SX Salon 24 | Small Axe Project

From the introduction by Kelly Baker Josephs:

“In the past two months, we have lost two remarkable members of the Caribbean literary community. Recently, Derek Walcott, 87, passed away in St. Lucia. There has, even in the short time since his death on 17 March, been much written in tribute to Walcott’s legacy and I expect there will be much more to come as we remember the work he has left with us and mourn the work that we hoped would yet come. An extended tribute of note is #AWeekinWalcott by Trinidadian Shivanee Ramlochan.

“The second, earlier loss is more difficult to write about because it is closer to home. Giselle Rampaul, lecturer at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, and creator of The Spaces between Words podcast, died suddenly in Trinidad on 9 February. Giselle and I often crossed paths at conferences and shared information via e-mail; she recently reviewed Roydon Salick’s monograph Ismith Khan: The Man and His Work for us here at sx salon. She was young, only forty, but had already contributed much to Caribbean literary studies via her teaching and scholarship and her archiving of the voices of a wide range of Caribbean writers. Many of us benefited from her generosity, her enthusiasm, and her dedication. She will be missed.

“Giselle coedited two books and published several print articles, but her contribution to Caribbean literary studies is primarily digital. The Spaces between Words has published almost one hundred podcasts, providing an extensive resource for other creative writers and for scholars and students of Caribbean literature. The future of the project, however, is now in question. As I write this introduction, the Spaces site has expired and is “pending renewal or deletion.” The large archive of valuable recordings, painstakingly curated and edited over the past five years, is currently unavailable to us. There were other people involved with the project, so there is reason to expect that the archive will be available again in future; but Giselle was the energy and organizing force behind Spaces—what will the project be, if it is to be, without her?

“This potential ephemerality, this tenuousness, of digital projects is one of the concerns that had prompted me to organize a roundtable on digital publishing at the West Indian Literature Conference last October. With the revamping of the sx salon platform last August and the launch of sx archipelagos a few months prior, I was forced to contemplate access to sx salon’s archives and to speculate about the shape of work we might publish in future. Seeking inspiration, I invited other editors of Caribbean digital platforms—Evelyn O’Callaghan, Kaiama L. Glover, Laurie N. Taylor, and Patricia J. Saunders—to join me in a discussion about managing the potentials and pitfalls of digital platforms. In this issue’s discussion section, we publish an edited version of that session…..”

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