The CRB in 2010: your favourites

by Nicholas Laughlin on January 4, 2011

The Wake, by David Spinks

“The Wake”, photograph by David Spinks, posted at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Happy new year, dear readers, from your Antilles blogger. I hope 2011 is pleasant, productive, prosperous, and provocative (in the best way) for all of us.

The CRB’s most recent issue, November 2010, wrapped up just before Christmas, and the magazine is taking a brief year-end break, preparing to launch the new January 2011 issue. It’s a good time, I think, to catch up on anything you missed in the four issues we’ve published since the CRB relaunched last May. Where to start? Maybe with the ten most popular pieces we published in 2010, as determined by our web traffic. See the list below.

This is also a good time to thank all our readers and friends who contributed to the CRB’s year-end donation drive. We’re exceedingly grateful for your support. If you meant to make a donation and somehow forgot in the Christmas fray, it’s not too late: find out how right here.

Stay tuned for news of our January issue and everything else the CRB has planned for 2011. This is an anniversary year of sorts for the magazine, since our predecessor, the original Caribbean Review of Books published in Jamaica, was launched in 1991. More on that to come!

Since the CRB relaunched in May 2010, we’ve published four new issues and dozens of book reviews, plus essays, interviews, poems and fiction, and pieces on Caribbean art, film, and music. Here are some of the past year’s highlights — as chosen first by CRB readers, and next by editor Nicholas Laughlin.

Readers’ favourites

The ten most popular pieces published in the CRB in 2010, based on traffic to our website.

Questions of approach: Trinidadian writer Vahni Capildeo’s essay on her first visit to India (May).

“Writing worth keeping alive”: Peepal Tree Press founder Jeremy Poynting, interviewed by Nicholas Laughlin (May).

History’s garden: Nicolette Bethel’s review of Three Ancient Colonies: Caribbean Themes and Variations, by Sidney W. Mintz (July).

Brave new world: Annie Paul’s review of the Young Talent V exhibition at the National Gallery of Jamaica (July).

“I must make trouble for the nation”: Bahamian poet Christian Campbell, interviewed by Lisa Allen-Agostini (July).

Hungry for words: a portfolio of images from artist Karyn Olivier’s ACA Foods Free Library project (July).

Create dangerously: Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat’s essay on writing and reading in perilous times, excerpted from her latest book (September).

Could you be loved: Nicholas Laughlin’s review of Children of God, a feature film by Bahamian director Kareem Mortimer (September).

Portrait of the artist as an old man: St Lucian poet Jane King’s review of Derek Walcott’s White Egrets (November).

Ajaat to zwazo: Brendan de Caires’s review of Lise Winer’s Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad and Tobago (November).

Editor’s choice

I won’t say these ten pieces are the best we published in 2010, or even my personal favourites. They are, rather, ten excellent examples of what I hope are the CRB’s best qualities: breadth of curiosity and awareness, depth of insight and knowledge, elegance of expression, reasonableness of opinion, and openness of imagination.

— Nicholas Laughlin

Travellin’ woman: Joshua Jelly-Schapiro on Paule Marshall’s coming of age (May).

This Zinc Roof and Some Definitions for Song: two poems by Kei Miller (May).

The godfather: John T. Gilmore’s review of Frank Collymore: A Biography, by Edward Baugh (July).

Sweet grouper throats: glimpes of contemporary Miami in an essay-cum-poem by Mark Dow (July).

Her scarlet tongue: Vahni Capildeo’s review of A Leaf in His Ear: Collected Poems, by Mahadai Das (September).

Holding the strain: Mervyn Morris on the life and poetic achievement of the Trinidadian writer Wayne Brown (September)

Woodsmoke and ground-doves: John Robert Lee on the late singer Sesenne Descartes’s classic recording St Lucia’s First Lady of Folk (September).

Stranger than paradise: a portfolio of recent work by Bahamian artist Blue Curry, with an interview by Melanie Archer (November).

The anthropologist: Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw’s review of three recent English translations of fiction by Dany Laferrière (November).

Last one standing: F.S.J. Ledgister’s review of Edward Seaga and the Challenges of Modern Jamaica, by Patrick E. Bryan, and My Life and Leadership, by Edward Seaga (November).

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