Debut novel, SUNSETTER, forthcoming from ECW in March 2023
A fast-paced literary thriller that peels back the layers of small-town police corruption, drugs, and teen disillusionment to expose unlikely heroes and unexpected villains.
When two teens, Dallan and Hannah, attend the opening night of the infamous Sunsetter rodeo, they find themselves entangled in the suspicious deaths of their two closest loved ones. Driven by loss, rage, and their gut instincts for justice, they channel their grief and confusion into uncovering the criminal truth about their small town of Perron, a prairie community that has been long deserted by industry, leaving a ghostly emptiness of abandoned gravel pits, golf courses, and storefronts.
Equal parts crime novel and literary fiction, Sunsetter is an unflinching story about the opioid crisis, teen isolation, police brutality, and the fickleness of late-stage capitalism.
“The action moves slowly at first, but builds to an explosive conclusion. LeBlanc’s doomed young people put a human face on the horrendous impact of the drug crisis.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Suspenseful and narratively surprising, LeBlanc uses sharp prose to tell a story of friendship, revenge, and reclaiming agency amidst corruption and unjust systems. Sunsetter illustrates the violence, racism, and toxic masculinity found in rural prairie towns that have been developed by industry, as well as the beauty of the bonds between the people who have to survive there. Sunsetter paints the prairies in all its complex strokes, and with every twist and turn, we are reminded that courage often lives in the under-recognized.”
— Jessica Johns, author of Bad Cree
“Sunsetter is a blast of fast-paced literary fiction, tumbled up with some great characters and a searching generosity for all those left-behind towns and their left-behind people. I read this book so fast, the pages nearly couldn’t keep up.”
— Michael Christie, author of Greenwood
Birding in the Glass Age of Isolation explores the experience and greater social implications of mental illness, specifically OCD and Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder. It asks the questions: How does anxiety inform both how we act and how we interpret those actions afterwards? How does the fear of retribution from one’s own mind lead to miscalculations or total inaction? Finally, how is one’s self-worth effaced in the balancing act between trying to do the right thing and doing nothing at all?
“In Birding in the Glass Age of Isolation, Curtis LeBlanc re-wilds the strict parameters, lapsed debates and mundane landscapes that govern our fickle lives. “[B]arrel pointed to the sky,” he casts a keen gaze on the off-kilter, often violent, waltz of the everyday. These poems eviscerate as they exhale.”
“As the title Birding in the Glass Age of Isolation suggests, Curtis LeBlanc’s poems are part narrative, part reverie, and all mood and atmosphere. With great nuance and specificity, LeBlanc whips up the detritus of the everyday into something vivid and kinetic. These poems generate friction from their varied textures, rumble with the threat of violence, and remind us that having a body can feel like an exposed nerve in bad weather. I deeply admire LeBlanc’s continued engagement with tenors of class and masculinity, his “Pygmalion / sculpture of boyhood hunger,” which is complex and necessary.
“Loneliness is everywhere but in the poems of young men. This is why it’s so exciting to see loneliness centered in work as sophisticated as Curtis LeBlanc’s. His second book: at times claustrophobic, flippant, shell-shocked, and rueful, is native to loneliness and fluent in its speech. ”
—Jacob McArthur Mooney
Little Wild explores the performance of masculinity in contemporary Canada, with a focus on how toxic masculinity relates to mental health, aggression, substance abuse and crises of identity. Through the reimagining of family histories and personal experiences, the poems in this collection exact a representation of a young man in conflict with outdated ideals of virility, struggling to redefine himself on his own terms. Little Wild is a provocative and revealing portrayal of masculinity as it is understood—and misunderstood—in a contemporary and ever-changing context.
“The poems in Little Wild—unflinching, beautifully built—investigate the myths of masculinity, which instruct men to ‘forget each other and be alone.’ The poems follow the author from the kettle lakes of his childhood to the Pacific bordering his adulthood, as he engages with family and friends struggling with isolation and addiction. Curtis LeBlanc transforms memory into music, music into language that testifies. Little Wild is a timely and striking debut.”
—Eduardo C. Corral
“In a literary world saturated with irony and irreverence, Curtis LeBlanc dares to be earnest and openhearted with his reader. His voice balances youthful energy with whiskey-eyed wisdom—delivering a refreshing wonder deepened by perceptive frankness. Set in the oil, hockey and the gothic farm-world of northern Alberta, this book investigates its citizens—their jobs and relationships—and its relentless landscape. These poems drill deep, and firmly plant LeBlanc among other tender masters of the everyday, like Philip Levine, Jack Gilbert and Matthew Dickman.”
“What makes these poems lift above the ordinary are the masterfully rendered details that reveal deeper complexities: moral, emotional, and human. The poems do more than recollect—they reckon with what’s at stake in even the most fleeting moments of a young man’s life.”