Run Amok is utterly original, wild yet tight, feisty, vibrant, combustible. Yes, it’s bursting with keen-eyed tenderness and unshushable attitude. Yes, the poems’ startling emotional intelligence blends with myriad other intelligences (e.g. maternal, earthy, topical, humane, etc.) to create this voice, “all hot and giddy.” A proud daughter of Appalachia, Blevins gifts us with vivid glimpses of where she came of age. Reading her beautiful, linguistically limber, cascading descriptions is like shooting the rapids with an expert river rider at the helm."
"Adrian Blevins’ Appalachians Run Amok tells mountain secrets—not the ones you’d think. Comical, frank, worried but not worried about it, and always in trouble, they roar up out of the gorge in swimsuits they like, letter jackets, and a fast kind of poem that can hang onto anything, including babies small as “two empty toilet paper tubes you glue together into a bazooka to blow at the cosmos through.” This book is smart and wise and also lots of fun."
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