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histories and personal experiences, the poems in this collection exact a representation of a young man in conflict with outdated ideals of virility, struggling to redefine himself on his own terms.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 are as powerful and unsettling as they are stark, combining unsentimental imagery of the natural world with first-person commentary, while exploring narratives of boyhood, adolescence and adulthood.
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.
“In lines like “that fire happened / he was twelve / got his leg burnt / that day / he never wore / barefeet in his skates…,” we see the sort of conversation you could imagine the Leblancs having around the kitchen table. This dialectic, impersonal and yet revelatory in its look at hockey culture middle-section and the bond it provides makes this excellent collection all the better. ” Clayton Tomlinson, Broken Pencil, Winter 2019
— Clayton Tomlinson
“. .. these elegiac, conversational poems consistently assemble evocative scenes before the speaker makes a startling, poignant observation or a surprising, brazen assertion. Reading Little Wild is like thumbing through a family album where every photograph, when flipped, is labelled differently than expected. As the book proceeds, one can’t help but be amazed by LeBlanc’s knack for suddenly shifting focus, so that familiar occurrences shine in new and peculiar ways, or chronicled events relay unexpected lessons. ” - Canadian Literature, Reviewed by Neil Surkan, November 14, 2018
— Neil Surkan
“If ever there were a collection of poetry that would interest a young man, this would be it. The poems are stylish yet straightforward, concerning a range of topics familiar with teens… Though it all LeBlanc maintains such a believable stance, it’s impossible not to love him, foibles and all (sneaking beers, believing pronouncements from a Ouija board. ) Street hockey, basketball, an assortment of bad jobs- there are no pretensions here, only a thoughtful look at the real world, full on, amazed. ” - BC Books for BC schools catalogue 2018-19