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REVIEWS: THE OVERCOAT(more details); THE GOD GAME(more details); BLACK BOYS(more details); KING CHARLES III(more details); A DELICATE BALANCE(more details); TRUE CRIME(more details); HAMLET and LEAR(more details); MUSTARD(more details); THE WEDDING PARTY(more details); 





More reviews under each category


Some reviews from this site also appear at







552 pages Hardcover
ISBN13: 9781771832991
ISBN10: 1771832991
$37.95 Canada, $37.95 US
Guernica Editions, Fall 2017

William Hutt showed that it was possible to be a great classical actor without sacrificing his Canadian accent or cultural identity. His imperishable portraits of Tartuffe, King Lear, Lear’s Fool, Feste, Khlestakov, Duke Vincentio, Titus Andronicus, Timon, Argan, Lady Bracknell, James Tyrone, Sr., and Prospero ensured that he will be remembered as long as there is cultural memory. Offstage, he could be charming and witty or moody and oppressively grand. He remained the Duke of “Dark Corners” to many who wished to know him more intimately. In this detailed, probing, and thought-provoking biography, Keith Garebian weaves together Hutt’s private and public lives, his most intense conflicts, deepest yearnings and anxieties in order to show how Hutt brought his life to his work and work to his life in a manner that left him vulnerable to wounds of the heart yet open to radical re-invention as an actor.

“William Hutt was one of the greatest actors of our time: a true theatre legend. He was also a deeply private person, an enigma even to those of us who knew him and worked with him. In this absorbing new biography, Keith Garebian not only offers us his personal perspective on Bill’s so potent art but also delves deep into the complexities and conflicts within the master magician himself.”  (Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival

 ***James Karas has reviewed the biography at jameskarasreviews.blogspot.ca and here are excerpts from his glowing review:

"It is a major contribution to the history of Canadian tbianatre and a superb portrait of Hutt, warts and all, as a performer, artist and human being. [Garebian] leaves no stone unturned and one is continually impressed by the breadth and depth of his research...Garebian covers a large swath of theatre history in the second half of the 20th century in Ontario...Hutt's complex personal life receives well-deserved coverage...Garebian is astutely and keenly interested in Hutt's development as an actor...From becoming efficient at comedy such as Noel Coward roles to finding his inner self or the inner self of the characters that he played was a long journey of discovery for Hutt that Garebian covers meticulously."

The Toronto launch for the Hutt biography will be at the Supermarket in Kensington Market on Saturday, May 5, at 2 pm. Free admission with entertainment, cash bar, video, and readings.





The Fourth Wall

Routledge’s Fourth Wall books are short, accessible accounts of some of modern theatre’s best loved works. They take a subjective but easily digestible approach to their topics, allowing their authors the opportunity to explore their chosen subject in a way that is absorbing enough to be of use both to lovers of theatre and those who are being asked to study a play more deeply.

Each book in the series looks at a specific play, variously exploring its themes, contexts and characteristics while prioritising original, insightful writing over complexity or scholarly weight. While other cultural products such as albums and films are well served by this kind of writing, the Fourth Wall series aims to find room between rigorous analysis and the short format of reviews or articles. They are extended accounts that get to the heart of their chosen works without being bound by the density that academic treatments can often require.












George Bernard Shaw famously refused to permit any play of his "to be degraded into an operetta or set to any music except its own." Allowing his beloved Pygmalion to be supplanted by a comic opera was therefore unthinkable; yet Lerner and Loewe transformed it into My Fair Lady (1956), a musical that was to delight audiences and critics alike. By famously reversing Shaw’s original ending, the show even dared to establish a cunningly romantic ending.

Keith Garebian delves into the libretto for a fresh take, and explores biographies of the show’s principal artists to discover how their roles intersected with real life.

