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An introductory note from carte blanche’s new editor!

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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.

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“It will be interesting to see what happens if enough of the current general feeling of disgust turns to anger” — an interview with Alex Good

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“The problem is that we’re living in a moment of cultural contraction and I don’t think there’s much we can do about that. That might seem like a strange thing to say given the billions of words and images published on the Internet every day, but my sense is that the Internet isn’t helping but is actually making things worse.”

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CanLit: It’s Time for the “No Contact” Rule

GwenBenaway

Being asked to write about the status of Canadian Literature feels very similar to when an ex lover asks you out for coffee. You know nothing good will come from it and can anticipate the entire conversation, but you still show up looking cute and hoping that therapy has finally fixed them. At least, that’s how talking about Canadian Literature feels to me. I’ve been there, had the group therapy, learned to love myself for myself, and have deleted CanLit’s contact information from my phone.

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“It’s Dangerous to Get Caught up in Anything Besides the Work”: an Interview with Matthew Forsythe

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Matthew Forsythe has worked as an animator, a children’s book illustrator, and a graphic novelist. He has two books coming out in the near future. The Gold Leaf (Enchanted Lion Books) with Kirsten Hall is out on May 26th. The Bad Mood & The Stick (Little Brown) with Lemony Snicket will be in stores this fall.

Brad de Roo caught up by phone with Matthew just as he arrived in his hometown of Port Colborne for a library talk. They chatted about teaching, comics, visual culture, narrative structure, work, and the improbability of artistic satisfaction.

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“To Write, or Not to Write, about the People You Know?”

Deborah M. Ostrovsky

Last summer I pitched a small essay to carte blanche because I wanted to write about an out-of-print novel that I had discovered several years before. The author has long since passed away, and the book itself has been all but forgotten: with the exception, perhaps, of a handful of people, most of whom are outside of the literary community and who were interested in the life of the writer, who was a scientist. The novel received lukewarm reviews following its publication in the 1960s. After a small print run, it seems to have disappeared altogether, besides a handful of copies from online used bookstores, and one I found in a book saleroom tucked behind a torn Atlas and a Baby-Sitters Club boxed set.

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Among the Fugitives: An Interview with Stephen Henighan

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Stephen Henighan is a novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Guelph. Most recently, he was written the novels The Path of the Jaguar (Thistledown Press, 2016) and Mr. Singh Among the Fugitives (Linda Leith Publishing), which is available on March 25. Brad de Roo chatted with Stephen about multiculturalism, literary nepotism, satire, Victorianism, performativity, and cultural appropriation.

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carte blanche is looking for a new editor

Owl

carte blanche, founded in 2004, is the official online magazine of the Quebec Writers’ Federation. We are celebrating over 12 years of promoting poetry, creative nonfiction, comics, translation, photography, fiction, and literary commentary from Quebec, Canada, and around the world.

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Why I loved editing a small Canadian online magazine, and why I’m leaving

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I am shortly going to be leaving the team in my official capacity as editor. I do so with mixed feelings. Once upon a time, I honestly felt I could tackle any amount of work that was thrown at me. The days seemed elastic. I could stretch them at either end, conjuring up just enough minutes or hours to always get things done. But I don’t feel that way anymore. I am trying to figure out how big each relative part of me is, and how to accommodate them all within a finite body.

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An Interview with Tom Smart about Palookaville and the World of Graphic Novelist Seth

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“One of the reasons I find Seth and his contemporaries’ works so interesting is because it and they ask the reader to use a very different rubric when they are experiencing – reading – the art. For me, the critical debates in the visual arts seemed to dead end when the voices of anti-skilling, self-reference demanded that analysis always trumped emotion and humanity when confronting a work of art to determine significance. For me, there was always a whiff of intolerance toward visual art that explored humanity as a wide-spectrum project.”

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Reading and writing: just a means of escape from the anxiety-inducing present?

Mordor

The first job I ever had in the Montreal region was at a company called Bath Fitter, aka Bain Magique, up beyond Laval in a town called Saint Eustache. As I listened to the explanation of the pension benefits that I was entitled to, a repeat of conversations I’d had with prior employers in Edmonton, it dawned on me: I’ve never cared about this conversation, I still don’t care, and I actually feel it’s OK to not care, because I have very little faith that, by the time my retirement rolls around, the world that we know – mortgages, insurance plans, “financial security” etc. – will exist.

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