sx salon 43

June 2023

General Issue

This general issue of sx salon comes together during the hottest July, in terms of average global temperature, on record. This is not an issue focused on climate crisis or ecocriticism—just a rich collection of ideas, interventions, and creations reflecting the plenitude of contemporary Caribbean literary and intellectual production. But everything that happens now, anywhere, happens against the backdrop of the climate emergency, and this is all the more true for the Caribbean—largely composed as it is of Small Island Developing States whose geographic, climatological, and economic circumstances exacerbate their vulnerability to climate shocks. I have no prescriptions to offer (although I encourage you to seek out whatever action seems practicable to you in your circumstances), but I could find no way to preface the culmination of so much effort by so many of us who love, work on, and live in the Caribbean without taking note of the gravity of the current moment.

Our discussion section opens with Matthew Smith’s poignant and incisive essay on grief both personal and historical, taking in his experience of the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the death of his mother, and the psychic toll of the Covid-19 pandemic. The essay is followed by Rojo Robles’s reading of poems from the 2015 anthology Sucede que yo soy América (It Occurs to Me That I Am America), in which he traces the “poetic decolonization” enacted by Puerto Rican poets through their translations and reworkings of Allen Ginsberg’s “America.”1 Next—and continuing our engagement with Puerto Rico—is Essah Cozett Díaz’s interview with novelist and educator Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa, in which the two discuss mothering, spirituality, creativity, and grappling with painful histories. Then Amandla Thomas-Johnson offers a thoughtful discussion of the impact, both contemporaneous and enduring, of the Black British publication Race Today, which ran from 1974 to 1988, through engaging a 2019 collection of the magazine’s issues. Directing the reader’s attention to our current moment as the essay closes, Thomas-Johnson notes, “Debates about political Blackness—its relevance and its composition—will most likely continue ad infinitum. But for Race Today, Blackness was always political.” Finally—lingering in Black Britain—Kelly Baker Josephs presents an interview with the Trinidad-born musician, poet, and novelist Anthony Joseph. Circulating around the themes of “mourning, memory, and masculinity,” the two discuss Joseph’s 2022 collection Sonnets for Albert, winner of the 2022 T. S. Eliot Prize and the 2023 OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry.

In our reviews section, Andre Bagoo reviews Kevin Jared Hosein’s recent novel Hungry Ghosts; Elaine Savory reviews a recent volume on Jean Rhys by Sue Thomas, Jean Rhys’s Modernist Bearings and Experimental Aesthetics; and Suzanne Scafe reviews Denise Noble’s monograph Decolonizing and Feminizing Freedom: A Caribbean Genealogy. Lindsay Griffiths Brown’s review of Lorgia García Peña’s Translating Blackness: Latinx Colonialities in Global Perspective rounds out the section. Our creative section offers new poems by Marianela Medrano and Keisha-Gaye Anderson and short fiction from Amanda Haynes.

A final, sad note: while this issue was in production, Trinidadian author Michael Anthony—known across the Caribbean for such influential titles as The Games Were Coming (1963), Green Days by the River (1967) and many more—died at his home in Port of Spain, aged 93. We join the Caribbean community in grieving his loss and celebrating his long life devoted to Caribbean literature, culture, and history.

Enjoy, be well, and let us know what you think:

Rachel L. Mordecai


Table of Contents


Antinomies and Subjectivity in Kevin Jared Hosein’s Hungry Ghosts”—Andre Bagoo
Review of Kevin Jared Hosein, Hungry Ghosts (London: Bloomsbury, 2023)

Jean Rhys, Under the Surface and Beyond the Erasures”—Elaine Savory 
Review of Sue Thomas, Jean Rhys’s Modernist Bearings and Experimental Aesthetics (London: Bloomsbury, 2022)

Everyday Freedoms”—Suzanne Scafe
Review of Denise Noble, Decolonizing and Feminizing Freedom: A Caribbean Genealogy (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)

Unbelonging and the Language of Black Latinx Resistance”—Lindsay Griffiths Brown
Review of Lorgia García Peña, Translating Blackness: Latinx Colonialities in Global Perspective (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2022)


20/10” —Matthew J. Smith

“‘América, ¿por qué tus bibliotecas tienen goteras?’: fluidez de la identidad puertorriqueña en Sucede que yo soy América”—Rojo Robles

África en mi ser: An Interview with Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa”—Essah Cozett Díaz

Remembering Race Today and a History of Radical Publishing in Britain”—Amandla Thomas-Johnson

The Fallibility of Memory: A Conversation with Anthony Joseph”—Kelly Baker Josephs

Poetry & Prose

Poems—Marianela Medrano

“The Stands”—fiction by Amanda Haynes

Poems—Keisha-Gaye Anderson

[1] Robles’s essay is entirely in Spanish but is prefaced by an abstract in English.