Rex Harrison was an alpha male onstage and off, Julie Andrews struggled with her ‘chaste diva’ image, and the direction of the sexually ambiguous Moss Hart contributed to the musical’s sexual coding.
ISBN  9781138960060

This little book is currently outselling the other five  titles in the new series from ROUTLEDGE in the UK

Keith’s latest book, ‘Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady,’ (Routledge) has just been reviewed by arts journalist-poet David Bateman on batemanreviews.blogspot.ca. Here are excerpts from this review:

routledge-cover‘Poet, arts journalist, and acclaimed musical theatre expert, Keith Garebian has neatly combined queer theory, biography, and his own special brand of accessible, engaging writing that adds a unique perspective to the presence of a great play that became a great musical. He doesn’t shy away from the intimate personality details that mingle with the characters that both Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison brought to their interpretations of the pivotal roles of Eliza and Henry. Nor does he mince words about Moss Hart’s presence as a closeted homosexual director who brought the kind of vigour and skill necessary to push this iconic score through arduous rehearsals, revisions, and a variety of fascinating behind the scenes scenarios. …Telling the truth in the light of late twentieth-century queer theory, with the aid of extensive research and impressive knowledge of the musical theatre genre, Garebian gives his reader a delightful and enlightening new look at an old somewhat “politically incorrect” text. Not to dismiss the beauty of the songs, or the romance of the tale, and yet Garebian himself speaks directly to the misogyny of the text, to Harrison’s reputation as a somewhat abrasive ladies man, Andrews’s trained “innocence” and “chaste femininity” that had to be sculpted carefully by Hart, not to mention the subtly crafted homosocial triangle that occurs between the two men vying for the attention of the fair lady….It is the mixture of machismo, innocence, and a severely delineated class structure–the division between the rich and the poor–that creates the dramatic tension–a tension that is simultaneously heightened and alleviated through song (courtesy of the genius of Lerner and Loewe) that gives Garebian’s text such a lively and engaging tone–contributing to an ongoing discussion regarding one of the most popular pieces of 20th century musical theatre.’

Another positive review–this one from Jeffrey Round, posted on Vailed, March 27, 2017:

‘In an age of seemingly exhaustive biographies and prolific cultural studies, Routledge’s Fourth Wall “study series” offers a refreshingly intimate look at some turning points in modern theatrical history.

Keith Garebian’s
 Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady is a distillation of years of the author’s intimate knowledge about this and other musicals. His love for his subject and his impeccable prose make reading it a delight, as he cleverly dissects the personal and artistic, showing how one helped form the other in what was to become the Broadway version of George Bernard Shaw’s much-loved tale of the erudite Englishman who teaches a Cockney flower girl to pass as a “lady.”

Most revealing are his stories of how Julie Andrews struggled to broaden the scope of her acting, at times under duress from the callow egotism of co-star Rex Harrison, and how in real life Harrison managed to combine the role of well-bred Englishman with that of the sexist alpha-male. (With an eventual full count of six wives and two autobiographies to his credit, or discredit, he was well-suited to the part.)

Wisely, Garebian includes Moss Hart, the show’s “sexually ambiguous” director who put the show through numerous revisions until it became what has been referred to as “the perfect musical.” The contributions of Hart…ensured that there would be a gay code to the musical’s making. Garebian dives directly into this aspect as well, linking theories of sex roles and sexuality. The use of academic “queer theory” jargon all the rage in some quarters, is thankfully minimal…

On the whole, there is far greater emphasis on the show’s lyrics than its music, but this only serves to underline Garebian’s mastery of the language (he is also a poet). It’s here he shows his full understanding of the work’s literary elements. The result, a thorough yet easily digested analysis, makes the work relevant to today’s audiences, rendering it far more than just a lovely anachronism.’





I am delighted to have been chosen as First Prize winner in an international poetry contest originating in Vancouver, B.C. I look forward to having the opportunity to do featured readings of my poetry next year in B.C.



This grant validates my project on a national level, and I was informed that my sample ranked in the top five of Non-Fiction applications in the Established Writers category, i.e. those writers who have published at least six literary books (all genres included) with a professional publishing house. There were 879 eligible applicants for the grant in the October 2013 contest, of which 146 were successful, i.e. received grants ranging from $3,000 to $25,000. In the Non-Fiction category, 10 of the 61 applicants in the Emerging Writers category were successful; 11 of the 58 in the Mid-Career category; and 5 out of 28 in the Established Writers category.

I am grateful to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada for putting up some seed money to launch my project, and to the Ontario Arts Council for a Work in Progress Grant (2011), as well as to the editors and publishers of Dundurn, Cormorant, and Guernica for sponsoring me for Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve Grants over the past two years.




