Reading: Courtney LeBlanc

I found the name Courtney LeBlanc continually showing up in journals I was reading. Eventually, it became a signal for submission: a journal who published her was one I wanted to be in. When I saw she’d published a chapbook with Bottlecap Press, I had to check it out because I love the press’s vibe and their “primary goal of emphasizing the alarmingly, frustratingly, artistically human.” Her book fits perfectly in their catalog.

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All in the Family (Bottlecap Press, 2016)All in the Family

Structure: The chapbook is divided into three sections (Mother, Father, and Sister) and ends with a final separate poem.

Feelings while reading: Recognition. As in a knock down, I-know-what-you-did-last-summer, I’ve-got-pictures-to-prove-it familiarity. Checking out her website, I learned she grew up in the Midwest — was it down the road from me? Because I feel like I’ve been in the house of the family this book describes (whether it’s LeBlanc’s actual family, I do not know, but in many ways, the poems’ honesty make their reality irrelevant). As I read, I wanted to cry and smile and cry and hide in the corner and cry and rage. When I’d finished, I mainly reminisced (and cried a little).

Favorite poems: Mother, I Am, Siamese Sister

Favorite lines: “I find a piece of bone / not eaten by the flames. / I curl my fingers around it / I carry my father with me / as I walk away.” (Whole)

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Final Thought: Check out this book and look forward (as I do) to her next chapbook, The Violence Within, out this year from Flutter Press.

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