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.
Keith Garebian studied English at Concordia University, Montreal (M.A.) and Queen's University, Kingston (Ph.D.) before launching his freelance writing career as literary and theatre critic, biographer, and poet. The author of fifteen other books, including groundbreaking studies of Hugh Hood, William Hutt, Christopher Newton, and classic Broadway musicals, he has been published in over eighty international newspapers, journals, magazines, and anthologies. His previous books of poetry include Reservoir of Ancestors and Frida: Paint Me As A Volcano, which was shortlisted for the 2005 Relit Award for Poetry. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario.
SO YOU ARE NOT LOVEDAncient Rome would have married youto a glamorous boy, but England,Cromwell scowling at its heart,mows you down, thinningout your kind, forbiddingyou to fall in love. So you are not loved,reeking of lust and shameat the abyss of a long descent. SO EASY TO MISS THE BODY IN A CORNERheatbeat 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 smallerthan the hours in a spool of film,which reads all the values of blue. ENVOIOne night you thirsted like a lion,too thin to stoopat a drying-up pool in the Serengetion fire. You had lost your kingdom,old king, staggering like a wraith,palsied limbs shaking, mind ruminatingwhen the flames would end. Boils,settling on you,your mouth dry with curiosityburned into it like sand. Your body's fireworks aren't literary,yet amid all the dryness a thirstfor creativity. How sweetthe brain works beyondmedicine, everything risingin fire, rising, cresting,how much fire in summer, how much glory in grass,butterflies and fluttering flowersconsumed in light of an ordinaryworld calling to birds.