2017 Ontario Arts Council Recommender's Grant
2016 Judge, 31st Saving Bannister Anthology Poetry Contest (CAA-Niagara)
          Shortlisted for GritLit Poetry Award
          Ontario Arts Council Writers' Reserve Grant
2015 Shortlisted for Gwendolyn MacEwen-Exile Poetry Award for
           Best Single Poem from a suite
          Ontario Arts Council Writers' Reserve Grants
          Shortlisted for Freefall magazine Poetry Award
2014  First Prize, 22nd annual Surrey International
           Writers Conference Poetry Contest
           Third Prize, Canadian Authors Association
           (Niagara Branch) Poetry Contest
            Juror, Playwright Residency, Ontario Arts Council
           Canada Council Senior Arts Grant for Creative
           Juror for the Gerald Lampert Award for Poetry
           Ontario Arts Council Writers' Reserve Grant
           Third Prize, William Henry Drummond Poetry
2013 William Saroyan Medal (Ministry of Diaspora,
          Juror, Works in Progress (February 2013
          Competition), Ontario Arts Council
           Honourable Mention, William Henry Drummond
           Poetry Contest
           Ontario Arts Council Writers' Reserve Grant
2012 Ontario Arts Council Works in Progress Grant
           Ontario Arts Council Writers' Reserve Grant
            Poems in three anthologies, including Poet to Poet
(Guernica) and Seek It (Red Claw Press)
           Armenia Year of the Book Award, St. Mary's
           Apostolic Church, Scarborough, 2012
2011 Long-listed Re-Lit Award (Poetry), Children of
Non-fiction in Indian Voices,Vol. 1
Poems in Crave It
2010 First Prize, Scarborough Arts Council Poetry
          Juror for the City of Edmonton Book Prize
          Children of Ararat selected as one of 10 winning
          poetry manuscripts for publication as part of
          Frontenac House's 2010 Dektet series
2009 Poem of the Month, selected by Parliamentary
          Poet Laureate, Ottawa
          First Prize, Canadian Authors Association
           (Niagara Branch) Poetry Contest
           Naji Naaman Literary Honor Prize (Lebanon)
          Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems Longlisted
          for the Lambda Poetry Award
          Ontario Arts Council, Works in Progress Grant
          Ontario Arts Council, Writers' Reserve Grant

2008 Second Prize, Queen's University Alumni
          Well-Versed Poetry Contest
2007 Poems in four anthologies, including Seminal
           (eds. John Barton and Billeh Nickerson) and
           Arms Like Ladders: The Eloquent She
           (ed. Katerina Fretwell)
           Finalist, Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry
           Contest, Writers' Circle of Durham Region

2006  Third Prize, Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry
           Contest, Writers' Circle of Durham Region
           Scarborough Arts Council Honourable Mention
           for Poetry
2005 Ontario Arts Council, Writers' Reserve Grant
           Longlisted, ReLit Award for Poetry -
           (Frida: Paint  Me As A Volcano)
2004 Queen's Alumni Poetry Contest, 2nd Prize
2003 Ontario Poetry Society Award for Haiku
           Lakeshore Arts/Scarborough Arts Council
           Award for Poetry
2002  Ontario Poetry Society Award for Free Verse
           Scarborough Arts Council Honourable Mention
           for Poetry
2001  Scarborough Arts Council Honourable Mention
           for Poetry 


Born to an Armenian father and an Anglo-Indian mother, Keith Garebian holds a doctorate in Canadian and Commonwealth Literature from Queen's University. The author of twenty-two books and a chapbook, he is a widely-published writer. His reviews and articles have appeared in over a hundred  newspapers, journals, magazines, and anthologies. In 2000, he became the first critic-at-large to be appointed by a public library, when he was contracted to post theatre and book reviews for three years on the website for the Mississauga Public Library. His poetry has been published in Impulse, Echo, Inscape, The Antigonish Review, Literary Review of Canada, Exile, Quarry, Grain, The Malahat Review, Rampike, and various anthologies. The winner of the prestigious William Saroyan Medal in Armenia, he won First Prize in the Canadian Authors Association Poetry Contest in 2009, writing grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council, and top prizes for free verse and haiku from the Ontario Poetry Society and the Scarborough Arts Council/Lakeshore Arts Council. Some of his work has been translated into French, Armenian, German, Romanian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Chinese, and Hindi. He has also served as juror for the Grand Prix de la Ville de Montreal Book Award,, the City of Edmonton Book Award, the Gerald Lampert Poetry Award for the League of Canadian Poets, the Ontario Arts Council, the Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Award, the Scarborough Arts Council Poetry Contest, the Saving Banister Poetry Award, and the Ontario Poetry Society. A member of the League of Canadian Poets, he is available for public readings and symposia.

