As a rule when writing, I avoid the obvious in the first line, but today the excitement is impatient and uncontainable: I am so very pleased and honoured to accept the editorship of carte blanche, to work with the fantastic current masthead, to sustain and refine an established journal that publishes pivotal contemporary voices—George Elliott Clarke, Madeleine Thien, Heather O’Neill, Gwen Benaway, Kayla Czaga, Domenica Martinello, Meags Fitzgerald, among many others—and to engage as a community of writers and artists centered in Montreal and spiraling out throughout Quebec, Canada, and North America.
carte blanche means complete freedom, a literal blank page, an expanse of possibility for new writing and art. It implies an inclusionary model of critical thinking through creativity. The intention is to open up, to flower, to accept, to provide a forum for literature that reaches beyond preconceptions and allows for collective independence within the craft of (primarily) English-language poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, translation, comics, photography, and a synthesis of these.
The name carte blanche seems particularly relevant to me in the current climate of calling the status quo of CanLit into question, and rightfully so. [boundaries / borders / boredoms] carte blanche inherently embraces a model of resistance that, instead of imposing a barrier and pushing away, invites a new, auto-generated literary agreement—the freedom for each individual to assert their own literature, to articulate concerns and approaches and ways of being through words and images. This is a model that energizes me, and I aim to invest in it with time and drive, creating opportunities for others, and contributing to the production of a poised, apposite publication that arrests its readership.
As the new editor of carte blanche I commit to nurturing a sense of generosity in literary publishing; to publishing, promoting, and supporting a range of original writing and artwork from a diversity of authors and artists; to offering visibility and professional opportunities to both new and prominent writers. In concrete terms, I will collaborate with carte blanche’s section editors to curate three consistently excellent issues annually of literature and visual art; to expand the à la carte blog as a critical counterpart to the poetry, fiction, and graphic work in the issues proper; to follow up on and discuss themes, movements, concerns within the Canadian and international literary worlds; to enter carte blanche into dialogue with external literary projects developing throughout Canada—like new small presses and chapbook publications, reading series, contests—and to celebrate each new issue of carte blanche with a launch event and public reading, to foster a sense of community and belonging within the Montreal home base.
I look forward to working with you as a community of writers, artists, readers, and friends. Thank you for your curiosity and attention as carte blanche composes the forthcoming Fall issue scheduled for October 2017. Please be in touch with thoughts, pitches, contributions, and just to say hi!
Klara du Plessis is a Montreal-based poet, critic, and editor. Her chapbook, Wax Lyrical — shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award—was released from Anstruther Press, 2015; and a debut collection, Ekke, is forthcoming from Palimpsest Press, 2018. Poems have recently appeared in Asymptote, Canthius, CV2, LRC, PRISM, among others. She curates the Resonance Reading Series; writes reviews and essays for The Montreal Review of Books and The Rusty Toque; and is now the editor of carte blanche.