sx salon 27

February 2018

The Brathwaite Effect

In her introduction to Zea Mexican Diary, Sandra Pouchet Paquet writes, “Kamau Brathwaite is foremost among modern Caribbean writers in versatility and scale of influence.” It is the question of the scale of Brathwaite’s influence that this issue of sx salon aims to capture in “The Brathwaite Effect,” a special discussion section that includes interviews with writers about Brathwaite’s impact on the paths their academic and creative works have taken. The conversations with these five poets and scholars—Vladimir Lucien, John Robert Lee, Anthony Joseph, Pamela Mordecai, and Elaine Savory—began in 2016 and were, in true Brathwaitian style, multiply revisited and revised over the past year. It seems timely that we publish this special section now, just after Brathwaite has been awarded the lifetime achievement 2018 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry. Along with four interviews we publish a massive Kamau Brathwaite bibliography, with more than 750 entries, which began as a collaborative researchathon in December 2014.

Brathwaite is also present in our review and poetry sections this issue. Wilfredo J. Burgos Matos reviews Brathwaite’s latest collection of poetry, Liviticus, and Gina Athena Ulysse’s poem, “Ogu’s Sword & Brathwaite’s Pen,” honors his legacy. Also included in this issue are a review by Andre Bagoo of Martín Espada’s poetry collection Vivas to Those Who Have Failed, and a review by Nathan H. Dize of Jacques Stephen Alexis’s posthumously published novel, L’étoile absinthe. In Poetry, we offer new work by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor and Chris Astwood as well as a translation of Monchoachi’s poetry by Chris Monier.

We hope you find this first issue of 2018 enlightening and inspiring.

Kelly Baker Josephs


Table of Contents

Introduction and Table of Contents—Kelly Baker Josephs


His Father’s Disciple—Andre Bagoo
Martín Espada, Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (New York: W. W. Norton, 2016); 96 pages; ISBN 978-0393353952 (paperback)

Taking One Last Breath, Catching One Last Glimpse—Nathan H. Dize
Jacques Stephen Alexis, L’étoile absinthe (Paris: Zulma, 2017) 155 pages; ISBN 978-2843047886 (paperback)

Offerings to Eternity, Longing of Remembrance—Wilfredo J. Burgos Matos
Kamau Brathwaite, Liviticus (Phillipsburg, St. Martin: House of Nehesi, 2017); 30 pages; ISBN 978-09962243239 (paperback)

Discussion—The Brathwaite Effect: Poets and Scholars on the Influence of Kamau Brathwaite

“Kamau’s Children”: John Robert Lee and Vladimir Lucien Discuss the Influence of Kamau Brathwaite

Brathwaitian Engines of Expression: Anthony Joseph on the Influence of Kamau Brathwaite—Kelly Baker Josephs

Poetic Prisms: Pamela Mordecai on the Influence of Kamau Brathwaite—Kelly Baker Josephs

“He Changes Your Imagining”: Elaine Savory on the Influence of Kamau Brathwaite—Kelly Baker Josephs

The Kamau Brathwaite Bibliography—Kelly Baker Josephs and Teanu Reid


Gina Athena Ulysse
Cheryl Boyce-Taylor
Monchoachi, translated by Chris Monier
Chris Astwood



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