sx salon 23

October 2016

Thinking Translation

In our latest issue of sx salon we take a closer look at the question of translating fiction and poetry. In a special section on translation in Small Axe 42 (November 2013), Kaiama L. Glover and Martin Munro foregrounded not only the importance of translation to Caribbean studies but also why the Small Axe Project is uniquely positioned to explore the complexities of translation:

The term’s Latin etymology—“to carry over, bring across”—reminds us of the traveling function of the practice, of its positioning as something of a privileged intermediary between languages and places. Small Axe shares this function: as a Pan-Caribbean enterprise, we are increasingly attentive to the importance of expanding beyond the Anglo-Creole space and to the real challenges that arise as we envision such expansiveness.1

Here, in sx salon 23, we continue this attention to how and why translators “carry over” and “bring across” creative writing from the Caribbean, with four essays in our discussion section “Thinking Translation.” Included are essays by translators Carina del Valle Schorske (on translating work by the Puerto Rican poet Marigloria Palma), Aurturo Desimone (on translating work by Frank Martinus Arion of Curacao), and Kaiama L. Glover (on translating Franketienne’s novel Ready to Burst). Also published in this discussion section is a review essay by Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken, which looks at two recent translations of Haitian novels, including Glover’s. As a whole, the section raises questions of access and finesse as well as the ever-present power dynamics involved in language more generally and in translation specifically.

In our review section we also think translation with Mary Grace Albanese’s review of The Haitian Declaration of Independence: Creation, Context, and Legacy, edited by Julia Gaffield, which raises the question of “collaborative translation.” Other reviews in this issue include Elaine Savory’s review of Caryl Phillips’s novel The Lost Child, Alicia Ellis’s review of Andrea Levy’s collection Six Stories and an Essay, Yomaira Figueroa’s review of two young adult novels—Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older and Show and Prove by Sofia Quintero—and Liana Silva’s review of Vanessa Pérez-Rosario’s Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon.

In Poetry and Prose we provide a selection of poems from Marigloria Palma and Frank Martinus Arion translated by del Valle Schorske and Desimone, respectively. We also publish a new poem by Sassy Ross. Rounding out the issue are our interviews, which include the second half of Hyacinth Simpson’s interview with Nicole Brooks about her Obeah Opera and Marika Preziuso’s conversation with M. NourbeSe Philip.

We hope you enjoy reading.

Kelly Baker Josephs


Table of Contents

Introduction and Table of Contents—Kelly Baker Josephs


A Master of the Craft of Fiction—Elaine Savory
a review of The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips

Haiti on Its Own Terms—Mary Grace Albanese
a review of The Haitian Declaration of Independence: Creation, Context, and Legacy, edited by Julia Gaffield

A Chronicle of Race and Migration—Alicia E. Ellis 
a review of Six Stories and an Essay by Andrea Levy

Afro-Latinxs on the New York Scene—Yomaira C. Figueroa
a review of Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older and Show and Prove by Sofia Quintero

Julia de Burgos, Foremother of a New York Latinx Intellectual Tradition—Liana M. Silva
a review of Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon by Vanessa Pérez-Rosario

Discussion: Thinking Translation

“I Curse Your Tear”: A Translator’s Note—Carina del Valle Schorske

The Divided Dutch Antillean Writer and the Unifying Force of Translation—Arturo Desimone

Reckoning with Impunity—Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken

Haitian Literature and the Insult of Dust: Translating Frankétienne—Kaiama L. Glover


Marigloria Palma, translated by Carina del Valle Schorske

Frank Martinus Arion, translated by Arturo Desimone

Sassy Ross


On Fracturing and Healing the Conventions of Language: A Conversation with M. NourbeSe Philip—Marika Preziuso

A Different Kind of Theater: Onstage with Nicole Brooks’s Obeah Opera, Part II—Hyacinth Simpson


1 Kaiama L. Glover and Martin Munro, “Translating the Caribbean” Small Axe, no. 42 (November 2013): 85. This was the first of two special sections on translation edited by Glover and Munro. The second was published in Small Axe 45 (November 2014).


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