This collection takes the reader on a journey through the injustices women face - in their careers, their daily lives, in the way they walk to their cars late at night; to smashing the patriarchy and claiming their rights over their bodies and their ideas; to a love better left remembered; to eventually finding a balance with a love that stands up and fights beside the poet.
Courtney LeBlanc's Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart understands that the body "is a war / zone," especially, the female body, which LeBlanc explores through the lens of fairy tales, the story of Eve, her own journey through girlhood, womanhood, destruction, rebirth, and self-discovery. Each word in each poem is as necessary and life-giving as a heartbeat.
Shaindel Beers, author of Secure Your Own Mask, Finalist for the Oregon Book Award
In her latest collection, Courtney LeBlanc bravely and fiercely examines the burdens women carry, the societal pressures, the cultural expectations: "the heavy world / digging into our shoulders and slumping our backs." In many of her poems, she takes back agency - that others tried to take away - and never lets us forget the pluck that endures: "ready to bite" and "guns ablaze" and "I'm read / to burn" and "This body / is a weapon." This collection is one that never flinches from hard truths, always insist on strength by revealing vulnerability, and even in its exploration of our human darkness, offers flames of hope.
Shuly Xóchitl Cawood, author of Trouble Can Be So Beautiful at the Beginning
Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart traces the path from snake to survival to highlight the complex and often conflicted experiences of womanhood. LeBlanc's voice, both skillfully intimate and starkly blunt, speaks in blood, beauty and burden to show the many hungers and rips in the framework of femininity. With a close examination of the body, from vibrators to "belly gowls," this collection asks us to consider the dichotomy of punishment and pleasure. "I did not have a map to the body" LeBlanc writes and allows this collection to be its own cartography, a new country of strength where every woman can [grow] the fruit. [Be] the vine and the rain and the light. [Be] the dirt." This book is an anthem of urging and unlearning, reminding women to "be the key to her own opening, her becoming."
Kelly Grace Thomas, author of Boat Burned