In Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems, Keith Garebian, himself an insatiable cineaste, has masterfully spliced together an engaging book-length portrait of a filmmaker, visual artist, poet, sexual rebel, and gardener who double-dared the conventions of art, desire, and filmmaking. Derek Jarman's final film, Blue, is a work without visuals except International Klein Blue, and it provides Garebian with an inspired backdrop against which he explores, in the book's poignant closing section, the filmmaker's descent into illness-induced blindness, charting his physical and emotional decline while also building towards a kind of defiant holy death equal to the passions of Jarman's most sacred martyrs: Caravaggio, St. Sebastian, and Jesus Christ.
In this life-affirming, cinematic, at turns randy and elegiac verse-biography, Keith Garebian celebrates one of the world's truly unforgettable and rebellious spirits.
About the author
Keith Garebian is the author of five previous poetry collections — Frida: Paint Me As a Volcano (Buschek), Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems (Signature), Children of Ararat (Frontenac), and Moon On Wild Grasses (Guernica) — and fourteen books of non-fiction. His writing has earned him numerous awards, including the William Saroyan Medal (Armenia), three Mississauga Arts Awards (Established Literary), Canadian Authors Association (Niagara Branch) Poetry Awards, and numerous grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council.
- Winner, MARTY Best Established Literary Arts Award
Excerpt: Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems (by (author) Keith Garebian)
SO YOU ARE NOT LOVED
Ancient Rome would have married you to a glamorous boy, but England, Cromwell scowling at its heart, mows you down, thinning out your kind, forbidding you to fall in love. So you are not loved, reeking of lust and shame at the abyss of a long descent.
SO EASY TO MISS THE BODY IN A CORNER
heatbeat stronger than bed and walls, mind counting other bodies, imagining how skin catches light, a parchment on which to write a life. Even the largest canvas is smaller than the hours in a spool of film, which reads all the values of blue.
One night you thirsted like a lion, too thin to stoop at a drying-up pool in the Serengeti on fire. You had lost your kingdom, old king, staggering like a wraith, palsied limbs shaking, mind ruminating when the flames would end. Boils, settling on you, your mouth dry with curiosity burned into it like sand. Your body's fireworks aren't literary, yet amid all the dryness a thirst for creativity. How sweet the brain works beyond medicine, everything rising in fire, rising, cresting, how much fire in summer, how much glory in grass, butterflies and fluttering flowers consumed in light of an ordinary world calling to birds.
"Garebian employs a gritty yet lyrical tone...This notably elegiac collection of poems demonstrates the author's strong connection to the past and his equally strong engagement with the present."
Canadian Book Review Annual on Reservoir of Ancestors "Along with hard-edged clarity and succinct imagery, the language in this collection is often surreal and lustrous as befitting its subject matter about a painter's mistress who finds herself defined and given her raison d'etre by her promiscuous artist-lover."
Event on Frida: Paint Me As A Volcano