As the global pandemic continues—more acute, and more egregiously mishandled, in some locations than others—I can only say that I am experiencing a profound exhaustion, and I imagine many of sx salon’s readers are as well. It is beyond me to behave in a business-as-usual manner even for the duration of this introduction, and I am not going to try. Instead I will invite you, our readers, to consider whether all the forces—political cynicism, a profit-over-people orientation, scientific illiteracy and denialism, individualism run amok, and white supremacy—that underpin catastrophically failed pandemic responses in some places are also responsible for creating the climate crisis to which the Caribbean is particularly vulnerable; the record-breaking 2020 hurricane season is yet another data point indicating the acceleration of that crisis. If COVID-19 is a harbinger of our climate resilience or lack thereof, the challenges that lie before us are daunting, to say the very least.
But my role as editor affords me the comfort of turning my attention from these disheartening prospects to the richness of Caribbean intellectual and cultural work—wherein lies, I believe, a source of resilience. In this issue, sx salon is pleased to present Andil Gosine on the work of Wendy Nanan, whose self-titled solo exhibition at the Art Museum of the Americas has been postponed because of the pandemic; Ronald Cummings on the 2019 film Shella Record: A Reggae Mystery, which documents a Canadian filmmaker’s search for the story of Jamaican singer Sheila Rickards; Kelly Baker Josephs on the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Savacou and how we might consider the afterlives of journals, their “futures in our presents”; and finally, Ren Ellis Neyra on blackness, brownness, and the ethics of conscripting the former into the semiotic construction of the latter.
Our robust reviews section comprises, first, Karina Vernon’s review of Kaie Kellough’s poetry collection Magnetic Equator, Canadian winner of the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize. Plus Cornel Bogle’s review of Lorna Goodison’s Redemption Ground: Essays and Adventures; Rupert Lewis’s review of Orlando Patterson’s The Confounding Island: Jamaica and the Postcolonial Predicament; Sebastian C. Galbo’s review of Aaron Kamugisha’s Beyond Coloniality: Citizenship and Freedom in the Caribbean Intellectual Tradition; Edna Bonhomme’s review of Jeb Sprague’s Globalizing the Caribbean: Political Economy, Social Change, and the Transnational Capitalist Class; and Natalie Catasús’s review of Brian Russell Roberts and Michelle Ann Stephens’s collection Archipelagic American Studies.
We also bring you new Caribbean creative writing: poems by Vladimir Lucien and John Robert Lee and a short story by Kirk V. Bhajan. Enjoy, and stay safe.
Rachel L. Mordecai
Table of Contents
Introduction—Rachel L. Mordecai
“A Reckoning with the Prairies”—Karina Vernon
Review of Kaie Kellough, Magnetic Equator (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2019)
“Redemption Is the Key”—Cornel Bogle
Review of Lorna Goodison, Redemption Ground: Essays and Adventures (Brighton, UK: Myriad, 2018)
“Sisyphean and Confounding”—Rupert Lewis
Review of Orlando Patterson, The Confounding Island: Jamaica and the Postcolonial Predicament (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019)
“Reviving Political Energy after the Grenada Revolution”—Sebastian C. Galbo
Review of Aaron Kamugisha, Beyond Coloniality: Citizenship and Freedom in the Caribbean Intellectual Tradition (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019)
“The Making of an Unequal Caribbean”—Edna Bonhomme
Review of Jeb Sprague, Globalizing the Caribbean: Political Economy, Social Change, and the Transnational Capitalist Class (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2019)
“The Archipelagic in Action”—Natalie Catasús
Review of Brian Russell Roberts and Michelle Ann Stephens, eds., Archipelagic American Studies (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017)
“Searching for Shella”—Ronald Cummings
“Where Do Journals Go? Savacou, Fifty Years Later”—Kelly Baker Josephs
“The Question of Ethics in the Semiotics of Brownness” —Ren Ellis Neyra
Poetry & Prose