"Jamaican-born Channer draws on the rich cultural heritage of the Caribbean and his own unique experience for this energetic, linguistically inventive first collection of poetry….Channer’s lyrics pop and reel in sheer musicality….A dextrous, ambitious collection that delivers enough acoustic acrobatics to keep readers transfixed ’till the starlings sing out.’"
"Channer…skillfully examines the brutality that permeates Jamaica’s history in this moving debut poetry collection….Channer’s poems rise to present the reader with a panoramic view of a place ’built on old foundations of violence,’ of ’geographies where genocide and massacre/hang like smoke from coal fires.’"
"The debut poetry collection considers themes of family, Jamaican culture, Rasta, reggae, policing, loss, and violence, tackling the rare literary subject of the Jamaican policeman in light of Channer’s relationship with his Jamaican policeman father."
—Publishers Weekly, Fall 2015 Announcements
"[Channer’s] strongest offering yet….Providential perfectly clothes the written word with matching tone and atmosphere. Welcome to the hallowed halls of Fine Poetry!"
—Kaieteur News (Guyana)
"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 The Sweet Hereafter
"The voices and irrepressible human dance of the clan pulsing at this book’s center leave me breathless and I realize how close the voices are to my own, how much I crave this dance."
—Patricia Smith, author of Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah
"This is such a brilliant ’toast,’ this swift and pained and skimming history of Jamaica sweetly written by a poet with a cop dad. Providential does justice to the diasporic reality of places being ’there but not there,’ including of course America, the poet’s current home. 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
"Channer writes with a moving vulnerability and much lyric grace, revealing new facets to familiar themes—home, family, history, and the evolving journey of self. A universal, timeless meditation."
—Chris Abani, author of The Secret History of Las Vegas
"This one is an audacious and brilliant take on noir, written with pitch-perfect rhythm and a keen eye for supple, limber turns."
—Lorna Goodison, author of From Harvey River
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. Combined with a capacity to offer physical landscapes with painterly sensitivity and care, a graceful mining of the nuances of Jamaican patwa and American English, and a judicious use of metaphor and similie, Providential is a work of "heartical" insight and vulnerability.
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.
- Poetry / Caribbean & Latin American
- Poetry / Subjects & Themes / Family
- Social Science / Minority Studies