Channer’s debut poetry collection achieves an intimate and lyric meditation on family, policing, loss, and violence, but the work is enlivened by humor, tenderness, and the rich possibilities that come from honest reflection. Not since Claude McKay’s Constab Ballads of 1912 has a writer attempted to tackle the unlikely literary figure of the Jamaican policeman. Now, over a century later, Channer draws on his own knowledge of Jamaican culture, on his complex relationship with his father (a Jamaican policeman), and frames these poems within the constantly humane principles of Rasta and reggae. The poems within Providential manage to turn the intricate relationships between a man and his father, a man and his mother, and man and his country, and a man and his children into something akin to grace.
“Channer has written a fine set of poems that, like classical myth, start with the search for the lost father and end with the found son, the poet in the process replacing the lost father with a found self.”
— Russell Banks, author of Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter
A dexterous, ambitious collection that delivers enough acoustic acrobatics to keep readers transfixed ’till the starlings sing out.'”
Lush lists and light-footedness and keen word choices all restore a limb to our comprehension of colonial trauma and make this one of the most lucid and telling poetry books of this exact time.”
— Eileen Myles, author of Snowflake
“The Caribbean policeman is a character both foreign and familiar at the center of this intimate debut poetry collection. Combining Jamaican patois and American English, it tells the story of violence, loss, and recovery in the wake of colonialism.”
— O, the Oprah Magazine
With contributors such as Derek Walcott, Valzyna Mort, Robert Pinsky, Elizabeth Alexander, Michael Ondaatje, Louis Simpson, Gabeeba Baderoon and Meena Alexander, So Much Things to Say is a reminder of contemporary poetry's range and bounty. Published to mark the 10th anniversary of Jamaica's Calabash International Literary Festival, the anthology gathers offerings from the diverse list of poets who shared their work with thousands of locals and visitors in the fishing village of Treasure Beach from 2001 through 2010. The collection's quality reflects the festival's deep interest in connecting the planet's writers and listeners on equally exciting terms. Coeditors Kwame Dawes and Colin Channer, who started the whimsical not for profit festival with film producer Justine Henzell, arrange the poems not by rank, alphabetical order, or stature, but by size. How do you take your poems—small, medium, large or extra large?
Contributors: Li-Young Lee, Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott, Terese Svoboda, Elizabeth Alexander, Gabeeba Baderoon, Gregory Pardlo, Martin Espada, Terrance Hayes, Valzyna Mort, Sonia Sanchez, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Staceyann Chin and more.
“So Much Things to Say, an anthology of poems read at the festival over its first decade, is a who’s who of international contemporary poetry.”
— Daily Beast
“American readers who expect to find a distilled representation of what is currently being written in the Caribbean island will instead find an array of voices, circling the same geographical place but interested in a variety of forms and styles.”
“Calabash is a serious literary festival with serious literary merits. It combines this with good humor and merriment.”
— Times Literary Supplement (UK)
“A mini-Woodstock on the Caribbean ... a world-class Caribbean literary festival.”
— New York Times