*See my c.v.

I have posted videos of myself reading or reciting some of my poems from 'Children of Ararat,' 'Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems,' and other sources at www.youtube.com. Simply search for 'Videos of Keith Garebian' and the appropriate links will appear.


Readers are urged to read the very best interview I have ever had. This one, conducted by Elana Wolff, covers some of the most significant books I have written. This is the link:http://www.openbookontario.com/news/elana_wolff_interviews_keith_garebian

Here is a list of books, theses, or articles that cite at least one of my articles or books as a reference:

Ernesto Acevedo-Munoz’s ‘West Side Story’ as Cinema
Shehla Ali and Alka Gopal’s “Themes Prevalent in the Novels of V.S.   Naipaul”
Misha Berson’s Something’s Coming, Something Good (West Side Story and the American
Geoffrey Block’s Enchanted Evenings: The Broadway Musical from ‘Show Boat’ to Sondheim and Lloyd Webber
Kerstin Lind Bonnier’s “Furniture and Possessions in A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul
Donna Bontatibus’s “Reconnecting with the Past: Personal Hauntings in Margaret Atwood’s
The Robber Bride,” Papers on Language and Literature
Christopher Bram’s Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America
Stephen Brock’s A Travelling Colonial Architecture: Home and Nation in Selected Works by Patrick White, Peter Carey, Xavier Herbert and James Bardon
Diana Brydon and Irene Rima Makaryk’s Shakespeare in Canada: A World Elsewhere
Douglas B. Buchanan’s “The Canada Council, The Regional Theatre System and the English- Canadian Playwright 1957-1975”
Robert Cooper’s Musical Austrian Jewish Exiles
Susan Copoloff-Mechanic’s
Pilgrim's Progress: A Study of the Short Stories of Hugh Hood
Sukhendu Das’s “Intercultural Dialogue: A Study of Patrick White’s Voss and A Fringe of Leaves
Robert D. Denham’s Poets on Painting: A Bibliography, Encyclopedia of Asian-American
Jaydipsinh Dodiya’s Perspectives in Indian English Fiction

Nancy E.L. Earle’s “Writers-in-Residence in Canada, 1965-2000”
Wayne E. Edmonstone’s Nathan Cohen: The Making of a Critic
William Everett’s The Musical: A Research and Information Guide
William Everett and Paul R. Laird’s The Cambridge Companion to the Musical
Jason Fitzgerald’s “I Had a Dream: Rose’s Turn,” musical theatre and the star effigy
Caryl Flinn’s Brass Diva: The Life and Legends of Ethel Merman
Noralee Frankel’s Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee
Jane Frugtneit’s “F.O.O.D. (Fighting Order Over Disorder): An Analysis of Food and Its Significance in the Australian Novels of Christina Stead, Patrick White and Thea Astley (Ph. D. dissertation, James Cook University)
Marjorie Garber’s Shakespeare and Modern Culture,
Robert Gordon's The Oxford Book of Sondheim Studies
Sherill Grace’s Making Theatre: A Life of Sharon Pollock
Judith Lynn Hanna’s Gypsy: The Art of the Tease (book review)
Rachel G. Hile’s “Disability and the Characterization of Katherine in The Taming of
the Shrew,” Disabilities Studies Quarterly
Douglas Ivison’s “A Reader’s Guide to the Intersection of Time and Space: Urban Specialization in Hugh Hood’s Around the Mountain Studies in Canadian Literature
Deborah Jowitt’s Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, His Dance
W. J. Keith’s A Canadian Odyssey: A Reading of Hugh Hood’s The New Age Series
W.J. Keith’s God’s Plenty: A Study of Hugh Hood’s Short Fiction
Christel Kerskens’s “Escaping the Labyrinth of Deception: A Postcolonial Approach to Margaret Atwood’s Novels” (Ph.D. dissertation, Universite Libre de Bruxelles)
Chhote Lal Khatri’s R.K. Narayan: Reflections and Re-Evaluation
Raymond Knapp’s The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity
Richard Paul Knowles's "Reading Material: Transfers, Remounts, and the Production of Meaning in Contemporary Toronto Drama and Literature"
Irving Layton’s Wild Gooseberries:The Selected Letters
Margaret Atwood: Vision and Form (eds. Kathryn van Spanckeren and Jan Garden Castro
Fraidie Martz and Andrew Wilson’s A Fiery Soul: The Life and Theatrical Times of John Hirsch,

