Greetings, readers, and welcome to issue 41 of carte blanche! I am substituting for Greg Santos, the Editor-in-Chief of carte blanche, for this issue—we and the whole masthead are so proud of the pieces we are publishing this month. The theme for issue 41 is “Resilience,” a topic that has been on many of our minds for the past year.
Last summer, we began a series on our blog titled “Resilience: Resistance” featuring BIPOC creators and what these themes mean in their lives. The result, curated by Avleen K Mokha was incredible, and as we celebrate the end of the series, we wanted to honour it with this issue’s theme.
Resilience resonates differently with each of our contributors and their works; it will likely for you as well. We hope that you join us in diving into these pieces of pain and joy, anguish and aspiration, as we each reflect on our histories, our futures, and our resilience.
Resilience for Elliot, the young boy with vitiligo in Louise Hinton’s translation of the children’s fiction “The Cloud Shoveller” (originally Simon Boulerice’s “Le pelleteur des nuages” published by La courte échelle), means finding a new perspective on his own skin. Nicholas Karavatos’s photographic suite “An Interzone (Chapter One)” brings us through another perspective—the checkpoints and striking iconography of the City of David in Palestine. Jessi Eoin’s comic “New Garden” shows us that the world can change radically under disability, and that such change is not finite as perspectives shift and grow.
Play with form features heavily in this issue across genres—E. Hiroko Isomura’s cento “A JC cento, or why does silence become a shard?” roots itself in intertexts to connect various models of resilience. The fragmented “Three Poems from My Epic,” translated by Alex Niemi from Vincent Tholomé, jars us with its staccato reflection of the psychological impact of nuclear incident, whereas Fawn Parker’s short fiction “A Great Artist Has Passed” forgoes dialogue punctuation and commas to ebb us through the interlocutors’ inquiring Toronto commute.
Community as resilience is the source of mystery and intrigue in Brooke Lockyer’s fiction “Husbands of Lake Joseph,” where “small, secret violence” spirals into more. The collaboration between writer Mugabi Byenkya and comic artist Paul Bourgeois in “Married Myself” sheds light on the complexities and intersections involved in a Black man’s marriage.
Counter to community, introspection is resilience for the speaker of Rachel Lee’s prose poem “An Eternity of Cupcakes.” The narrators of Noa Padawer-Blatt’s “Tricks” and Joanne Gormley’s “Bring Her Back” tackle complicated family relationships and self-examination simultaneously. Brandon Kashani’s “If the Word Tastes Like Bourbon” is part history, part short fiction as we meet characters small and large. In Gabrielle Vachon’s “Mc,” a speaker reflects on their health via the production of a McDonald’s Happy Meal: “Small chicken nuggets made of plastic and entrails are no different from / the way I always nodded my head when doctors asked me questions.”
Nature, too, is a rich repository for instances of resilience. Journeys into forest life bring us to Willy Conley’s series of photographs “Mushrooms,” which finds the human in the nonhuman, and Alexandra Tamiko Da Dalt’s nonfiction “Komorebi,” which guides us up Mount Moiwa while the narrator reflects on her relationship with Japan: “Everything glows, warm, as the light streams down on me from above. This light casts itself over my face as I move, slowly, step by step.” Sophia Elan’s nonfiction “Float” and two poems by Marcy Rae Henry reflect on the damage that resilient nature can inflict on humans. In turn, Sarain Soonias’s “Ei Yesiw Awasis (Thunder Child)” reckons with histories of colonial violence: “but the buffalo are gone now / who is in the pen / there is a tall fat man / who laughs loudly above them all.”
During the production of “Resilience” we were excited to welcome Francine Yulo, our new comics editor, and Poonam Dhir, who is our Fresh Pages mentee this year for creative nonfiction. Two of our section editors are, however, stepping down during the next issue cycle: Jenny Ferguson (creative nonfiction) and Kasia Van Schaik (fiction). Please join us in applauding their wonderful work over the years!
Enjoy what is left of spring, everyone—and have a delightful summer as we begin to emerge from restrictions on meetings and travels. We hope to see you soon!