Self-Portrait as a Thunderstorm

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I met Courtney LeBlanc one January when I returned to Queens University to see some of my peers graduate from our MFA program in creative writing. Courtney was a new student in the master’s program, and we chatted a bit.

The second time I saw her was a few months later, in May, when I returned again to see a couple more friends graduate from the program. That visit was when Courtney and I solidified our friendship. We sat out on the terrace of the hotel where everyone was staying, and we talked about families and youth, marriage and poetry as the sun sank into the sky.

Not many people link the word badass with poet, but when I think of Courtney LeBlanc, those are the two words that unite.

She’s a fierce writer, constantly honing her craft, cranking out poems even when my pages lie fallow for days, writing unapologetically about tender topics, and standing, fearless, with the stories in her poems.

Here are some of my favorite LeBlanc lines (taken from “We’re Told to Smile,” published in Rogue Agent): "because this is what women do: we smile/through the insults, through the well I thought/you wouldn’t mind, through the paraphrasing/of what we just said because clearly it makes/more sense coming from a deeper voice."

A creativity advocate in all the best senses, Courtney constantly champions other writers' work that she loves, that has moved her or inspired her, that she couldn’t put down. (If you want to follow her on Twitter, her handle is @WordPerv). 

Today, I want to champion Courtney. This poem (originally published in Queen of Cups) is from her latest collection, The Violence Within, which you can find on her website (along with her other books) or on amazon.

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And here is her poem being read out loud on the Magic City Poetry YouTube channel, founded by Robert McCready. Listen, listen, listen!

Thank you, Courtney LeBlanc, for all you do.

You can find Courtney LeBlanc's website here

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