As summer 2021 draws to a close, I’m happy to finally be introducing the latest issue of CAROUSEL to the world. Let’s put a time-stamp to this: as you all know, we’re just entering the 4th wave of the mighty morphin’ power pandemic, after a 3rd and a 2nd each kept us naively hoping for the best possible outcome, a quick return to the old days of unmasked safety. Alas, not yet to be. Which means the entirety of this issue was curated, organized and edited from inside various Ontario home-offices: we made it happen, despite. Thanks to all the members of our editorial team for their flexibility and generousity of spirit … you did a great job of adapting our workflow to the zoom-and-chat world of the moment. Similarly, I’d also like to thank all the creators appearing in this issue, who were both patient and easy to collaborate with — your important writings & artworks are at the centre of our efforts, and make this all worth doing. Even in a pandemic!
This issue’s cover and accompanying art portfolio highlight the work of Canadian artist Amy Friend, whose radiant photographic practice shimmers with surface explorations and introspective wanderings. We’ve been aware of Friend’s cleverly experimental approach to image-making for a long while, watching her body of work develop from afar … it’s a wonderful thing to finally be featuring a selection of her images in our pages.
On the fiction front, we present four new works: Shaelin Bishop‘s ‘Elise Holding a Deer Mouse, 1829’ is a story about sapphic longing set against the backdrop of a series of imaginary, enigmatic oil paintings; Dawn Lo‘s ‘Mother Sings a Song’ brings to life a moving mother-daughter drama amid the awkward, earnest glamour of a high school talent show; Thaddeus Rutkowski‘s ‘Lampblack’ is as brief and bright as the flicker of the kerosene lamp at its crux; and, Isabelle Teo‘s ‘Just Like Her,’ begins with a dog death but morphs into something surprisingly subtle and funny.
We also offer up a diverse selection of new poetry, chosen from hundreds of submissions received at the journal in the last six months; this issue features: Courtney Bates-Hardy, Kate Cayley (who we noticed was just longlisted for the 2021 Mitchell Prize, big congrats), Annick MacAskill, Jessi MacEachern, Mickey Mahan, Carol Harvey Steski, Bronwen Tate, Carl Watts and the enigmatic, mononymous Yvonne. Additionally, there are a few special treats we’d like to highlight: be sure to check out Gregory Betts visual poetry portfolio; and, the collaboratively written poems authored by the team of Natasha Kessler & Adam Day (writers take note: we hope to see more collaborative works appearing in our pages in the near future, please do submit). As you peruse the entire section, you’ll notice that for the first time, we are including recorded readings of many of the poems in the issue — an intimate way of re-experiencing each poem in the voice of its author once you’ve read it over in your own unique way.
In our Conversations section, Elee Kraljii Gardiner interviews Nigerian writer Haruna Solomon — the first of a six-part special series of conversations Gardiner is conducting with writers about the overlap between their work and their coffee (or tea) drinking rituals! If you like the format of this conversation, be sure to check in for other installments coming soon to our blog.
The remainder of the issue formally collects content already posted elsewhere on the web in recent months: this issue’s CHAIN section (our ongoing experiment with, and exploration of, the idea of response poetry — a sequence of individual poems where each new poem is connected to the one that came before it but also different enough to stand on its own AND lead somewhere new) compiles poems #5-8 from the series: as you read the works of Jeremy Colangelo, Natalie Wilkinson, Graeme Bezanson and Chris Tompkins individually and in sequence, be sure to contemplate their connective tissue. Perhaps you’ll have something to say in response to our latest? The chain continues …
We take a similar approach to publishing our USEREVIEW column: every Wednesday, a new review appears in our social media feeds (it could be a traditional literary review, an experimental review or a concentrated capsule review), but for those who prefer to take in a bunch of reviews in one sitting, in this issue, you’ll be able to read and enjoy reviews #013-29.
Both CHAIN and USEREVIEW are projects designed to bridge the gap between our formal issues, which only appear two or three times a year. Our approach as a journal is to offer our readership several ways into works: if you’re an active reader of our site and blog, you’ll likely run into the individual posts as they go up from week to week, month to month. If, however, you’re the kind of reader that only wants to check in when a major release happens, their inclusion within the pages of each collection allows you to take it all in in one go!
Before we close off this issue, I need to say a word about our absent INDIGENOUS + AFROFUTURISMS section (guest curated by Molly Cross-Blanchard & Terese Mason Pierre), which we originally scheduled to include here in C45. In the end, we had a stellar level of response to the themed call, which grew from a planned section into a much larger body of captivating work — to deal with this treasure trove and to give it all the space it deserves, we decided to give the themed work its own issue! Therefore, coming soon: CAROUSEL 46 — a special issue devoted to INDIGENOUS + AFROFUTURISMS — will be released in a month’s time, at the end of September.
That’s it — CAROUSEL 45, paywall-free for everyone, is officially out in the world! Please enjoy this new issue, and keep it circulating by sharing your favourite works — or the entire issue — with others on social media.
Mark Laliberte is a Canadian artist, writer, editor and graphic designer — and the publisher of Popnoir Editions (est. 2016) which publishes art books, comics, zines and other creative ephemera. Recent personal books include: BRICKBRICKBRICK (BookThug), Grey Supreme 01 (Koyama Press), asemanticasymmetry (Anstruther Press), BookBook (above/ground) and Explosive Comic (Swimmers Group). Laliberte is also a member of the collaborative writing entity, MA|DE, and their latest chapbook is A Trip to the ZZOO (Collusion Books). More info: marklaliberte.com + ma-de.ca