I spent December and most of January in South Africa, working on this brand new issue 32 of carte blanche from afar and with the kind support of the team who held editorial meetings via Skype. More to the point, though, my time in Cape Town put me directly in touch with the extremities and potential crises of climate—currently, there is a major drought threatening “solutions” such as depopulating the city when water reserves leak down to rock bottom by mid-March.
Relevantly, authors in issue 32 relate to an ecological consciousness through literature. “My mouth develops its very own microclimate,” writes Madhur Anand in her poem “Love Numbers.” Through language, she directs a discussion of the responsibility of humanity living on this planet through the mouth, the primal organ of language, navigating an ecological consciousness onto the page.
To name just a few items from this issue’s strong table of contents: Aaron Boothby’s long poem “(Tempest)” is an organic growth of text, seething, pulsing, raging, and gasping like the ocean. Continuing with the ocean, Joni Murphy’s “The Sea Exists”—a song couched in fiction—creates an interconnected microcosm of sympathy between all living organisms, chanting facts poetically. Lucy Cant’s story “Cars” offers a covert tiger in the backseat of a car on a spin through the terrors of the big city. Michel Hellman’s comic “The Boarding Pass” places old receipts in conversation with each other, recycling the tears in bits of paper waste into smiles; yet again, mouths talking. In conversation with Erin Robinsong, she discusses the wondrous practice of radical empathy with one’s surroundings, writing in conversation with a tree, “writing about it, reading to it, letting it edit [her] work, asking it questions … One of the most profound experiences of editing and also of empathy,” she asserts.
Beyond this point, I’ll let the work in issue 32 speak for itself. But that work asks of its readers to think critically, consciously, beauteously; to engage with the texts and to engage with the world; to read and then to live, to change the way we live; to offer a “new green coinciding with old green” in our lives (Anand).
— Klara du Plessis, Editor-in-Chief