Recently, I was invited to reflect on my work with sx salon and the Small Axe Project for a special section in Small Axe titled “What Is Journal Work?” The special section celebrates twenty years of the Small Axe Project and the fiftieth issue of the print journal. Preparations for this celebration neatly coincided with five years of publishing sx salon and our recent publication of our twentieth issue (November 2015). Being part of the Small Axe Project and founding, nurturing, and editing sx salon has been a privilege these past five years. To see it grow from an idea to a reality, to have quality submissions coming in steadily, to have grown our editorial board from one to three—all of this has been quietly rewarding, and so I take this opportunity to thank those of you who read and engage with us, who share our issues with friends and virtual social networks, who recommend us to colleagues for submissions. We would not exist without all of you.
In this issue, we present an array of pieces in our discussion section. The first is an eclectic conversation between two editors and friends, Anu Lakhan and Nicholas Laughlin, about the latter’s first collection of poetry, The Strange Years of My Life. We wanted to do something other than a standard review for this poetic debut from Nicholas, whom we are so used to encountering in his other capacities as editor and organizer. Here he speaks to Anu about what poetry can and should do and we include two of the poems from his collection. Following are two articles on re-membering and re-visioning. The first, by Paul Youngquist, compellingly discusses the significance and impact of the filmQueen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, directed by Roy T. Anderson, incorporating a reflection on reactions at the premiere of the film in New York City. Youngquist begins with a question from Burning Spear, “Do you remember the days of slavery?,” and this question of the ever-presence of our Caribbean past reverberates, along with Spear’s words, in Isis Semaj-Hall’s innovative article on dub music and the space it opens up for “cultural memory” and “critical exploration.”
The thread of cultural memory runs through our reviews section as well. We begin with Rebecca Rmdhani’s review of Erna Brodber’s newest novel,Nothing’s Mat, which, in typical Brodber style, weaves together intergenerational familial narratives to reflect the connective tissues of cultural memory. J. Dillon Brown’s review of James Davis’s long-awaited biography of Eric Walrond emphasizes the reasons why this return to Walrond’s contributions to Caribbean culture is still timely. Patricia DeRocher’s dual review of The Queer Caribbean Speaks: Interviews with Writers, Artists, and Activists, by Kofi Omoniyi, and Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination, by Rosamond S. King, queries the significant gaps in cultural Caribbean historiographies that are being addressed with new texts on sexualities such as these two. And Rosa Mirna Sánchez shines a spotlight on yet another gap, that in Caribbean literary studies, in her review of Escritoras dominicanas a la deriva: Marginación, dolor y resistencia / Dominican Women Writers on the Edge: Alienation, Pain, and Resistance, edited by Sintia Molina.
We close with a return to creative work: poetry and prose fiction contributions by Donald Cleary and Monique McIntosh, respectively. We hope you enjoy reading issue 21 of sx salon.
Kelly Baker Josephs
Table of Contents
Introduction and table of contents—Kelly Baker Josephs
Nothing’s Mat, by Erna Brodber—Rebecca Romdhani
Eric Walrond: A Life in the Harlem Renaissance and the Transatlantic Caribbean Tropic Life, by James Davis—J. Dillon Brown
The Queer Caribbean Speaks: Interviews with Writers, Artists, and Activists, by Kofi Omoniyi, and Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination, by Rosamond S. King—Patricia K. DeRocher
Escritoras dominicanas a la deriva: Marginación, dolor y resistencia / Dominican Women Writers on the Edge: Alienation, Pain, and Resistance, edited by Sintia Molina—Rosa Mirna Sánchez
A Strange Conversation: Nicholas Laughlin and Anu Lakhan discuss The Strange Years of My Life—Anu Lakhan
Remembering Queen Nanny—Paul Youngquist
Re-membering Our Caribbean through a Dub Aesthetic—Isis Semaj-Hall