Hello from CAROUSEL HQ: long-standing editor Mark Laliberte here, just putting the final touches on the design of what I realize equates to my 35th consecutive issue of this journal (28 perfect-bound, print issues followed by seven entirely paywall-free online releases) … oh wow, we made it to issue 50! Who would have ever guessed that was possible, and where is the cake? (As we’ve also now crossed the 40-year mark as a committed publisher of new literature & artwork, I suppose some kind of celebration is eventually in order — but to be honest, we’re still thinking at the moment on exactly how to commemorate these milestones without it feeling like taking on additional work, preferring pleasure to duty in this regard … some kind of delightful plan will eventually emerge, I’m sure, so stay tuned.) Looking back at nearly 20 years of sustained editorial energy, it’s impressive to note that every single issue I’ve overseen has served as a carefully curated sampler of the moment, capturing work from across Canada and intermingling it with a healthy sprinkling of creativity from across the globe. We’re distinctly Canadian, sure, but we’ve never been obsessed with policing borders.
The brave editorial warriors who help to make CAROUSEL such an eclectic read (check out our colophon for a listing of our current team!) have struggled through another demonic submission pile, carving out a truly chimeric selection of dream works for you, the reader, to enjoy (we recommend reading all of our online-released issues on an iPad, in the landscape orientation). Included in CAROUSEL 50 are the following mythic creations:
In our Fiction section, we present three exciting new prose works: Glenn Clifton‘s ‘Tap to Refresh‘ offers a strange, hazy and urgent account of time collapsing in the West Kent Mall as a woman looks for her ex-husband after seeing nebulous warnings on Twitter of an active shooter; Emily Pegg‘s ‘Dirt Dead Dulcie’ features a protagonist who’s not really dead at all, and even though her husband keeps killing her, it’s not quite clear whether he wants her dead either; and finally, Arreshy Young‘s ‘The Girls Guide to Ghost Fucking’ is a spoof of self-help books and paranormal investigation shows, as well as an unbridled ride of puns, neologisms and all-brow allusions.
Meanwhile, our Poetry section features a diamond-dusted selection of new writing by nine sparkling talents who are all making their very first appearance in our magazine: Devon Balwit, Abigail Chang, Ori Fienberg, HLR, Amanda Leal, Fawn Parker, Heather Salus, Richard-Yves Sitoski and Nicola Vulpe! We think you will enjoy the range of subjects and approaches offered up in their combined 11 poems.
This issue’s Featured Artists section spotlights several truly unique projects: Jessica Bromley Bartram, who is no stranger to the pages of the journal, offers us a first look at Bones at the Centre of Everything — an in-progress, long-form narrative that collapses fiction, spot illustration and sequential comics into a hybrid narrative space; Lou Beach, acclaimed collage artist, gives us a series of 20 cut-and-paste works, collected together into a portfolio for our virtual pages, that contemplate birds as feature characters; Patrick Jenkins, who has been making short animated films for decades, allows us a rare opportunity to watch one of his films, Phantom City (2015), in its entirety online with no paywall, in celebration of his debut graphic novel, Tales of Phantom City, out this year with At Bay Press.
To compliment the film-watching experience (which we suggest you get to it straight off, as it’s only accessible for a period of a year), do check out our Conversations section, where I interview Jenkins about his unexpected success at marketing flipbooks, his time-intensive paint-on-glass animation practice and his recent move into long form comics.
As always, the closing part of this issue is dedicated to compiling traditional, experimental or concentrated capsule Reviews posted in recent months on our social media feeds as part of our weekly USEREVIEW column; this section offers readers who prefer to take in a bunch of reviews in one sitting (or contemplate book culture in wide view) a perfect way to enjoy more than a dozen insightful reviews from the ongoing review column — featuring the critical talents of Taylor Brown, Kate Finegan, Hollay Ghadery, Daniel Hinds, Sneha Subramanian Kanta, Mark Laliberte (yes, I somehow found the time to tackle a review!), Annick Macaskill, Marcie McCauley, John Nyman, Michael Russell and our tireless section editor, Jade Wallace (who really wishes there were more time in life for naps).
We sincerely hope you enjoy this landmark CAROUSEL 50 — as always, we encourage you to let your friends know about your favourite works from the issue by sharing/spotlighting them to social media today!
Mark Laliberte is a Canadian artist, writer, editor and graphic designer — and the publisher of Popnoir Editions (est. 2016) which occasionally publishes art books, comics, zines and other creative ephemera. 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, whose first full-length manuscript, ZZOO has been acquired by Palimpsest Press (forthcoming, spring 2025). More info: @originobscure (Insta) + ma-de.ca