sx salon 12

May 2013

Capturing Mont Pelée

Our spring issue of sx salon features a discussion of the volcanic eruption of Mont Pelée in Martinique. This discussion, guest-curated by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, considers the literature, images, and rhetoric surrounding the 1902 eruption and makes connections to other Caribbean natural and manmade disasters. Featuring essays by Elaine Savory, Kevin Meehan, Paulette Richards, Ivette Romero, and Paravisini-Gebert, this discussion of Mont Pelée is inspired in part by the three-year Visual Life of Catastrophic History project in progress in the pages of Small Axe (see “The Visual Life of Catastrophic History: A Small Axe Project Statement” in Small Axe 34 [March 2011] for a full description of the project). Here the discussants consider both the visual and literary life (perhaps even lives?) of Mont Pelée before and after 1902.

This melding of media carries over into our poetry section this issue with Kamau Brathwaite’s “Human Nature.” Brathwaite’s poem, written in his signature Sycorax Video Style, speaks to a video recording of Miles Davis performing Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” Here Brathwaite’s end note is as key to his message as the verses of the poem, giving readers insight as to how he reads the linked YouTube clip of Davis’s performance. This issue also features poetry by Xavier Navarro, Richard Georges, and Simone Leid. And in our interview section, Elaine Savory returns as the focus of our third interview in a series of conversations with female scholars of Caribbean literature, conducted by Sheryl Gifford.

As we move into summer 2013, we offer reviews of two collections and one novel you may be inspired to add to your summer reading list. Nadia Ellis reviews last summer’s popular anthology Kingston Noir; Annie Paul reviews Diana McCauley’s second novel, Huracan, an excerpt of which was published last year in sx salon 8 and sx salon 9; and Edward Baugh reviews the genre-defying anthology of Wayne Brown’s writings, published posthumously by Peepal Tree Press.

Happy reading!

Kelly Baker Josephs

Table of Contents

Introduction and Table of Contents—Kelly Baker Josephs

Kingston Noir, edited by Colin Channer—Nadia Ellis
Huracan, by Diana McCaulay—Annie Paul
The Scent of the Past: Stories and Remembrances, by Wayne Brown—Edward Baugh

Discussion—Capturing Mont Pelée
Mourning the Dead of St. Pierre in the Yellow Press—Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert
Memory, Trauma, and Natural Disaster: Jean Rhys’s “Heat” and Lafcardio Hearn’s Two Years in the French West Indies—Elaine Savory
Manmade Disasters: Viewing Mt. Pelée after Katrina and the Haiti Earthquake—Kevin Meehan and Paulette Richards
Images of St. Pierre: Before and After—Ivette Romero

Kamau Brathwaite

Richard Georges
Simone Leid
Xavier Navarro

“Pushing the Boundaries”: A Conversation with Elaine Savory—Sheryl Gifford


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