I’m thrilled to announce that my first full-length book, Descent, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Please check back soon for more details and ordering information!
In Jennifer LeBlanc’s first full-length collection, imaginatively expansive poems adroitly balance on the cusp of the mythic and the real. Whether writing in forms such as ghazals and pantoums, or working through her material in ekphrastic poems or tightly woven couplets, LeBlanc approaches her subjects from the periphery with quiet intelligence and curiosity. “I like to think God is a small young woman” LeBlanc writes. In another poem she asserts Hades “just needs someone to share hell with.” LeBlanc’s poems reveal a mind alert to the inequities of life, particularly for the many female figures who populate these pages, and the talent to express these challenges with utter and graceful control and span.Julia Lisella, author of Love Song Hiroshima, Terrain and Always
As its title attests, the lucid secrecies that underlie Jennifer LeBlanc’s Descent stem from the Eleusinian Mysteries, initiation rites enacting one of the earliest recorded vegetation myths. Everywhere in LeBlanc’s finely etched poetry, the speakers feel the chill tug of the underworld, even as they respond to the cycle of the seasons and the metaphors for birth, death, and renewal that the turning earth provokes. Formally adroit (there’s a sonnet crown, four variations on the ghazal, a pantoum, a sestina, and some intricate prosodic inventions of the poet’s own), LeBlanc’s symmetries honor recurrence. And yet, readers will find no “irritable reaching after fact and reason” from this poet, who states her manner and matter with disarming candor—“no need to be rational”—as well as with a sly irony tinged with rue: “Hades is clever.”Steven Cramer, author of Goodbye to the Orchard and Clangings