Masculinities in Twentieth-and Twenty-first Century French and Francophone Literature
(ed.Edith Biegler Vandervoort)
Derek John McGovern’s Eliza Undermined: The Romanticisation of Shaw’s ‘Pygmalion’
Gaile McGregor’s The Wacousta Syndrome

Scott McMillin’s The Musical as Drama
Susan McNicoll’s The Opening Act: Canadian Theatre History, 1945-1953
Kavita Nandan’s “V.S.Naipaul: A Diasporic Vision,” Journal of Caribbean Literature
W.H. New’s Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, Contemporary Writing of Atlantic Canada
Burkhard Niederhoff’s “The Return of the Dead in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing and Alias
Grace,” Connotations (A Journal for Critical Debate)
Reingard M. Nischik, ed.’ s The Canadian Short Story: Interpretations
Alba Olmi’s “Janet Frame: Uma Escritora de Ficcao e a Ficcao de Uma EscritoraL Os Multiplos Processos da Autobiografia Estetica” (Ph.D. dissertation, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul)
Jeong-Seon Park’s “An Exploration of the Outsider’s Role in Selected Works by Joseph Conrad, Malcolm Lowry, and V.S. Naipaul” (Ph. D. dissertation, University of London)
Violet Mary Penistan’s A Short History of the Canadian Players: 1954-1966
Mohit Kumar Ray’s V.S. Naipaul: Critical Essays, Vol. 3
Rachel Lee Rubin and Jeffrey Paul Melnick’s Immigration and American Popular Culture: An
D. Riemenschneider’s “The Train Has Moved On: R.K. Narayan’s The Guide
Julie Sanders’s Shakespeare and Music: Afterlives and Borrowings
Yukio Sawabe and Dr. Eijun Senaha’s An Annotated Bibliography: Vikram Seth’s Works, and
Related Criticism, with a Background Study of Post-colonial Literature and Modern Indian History and Culture
Krishna Sen’s Critical Essays on R.K. Narayan’s ‘The Guide’
Larry Stempel’s Showtime: A History of the Broadway Musical Theatre
Richard Stirling’s Julie Andrews (An Intimate Biography)
Fraser Sutherland’s “Hugh Hood’s ‘The New Age’ and the Canadian Style” in Images of
Canada: Interiors and Exteriors, ed. Yugoslav Association for Canadian Studies
Neil Sutherland’s History of Canadian Childhood and Youth: A Bibliography
Frances Teague's Shakespeare and the American Popular Stage
Brian Trehearne’s Canadian Poetry 1920 to 1960
Brian Uzzi and Jarrett Spiro’s Collaboration and Creativity: The Small World Problem
Amanda Vail’s Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins
Iris Wagner's "Kanadas Gesellschaft im Spiegel des Familiendramas (Ph.D.
dissertation, University of Wurzburg)
Elizabeth Wells’s West Side Story: Cultural Perspectives on an American Musical
Matt Windman’s “The Roots of Tradition.” rev. of Wonder of Wonders: A cultural History of
‘Fiddler on the Roof’
Stacy Wolff’s A Problem Like Maria
Megan Bollander Woller’s A Place for ‘West Side Story’ (1961): Gender, Race, and Tragedy in Hollywood’s Adaptation
Carolyn Quinn’s Mama Rose’s Turn
Dikran Abrahamian, Jirair Tutunjian, and Minas Kojayan's Keghart.com 2012-2014


Award-winning actor and playwright Tony Nardi has this to say in his recent book Two Letters...And Counting!: "Keith Garebian and Robert Cushman...invest more thought in what they write than most critics and allow their writings to expose the writer as much as the subject he treats."


Honoured to be invited to participate in a special Writers' conference in Yerevan, Armenia, July 2013, for Diaspora Armenians who compose in languages other than Armenian. Even more honoured to be awarded the prestigious William Saroyan Medal on July 15, 2013.










