One might miss, in the exquisitely shapely poems of Brian Blanchfield’s second collection, A Several World, how frequently the poems’ brash dazzle gives way to wit. In the book’s second poem, “The City State,” for instance, one might still be reeling from the invocation of an expansive shopping list (“bone buttons, stronger cord or—what / more did you need?—hard rolls, then fish and flowers in / descending sectors”) when we get this quick exchange:
Remember answering machines? The gods,
be they pleased, of whichever specific needs, accommodating
singly. Barnaby, after the tone, this is the guy from the grove.
Peaches are in. Snap beans (ping in the bowl.). Good surprises
if you hike up into the higher coppices with me in mind.