Catching Up with Diane LeBlanc

Where can we read some of your recent work?

My 2017 chapbook, This Space for Message, is available from Seven Kitchens Press. This collection is my love letter to Wyoming, which I left in 2000. More recent poems and essays appear in Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Mid-American Review, Minerva Rising, Ruminate, and Sweet Lit .

What are you reading right now? 

I recently finished Margaret Renkl’s Late Migrations (Milkweed 2019). These essays navigate ecosystems as intimate as family and Renkl’s backyard to the larger stories and environments that Renkl inhabits because she grew up in Alabama in the second half of the 20th century. Some essays are narrative and others are lyric shorts. Collages by Billy Renkl more than illustrate; they listen and speak to each essay through plants, birds, and a random roller skate. The book conjures a world that I carried with me when I wasn’t reading and dared to enter and re-enter with Renkl as my guide. 

I’m now finding refuge in Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Copper Canyon Press 2018). The reach of Oceanic into history, art, science is both public and deeply personal. Risk and danger lurk, but the speaker in these poems wades into real water and the more figurative dark depths of parenting. Faith is the antidote to fear and loss, as in “Upon Hearing the News You Buried Our Dog,” which begins, “I have faith in the single glossy capsule of a butterfly egg./I have faith in the way a wasp nest is never quiet/and never wants to be.” The more I read these poems, the more I have faith in poetry that is likewise “never quiet.” 

What’s next for you?

I’m honored that F. Daniel Rzicznek, co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetryselected “Possum” as winner of Mid-American Review’s 2019 Fineline Competition. “Suddenly You are Alone” was a finalist, and both poems are forthcoming in Mid-American Review


Diane LeBlanc is a writer, teacher, and book artist with roots in Vermont, Wyoming, and Minnesota. She directs the writing program and teaches at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. More updates and images of new artist’s books are available at dianeleblancwriter.com


Diane’s poems “What Made Her Foreign” and “from The Dictionary of Spools” appear in issue 2:1 of Tinderbox.