This double issue of sx salon features essays on the work of Dionne Brand in a special discussion section edited by Ronald Cummings, whose elegant and erudite introduction makes superfluous anything I would say here. We intended for this issue to coincide with the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Brand’s A Map to the Door of No Return, which first appeared in 2001—but pandemic time had its way with us, an experience with which I expect our readers are also familiar. However, the impact of Brand’s work is timeless, and we hope you will enjoy the reflections on it presented here, rounded out by a fragment from Brand’s forthcoming long poem Nomenclature for the Time Being.
This issue’s reviews section is especially rich as to genre, with reviews of memoir, fiction, and essays, as well as of Caribbean studies scholarship: Nadine Attewell’s review of memoirs by Sonja Boon and Tessa McWatt precedes Randi Gray Kristensen reviewing short fiction by Anton Nimblett. Nikhita Obeegadoo and Amanda González Izquierdo offer reviews of scholarly works by Valérie Loichot and Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez, respectively. The section closes with Carole Boyce Davies’s review of a collection of Andaiye’s selected work, edited by Alissa Trotz.
And, as always, we bring you new Caribbean creative writing: poems by Brenton Cross and Catherine-Esther Cowie, and fiction by Kris Singh.
In this season in which it seems everything is either changing much too fast (the climate) or not at all (the pandemic), it is a bittersweet pleasure to announce a change of more manageable proportions here at sx salon. This is the last issue for which the wonderful Rosamond S. King serves as our creative editor, a position she has held since sx salon 25 in June 2017. The combination of energy, vision, and ethical commitment with which Rosamond has curated our poetry and prose section has been an inspiration to witness and a pleasure to work with; we will never be able to thank her enough. I take this opportunity to also welcome poet, writer, translator, and academic Danielle Legros Georges to the editorial team as our new creative editor. Danielle’s books of poetry include Maroon (Curbstone, 2001), The Dear Remote Nearness of You (Barrow Street, 2016), and Letters from Congo (Central Square, 2017); her most recent release, Island Heart (Subpress, 2021), is a translation of the poetry of Ida Flaubert. Danielle served as poet laureate of Boston from 2015 to 2019 and currently teaches creative writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We wish Rosamond the best of everything as she takes on new challenges, and we are delighted that Danielle has agreed to join us.
We hope you enjoy this latest issue, and please stay safe.
Rachel L. Mordecai
“Written in Skin”—Nadine Attewell
Review of Sonja Boon, What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2019); and Tessa McWatt, Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging (Toronto: Random House Canada, 2019)
“Anton Nimblett’s Tough and Tender Reimaginings of the Queer Black Atlantic”—Randi Gray Kristensen
Review of Anton Nimblett, Now/After (Leeds: Peepal Tree, 2019)
“Where Ecology Meets Sacrality”—Nikhita Obeegadoo
Review of Valérie Loichot, Water Graves: The Art of the Unritual in the Greater Caribbean (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2020)
“Thinking from the Periphery of the Margin and Envisioning Afro-Futurities”—Amanda González Izquierdo
Review of Yomaira C. Figueroa-Vásquez, Decolonizing Diasporas: Radical Mappings of Afro-Atlantic Literature (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2020)
“That Unmistakable ‘Red Thread’ in Caribbean Left Feminist Activism”—Carole Boyce Davies
Review of Andaiye, The Point Is to Change the World: Selected Writings of Andaiye, ed. Alissa Trotz (London: Pluto, 2020)
“‘The bales have been piling up for years’: The Archival Pulse of Dionne Brand’s Work”—Ronald Cummings
“Letting Go”—Alexis Pauline Gumbs
“The Blue Clerk and A Map to the Door of No Return: Indentured Returns from the Left Side”—Nalini Mohabir
“Abstract Propulsion: 14 Reflections on ‘Verso 14’”—Kaie Kellough
“The Treachery of Images, the Violence of Narrative”—Tzarina T. Prater
“‘Go on, go on, the brilliant future doesn’t wait’: Reflections on Dionne Brand’s 2021 Kitty Lundy Memorial Lecture”—Andrea A. Davis
“A Fragment from Nomenclature for the Time Being”—Dionne Brand
Poetry & Prose
“Gone”—a poem by Brenton Cross
“Elegy” and “Cousins Wrestle” —poems by Catherine-Esther Cowie
“A Lamentation”—fiction by Kris Singh