mapping the new: a mini-review of Dandelion Magazine

What a pleasure to open this, the latest issue of the University of Calgary-based Dandelion Magazine dedicated to “mapping.” The editors Dana Avasilichioaei and Kathleen Brown haven’t just produced a special issue which draws together “varied art practitioners from North America and Europe whose work in languages, visual arts, architecture, environmental design, cultural production, sound and moving images investigates mapping as concept and as action.” They have done this – but they’ve also done much more by producing a special issue that is – and should be – visually arresting, from front to back cover.

This is a literary magazine that has attended to the nuances of color, design, typography – a true rarity in the literary world. More, the editors didn’t follow the theme of the issue with literal exactitude – they included innovative and visually-oriented (whether of the book or of the digital) writers such as Derek Beaulieu, Sarah Cullen, Erin Mouré, and Stephanie Strickland alongside writers new to me (such as Kristian Carlsson and Elizabeth Whalley) as well as writers such as George Bowering who I would not have immediately thought of in relation to an engagement with mapping. What this issue gives us, then, is a wide-reaching and thorough thinking-through of the poetics of a map, of mapping as a visual, oral, and tactile activity that records the contours of land as much as the hand, the hand itself that records.