Jamaican named Rhode Island’s Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate, Jamaican Colin Channer.
Photo courtesy Governor Dan McKee’s Office

Colin Channer is often referred to as the “Bob Marley with a pen.” His most recent accomplishment has propelled the incredibly talented literary artist and poet to another milestone after he was recently appointed to the five-year position as poet laureate by Rhode Island Governor, Dan McKee. A position created by the Rhode Island General Assembly, Colin Channer is now the seventh poet laureate for Rhode Island, United States.

Governor Dan McKee in acknowledging the illustrious work of Mr. Channer, described the Jamaican poet laureate as “an accomplished writer whose work has touched the lives of so many people.”  The governor stated that he was excited to have Colin Channer in Rhode Island, “…continuing his craft here in the Ocean State where he will not just be a leader in poetry but serve as a poetry and literary inspiration to Rhode Islanders across the state.”

Channer, in accepting the position and responding to the tremendous offer, acknowledged what comes along with it, said that “…to be named State Poet Laureate is a gushy surprise and a leveling honor. Poetry is many things,” Channer added.

He is a well-known poet, fiction writer and editor around the world. He is a social entrepreneur and co-founder of the non-profit Calabash International Literary Festival Trust, which takes place in Jamaica on even number years for three days. He served as the organization’s artistic director and board chairperson from 2001 – 2012.

His latest book, “Console,” is an anthology of poems that was both a nominee for the New England Book Award and a New Yorker Magazine Best Book of 2023.

Channer is the director of Graduate Studies at Brown University and is an associate professor in the Department of Literary Arts.