by Colin Channer
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Pub Date 18 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2023
The second collection by "one of the most significant literary figures in the Caribbean" (The Globe and Mail).
Assured but chance-inflected, ever rooted in the local but always world-aware, Console reconsiders languages, geographies, and memories as luminous soundscapes. With lyric dexterity, Colin Channer jolts old notions of New England, cross-fading from the Berkshires to Anguilla, from Connecticut to Senegal. A dissolve to the poet’s childhood in Jamaica occurs after glimpsing an old record player in Providence, leading to the title poem’s meditations on reggae, religion, marriage, justice, and transgressions in the home.
With allusive links to photography, music, sea mammals, mistranslation, and the universal ritual of “the walk,” Console reorganizes our sense of time, collapses and rebreaks the remembered and certain, renames the familiar, reaches for settled etymologies, and turns words inside out.
Includes 8 black-and-white photographs
A Note From the Publisher
"Channer (Providential) blends haunting lyricism, photography, and Jamaican patois into a potent combination that captures the geography of memory from the Caribbean to Senegal to New England . . . Sensory details startle with their physicality and immediacy . . . These intricate poems render the depths of memory in refreshingly original language." —Publishers Weekly
"Channer’s own experience and existence makes Jamaica live in his new home of New England, and vice versa . . . If colonizing is when those in power claim a land as theirs to imagine and control, colonizing in reverse might mean reasserting one’s own belonging in the face of imperial dreams that tend to erase the reality of colonized people in all spaces, here and there." —Noah Berlatsky, The Common
“In true poetry, language is the spell, the hex, that changes us as we say it aloud. And Colin Channer is here to remind us that no matter the century or the crisis, the spell, indeed, holds true.” —Ilya Kaminsky, Los Angeles Times Book Prize–winning author of Deaf Republic
"Colin Channer’s new poems leap from the page. Their musicality is powerfully insistent, pulsing through every poem. Their diction is rich, tactile, nuanced, complex. The range of reference in the poems is extraordinary; the poet speaks of Walt Whitman and reggae singer-songwriter Burning Spear in the same breath. Channer writes of hurricanes in a hurricane of language. This Jamaican voice is also a world voice. Welcome to Colin Channer’s world." —Martín Espada, author of Vivas to Those Who Have Failed
"The genius of Colin Channer’s Console is its profound sense of sound. Console is a soundscape, a mixing board of geographical and sensual landscapes, its various vocal languages musically charged to the utmost emotional effect. 'All is fluid as I am collapsing // love and distance,' the poet says, 'Who am I out of/within //this scene of benediction?'—quick-changing where the music takes him, a music 'mystic with soul' that knows its 'ginnal roots of myth,' a mix that is comedic, remixing history, “as if to match the age’s flares and fringes.” Of the many superlatives one might use to describe Console—astonishing, powerful, brilliant—none quite suffices. Console is poetry at poetry’s best." —Lawrence Joseph, author of A Certain Clarity
"There is music everywhere in Colin Channer’s new collection. Mixing, erasure, echo—and melody. Poems driven by the sounds of language, the ways in which words are aerated and released to jam on themselves. I felt the good karma of Derek Walcott and Bob Marley residing as spirits in these pages. Channer’s linguistic world translates so quickly into a stubborn physicalness—this air, this place, this consciousness. He has deeply inhabited so many disparate worlds, the new and the old, with the rhythms of something timeless, honoring what has passed and the yet to come. Lines that pound with a Caribbean heartbeat. By book’s end, Channer’s vision of his world and ours is . . . consoling." —Daniel Halpern, author of Something Shining
“Transcendentally savvy, Colin Channer’s Console turns nostalgia on its head. These poems are cosmopolitan and primal as if all the continents were one again, the music of an oceanic mind. The poet’s language is a pulpit for his otherworldly calling, innovative and elevating, personal yet wholly of our time.” —Gregory Pardlo, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Digest
"What rich splendor these pages reveal. What vision and wisdom and grace. This new book from Colin Channer has expanded my heart and my mind, offering vivid and necessary ways of seeing, hearing, and understanding the world." —Camille T. Dungy, author of Soil: The Story of a Black Mother's Garden