Minister of Diaspora, Hranush Hakobyan, pinning the William Saroyan medal on me at Ministry office, Yerevan, July 15, 2013. To date, my most treasured award.



My new book of haiku (with illustrations also by me) has just been published by Guernica Editions. Here is the full spread cover showing my paintings on front and back. The illustrations within the book (including the running emblem of wild grass at the bottom of each page) are in black and white on special paper. The price is $15.
















My new, revised, considerably expanded edition of The Making of 'Cabaret' is forthcoming from Oxford University Press (New York) in April 2011. This replaces the first edition done by Mosaic Press, so all libraries, schools, colleges, and universities should order the new edition that has  37 illustrations and has received glowing reports from eminent American readers.

The next anticipated title for OUP is The Making of 'West Side Story' .All forthcoming editions are my officially sanctioned ones and are to be used instead of the first editions from Mosaic that suffer from weak production values.

 What the critics have said:

*Samson’s Hair and Other Satirical Fantasies (chapbook) (2004)
“Satire is alive and scintillating in Samson’s Hair. One minute Eve is calling God a snake, the next it’s Dracula sharing his foreplay tips. And that’s just a glimpse of Keith Garebian’s playfully lurid imagination. In a book where both John the Baptist’s head and Monica Lewinsky’s dress have a lot to say, the writing is fevered, funny and venomous, often all at the same time.” (Barry Dempster, Governor General’s Award nominee)

“In his latest collection, Samson's Hair, a chapbook of 17 intelligently irreverent poems that draw on literary and popular subjects as far-flung as Hamlet and Dracula, Salome and Kong, and God and Monica, Keith Garebian is as penetrating in the voice of the other sex as he is in the voice of his own....Satire--a technique which often employs ridicule in the service of censure--and fantasy--a form which entails role-playing--are seemly vehicles for Keith Garebian's aims...”
(Elana Wolff, Surface & Symbol)

*Frida: Paint Me As A Volcano/Frida: Un Volcan de Souffrance
“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. ...Garebian's images are plastic and flowing and preeminently visual as the colours in the paintbox that become Diego's medium, and Franciere's translation not only captures the essence of the original work but also preserves much of the energy and lyricism with lively images that pulse and resonate throughout...this amazing series of poems...”
(Gillian Harding-Russell, Event, Vol. 3, No. 2)
>>>>>> SAMPLES

“...powerful images...Garebian's words evoke the vivid colours and intense emotions of Kahlo's surreal paintings, which evoke the flora and fauna, folklore and traditions of Mexico. Poetic allusions to actual self-portraits interspersed with brief prose passages express Kahlo's physical pain, her love and admiration for Diego Rivera, and the suffering caused by his affairs.” (Roseanna Dufault, Canadian Literature, Vol. 191, Winter 2006 )

*Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems (2008)
“Keith Garebian has created an innovative introduction to a great filmmaker, his work, and his world.”
(Quentin Mills-Fenn, Uptown Magazine, Winnipeg, May 22, 2008
>>>>>> SAMPLES

“.a beautiful and evocative tribute...Garebian's poetic take on Jarman's life riffs on a variety of influences and inspirations...Graced  by degrees of subtle allusions to other works, Garebian's poetry is, at times, reminiscent of Adrienne Rich's love poetry and Ginsberg's call to America during intense political moments....Garebian's romantic alliterative play...moves this collection beyond beautiful gestures and into a powerful and highly original space...Garebian's work both defies and defines an important poetic canon as he moves through the life of another artist, within another medium, striving for beauty and excellence within a marginalized form, yet simultaneously reaching out toward a world of experience.”
(David Bateman, Xtra!, September 25, 2008)

“He can vivify relatively straightforward realism or abandon it altogether: presenting sensuous tableaux that swirl magically into gymnastic action. He can shift abruptly yet convincingly between the ornate and the coarse, the ethereal and the nightmarish, the wittily cerebral and the violently brutal. A sensibility both filmic and painterly is fully operative, and in passage after passage a sinuous energy joins an uncanny clarity of expression. There's a rare urbane panache and aplomb in scene-setting, in characterization, in narrative drive and in thought....Blue is an outstanding, sustained achievement and takes us places, full-frontally, which most poetry lacks the imaginative and stylistic resources to do more than flirt with.”
(Allan Briesmaster, Letter to the 2008 Mississauga Arts Awards jury)

