Episode 40: Ryan Stearne interviews Amy LeBlanc
Oct 15, 2022
In this interview, Amy LeBlanc discusses her prose and poetry writings. She focuses on her fascination with horror and botany. She also explores the significance of community for writers in Alberta. Moreover, LeBlanc talks about the importance of embodied women and bringing their bodies back into certain poems. We will also enjoy listening to Leblanc reading some of her poems in this episode.
Ryan Stearne is a PhD student, creative writer, and a research assistant for the TIA House project at the University of Calgary.
Amy LeBlanc is a PhD student in English and creative writing at the University of Calgary. Amy’s debut poetry collection, I know something you don’t know, was published with Gordon Hill Press in 2020 and was long listed for the 2021 ReLit Award and selected as a finalist for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. Her novella, Unlocking, was published by the UCalgary Press in June 2021 and was a finalist for the Trade Fiction Book of the Year through the Book Publishers Association of Alberta. Amy’s next poetry collection, I used to live here, is forthcoming with Gordon Hill Press in spring 2025. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Room, Arc, Canadian Literature, and the Literary Review of Canada among others. Amy is a recipient of the 2020 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award and a Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral Award for her doctoral research into fictional representations of chronic illness and gothic spaces. Amy is a 2022 Killam Laureate.
05:27 Selected Readings from Undead Juliet at the Museum
05:34 Poem “Fish” for Lavinia Fisher
06:58 Poem “Daedalus”
07:44 Poem “Spacial Awareness”
09:16 The undercurrents of horror in LeBlanc’s work, and the interaction between spookiness and beauty.
13:54 Ladybird, Ladybird,
14:22 The recurrent imagery of birds in LeBlanc’s work and the symbolic richness of flight
15:18 Birds’ importance in mythology and fairy tales “Juniper Tree”
16:13 Birdwatching and its influence on imagery
18:00 Unlocking: a novella,
18:46 The symbolism of ominous birds in Unlocking
20:27 A comparison of plant imagery and secrets in Unlocking
22:04 Botanical Gothic vibes and the neighbourhood poisonous plant lady
22:47 (Spoiler-Free) character development and the lavender plant on the mantelpiece at the end
24:09 LeBlanc on loving both poetry and prose, but viewing them as different kinds of access
26:54 Precision and conciseness in prose writing
29:33 Managing two creative practices simultaneously and shifting between prose and poetry
31:25 List poems and the implementation of the same techniques in both prose and poetry writing
33:31 On incorporating the concept and variations of rituals in writing
35:14 On being an Albertan writer and writing in Alberta
36:54 On community, and how secrets would be meaningless if they were occupying a place in community
38:32 On creating Snowton, and making the setting come alive
39:18 Looking at what makes a community work, and how do people negotiate all of the complications
40:14 Filling Station Magazine
40:30 On being in the Calgary Writing Community
43:06 On entering into discourse with other authors in the genre, and how they are a part of community
43:18 Bear by Marian Engel
45:39 Learning from the people who have done this before, and absorbing their wisdom through reading
45:25 On the corporeality of the women in the poems
46:23 Minor Character in Jane Eyre
46:28 Bridget Cleary
46:34 Emily Bronte
46:46 Wuthering Heights
47:29 The importance of embodied women in poems
47:53 Paula Jean Welden
48:35 Mary Webster
49:53 Selected readings from I know something you don’t know
50:00 Poem “Dear Emily”
51:02 Poem “Night Apparition”
51:45 Poem “Letter Enclosed”
TIA House recognizes the generous support of the Canada Research Chairs program and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. We also appreciate the support of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English at the University of Calgary, where our offices are housed, as well as the guidance of Marc Stoeckle at the Taylor Family Digital Library.
TIA House is run by Larissa Lai, Shuyin Yu, Ryan Stearne, Shazia Ramji, Rebecca Geleyn, Mikka Jacobsen, Benjamin Ghan, Amy LeBlanc, Marc Lynch, and Mahmoud Ababneh.
Our Intro/Outro music is Monarch of the Streets by Loyalty Freak Music, accessed from the Free Music Archive.