USEREVIEW 035 (Capsule): I Know Something You Don’t Know
I Know Something You Don’t Know (Gordon Hill Press, 2020)
ISBN 978-1-928171-97-3 | 100 pp | $20.00 CAD
The poems of Amy LeBlanc’s debut poetry collection, I Know Something You Don’t Know, are as morally elusive as the best and grimmest old fairy tales, but also as narratively destabilized as we’ve come to expect contemporary poetry to be. Danger lurks in the empty spaces between every stanza break, but these poems offer no false apothecarial promises of remedy. Images appear and reappear, turning to motif — olives, bells, the space between hips — though their significances remain obscure, flitting between coincidence and meaning, between ominousness and familiarity. Gordon Hill Press consistently makes well-crafted books, and this is no exception. The paper has heft. Tresses of drawn hair curl across the blackened pages that demarcate section breaks. It’s a fine medium for an author who is obviously equally attentive to the precision of her craft. Keep an eye out for LeBlanc’s second book — a novella, Unlocking — slated for publication in June 2021.
Even just reading the evocative title of LeBlanc’s poem ‘The Brief Reincarnation of Mary Webster on the Amtrak from Boston to New York’ will tell you a lot about her work — this is fanciful and deadly alchemical deflagration. Real history (Mary Webster was an alleged witch who survived an attempted lynching in the 17th-century), contemporary poetry (see: Sue Goyette’s imaginary-historical poetry collection Brief Reincarnation of a Girl), and mundane misogyny are mixed in a crucible until they’re ready to go off like gunpowder.