“What I find refreshing about Keith Garebian's Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems is that upon reading this volume, one gets the sense of Jarman's life without getting bogged down in detail. It is the sort of biography that suits a man whose life was centered on art and sex...Blue is an enjoyable and engaging book of poems that will have you rushing out to your indie movie store to rent some of Jarman's unique and fascinating films.”  (Vincent Ponka, Broken Pencil, July 1, 2008)

“Graced by degrees of subtle citation...powerful and highly original...”
(The Gay and Lesbian Review, January-February 2009)

“Garebians virtuoso trick is to only once or twice in the entire collection slip into a description of Jarman's desires not expressed through action....Garebian's skill comes in the activation of the eyes: with this choice he creates the illusion of observed fact rather than speculation and authorial commentary. The 'tension' then between Garebian's subect and the way it is shown has everything to do with the illusion of autonomy he creates for Jarman, the character, from author and reader alike.”
(Matt Rader, Event, 37-3)

Keith Garebian’s Blue is a haunting elegy to an artist whose films left an indelible mark on queer consciousness, as much because of Jarman’s brashness at a time when we were all battening down the hatches and doing damage control in our own lives, both public and private, because of the onslaught of aids, as well as because of Jarman’s uniquely personal vision as a filmmaker.

The poems reverberate with an intimate and cumulative knowledge of the artist’s work seen in hindsight. At times, they achieve a visionary quality that stems from a critical perception of Jarman’s oeuvre, coupled with Garebian’s personal imagining of the man behind the work. In this way, the poems serve as both biography and critical exegesis of the films. Edward II: A Queer History, for instance, is as much a snapshot of Jarman’s film as of his imagining of the misbegotten monarch who bears its title, while the multi-part Caravaggio serves as a series of vignettes illuminating both the historical artist and his modern-day artist-biographer.

While not lengthy, Blue is a full work. The book is cleverly divided into a biographical Prologue, a critical Corpus, and a final section, Blue, that serves as a meditation on the dying Jarman and his final work, Blue, a non-imagistic “film” that provided a backdrop for Jarman’s ponderings on life, death and art.

These works contain both vibrant imagery and richly imagined drama, and are a pleasure to read. They should be—they were written by a masterly word-artist and inventor who might, had the two met, have mesmerized Jarman with his own creativity.”
(Jeffrey Round, www.jeffreyround.com)

“Garebian skillfully foregrounds that deep sense of longing throughout the three major units of the collection: in the opening 'Prologue' section with a piece entitled "Five Versions of His Night with Gavin,' for instance, where in its 'Penultimate Version' we encounter 'desire set in your heart/like a blue/stone in a secret ring'; then, later in the middle section's 'The Corpus,' where the much longer 'Caravaggio''s ninth lyric entitled 'Blue is Poison' presents us with a similar 'desire for cunning/thought, without overlooking/what you find in blue/inside your head, inside your heart,/purposively absorbed'; until finally, in the concluding 'Blue' section, a poem like 'In Water and In Dream' foregrounds the colour blue appropriately as 'nothing more/than a desire to mirror you/in chaos and ecstasy, no/more than a beginning, desire/a journey into the unfamiliar.'..Garebian is perhaps quite right here to interrogate Jarman's filmic and literary artistry as a journey into the 'unfamiliar.'...extraordinarily accomplished... (David Jarraway, The Journal of Canadian Poetry: For The Year 2008, Vol. 25, 2010)

*Children of Ararat (2010)

Its a passionate and angry collection of poems focusing on the massacre of ethnic Armenians in Turkey in June, 1915. ...The book, though, is more than a catalogue of atrocities....the book opens with a selection of poems that reflect on his fathers story, the whole mad history of it. Other poems explore the effects of the genocide on the survivors and on the descendants of victims. Garebian also comments on how the genocide has affected artists of Armenian descent and their works: the paintings of Arshile Gorky, the plays of William Saroyan, and the films of Atom Egoyan...The writing is evocative and full of powerful images. Sometimes, as Garebian describes, the whole landscape answered in pain: Between the staked olive trees, the partridge/caught their spurs in wires/wrenching the skies with cries.’”
(Quentin Mills-Fenn, Uptown Magazine, Winnipeg)
>>>>>> SAMPLES

