sx salon 1

October 2010

a small axe literary platform

"The miracle of Small Axe, if I may be permitted to call it that, has very much to do with its willing proximity – its candid openness – to the problem of beginnings."  David Scott

Welcome to the first issue of sx salon: a small axe literary platform.  This section of the Small Axe Project’s website is dedicated to literary discussions, interviews of Caribbean literary figures, reviews of new publications (creative and scholarly) related to the Caribbean, and short fiction and poetry by emerging and established Caribbean writers.

As editor David Scott notes above, Small Axe is no stranger to beginnings; but sx salon represents both a new project and a continuation of our ongoing affirmation of the literary as a critical component of Caribbean cultural production. We envision this space as an open source, easily accessible, online resource for students, teachers and scholars as well as a forum for academics in the field to consult for announcements related to Caribbean literary studies.

sx salon will publish a new issue every two months.  In this first issue, we tackle two constant concerns in Caribbean literature: history and language.  The interviews, with cultural critics and writers alike, touch on ideas of not so much what language to use, but how to use the languages created in this New World to express the experience of living here. Conversations with Rex Nettleford and Carolyn Cooper focus on Jamaican English, while the conversations with Lasana Sekou and Achy Obejas consider the polyglossia of St. Martin and Cuban-American Spanglish respectively. The two reviews of novels address the second issue: history.  Marlon James and Andrea Levy present us with neo-slave narratives that imagine, or re-imagine, histories and horrors of pre-emancipation plantation life. The two reviews address the problematics of form and language in narrating these histories. 

Also included in this issue is a review of Chris Bongie’s Friends and Enemies, hinging on questions of methodology in criticism, and Jane Bryce’s extended review of Mark McWatt’s Journey to Le Repentir.  As part of the forum component of sx salon, we will include discussion pieces in each issue; we invite you to comment on Bryce’s keynote.

The Small Axe Literary Competition, launched last year, will also be a part of sx salon.  The judges have completed their evaluation of the 2010 entries and we’re happy to announce the winners of this year’s competition:

  • In the Short Fiction category, first place went to Stephen Narain and second place to Andrea Shaw.

  • In the Poetry category, first place went to Lauren Alleyne and second place to Ishion Hutchinson.

For more information on the judges and winners for the 2010 and 2009 Small Axe Literary competitions, and for details on submission to the 2011 competition, please visit our Literary Competition page.

We welcome Andrea Shaw, Associate Professor at Nova Southeastern University and one of the winners of the 2010 Small Axe Literary Competition, to the Small Axe Project as associate managing editor of the “Poetry & Prose” section of sx salon.  This section will launch in February 2011. 

Included below is the table of contents for this first issue of sx salon.  We invite you to join us in this new venture by reading, commenting, sharing, and submitting articles, essays, short stories and poetry.

Kelly Baker Josephs


Table of Contents

Introduction and Table of Contents—Kelly Baker Josephs


The Book of Night Women, by Marlon James—Suzanne Hopcroft
Long Song, by Andrea Levy—Reanna Ursin
Friends and Enemies, by Chris Bongie—Raphael Dalleo

Discussion article

Poems of Penitence and Pilgrimage—Jane Bryce


Rex Nettleford on Louise Bennett’s Jamaica Talk—Katherine Verhagen Rodis
An Insight into Jamaican Music: Interview with Carolyn Cooper—Jeremie Kroubo Dagnini
“The Polyglot Pride of St. Martin”: An Interview with Lasana M. Sekou—Sara Florian
Interview with Achy Obejas—Marika Preziuso


Related Articles