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?
Curtis LeBlanc was born and raised in St. Albert, Alberta. His work has been shortlisted for the Walrus Poetry Prize, received the Readers’ Choice Award in the Arc Poem of the Year Contest, an Honourable Mention in the Margaret Reid Poetry Contest and was twice shortlisted for CV2’s Young Buck Poetry Prize. His writing has appeared in a number of journals including the Malahat Review, CV2, Eighteen Bridges, Prairie Fire, EVENT, Geist and Arc. He is the author of Little Wild (Nightwood Editions, 2018) and the chapbook Good for Nothing (Anstruther Press, 2017). He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and is co-founder and managing editor of Rahila’s Ghost Press. He currently resides in Vancouver, BC, with his wife.
“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. ”
“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 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; intimacy is as easily two breaths mingling inside an air mattress as it is a scratch ticket, cigarillo, honey cruller or bear carcass animated by a makeshift scaffold. 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, as are his yearnings for something soft and tender. Birding thrums with a frequency that yields to the surreal mundanity of the world, yet invites you in with a generosity and wonder that feels true and sincere. ”