This is a momentous collection rendered by a poet in his prime. Children of Ararat takes the reader on a harrowing journey beginning with the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and continuing on to the denial that lingers to this day. While the horror is made clear, there is something oddly joyful in the mourning, in the poets ability to give voice to the long-dead. Without hyperbole, the poet evokes the gruesome events and articulates how, as the inheritor of his father's experiences, he finds himself  trapped in an abyss created nearly a century ago. As with his previous collection, Blue: The Derek Jarman Poems, Garebian once again creates a living elegy that at times reaches almost beyond words.
(Jeff Round, www.jeffreyround.com)

“Keith Garebian writes with solicitousness, rage, and pure confidence in his resources...Garebian places poetry at the service of his identity--personal, political, and human--and draws vitally from the store of imaginative vigour. The poems in Children of Ararat are creations of a man with an ‘optic heart’ --a man who belongs to the people, to his father’s people, as well as to a wider span of citizenry intent on the pursuit of transparency, justice, and human renewal.” (Elana Wolff, Open Book Toronto, August 3, 2010)

“His father was a young survivor of the atrocity, and Garebian packs his story with the pure, corporeal horror that only a child can experience. ..Garebian communicates his rage better through physical objects (tendons, blood, bodies, mould) than abstractions (hope, will, shame, regret), but there's so much precise detail that the tangible always wins out. ...His greatest political weapon, then, is his steadfast sense of accounting....Children of Ararat locates both its history and its poetry, within the cruel specificities of those events.” (Jacob McArthur Mooney, Globe and Mail)

“Garebian's collection is a moving reflection, in burning poetics, on the fragments of memory and body--'backbones, femurs, joints,' an 'eye socket'--left by the Armenian genocide...Some, like Garebian, whose father survived, go on to speak eloquently, even poetically, for those who were silence. As he writes, 'This tongue tries a reparation of speech/beyond the reliquary ashes of books./It licks the caves where the dead/lie in their long hibernation.' (Robin Durnford, vueweekly.com)

*The Making of 'Cabaret' (2nd edition) (2011)

Garebian tells the story of an important musical in a manner that is both compelling and page-turning. Yes, Garebian must weave together his story from varied accounts and sources stretching over 45 years; but he does so in a manner that gives us the big, overall picture instead of a fragmented one. (Steven Suskin, Playbill.Com, July 2011)

"Purely wonderful and inspiring, "The Making of 'Cabaret'" is the most beautifully-written academic text I've ever had the pleasure of being consumed by--and consumed I was, fully and unconditionally. The author's passion for theatre, history, and Cabaret in all its forms shines through, amidst an often poetic style of prose. This is the kind of writer I've always wanted to be. I've been inspired by this book, which I felt truly spoke to me, to perhaps research my own favourite (and historically ignored) theatre productions, and perhaps illuminate them with even an ounce of beauty that Garebian has here in his book. It is well-researched and documents all notable productions of Cabaret, citing reviews and first-hand accounts of each element of the production process that you could want to know about. This book was all I could have wanted and more." (Saskia Penn, Goodreads, April 9, 2013)

“A marvelous job.  (Harold Prince)

"...well-justified second edition...In interpreting Isherwood's original text Garebian shows how the characters evolved from their originals, literary and real life. Cabaret's cultural contexts are explored...Examining shifting identity and sexual orientation in the principal characters, the book finds a central key to the show's power in its multifunctional cabaret frame...The commentary on the [Fosse film] adaptation is as perceptive as the analysis of the Berlin cabaret world is absorbing...Entertaining and knowledgeable, it adds usefully to our understanding of creative processes--and it's a thoroughly good read." (Arthur Pritchard, Theatre Research International, Vol. 39, Issue 01, pp. 59-60)

"Alisa Solomon’s Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof would make a fine addition to the handful of books that focus only on a single musical, some of which include Ted Chapin’s Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical Follies, Todd Decker’s Show Boat: Performing Race in an American Musical, Scott Miller’s Let the Sunshine In: The Genius of Hair and Keith Garebian’s The Making of Cabaret. These often turn out to be more insightful than the countless surveys of musical theater history, which are often broad and superficial. " (Matt Windman, Theater News Online

"...an impressive balancing act of entertainment and instruction as he deftly and deeply explores the historical, artistic, and structural process of creating and producing a groundbreaking musical...The Making of 'Cabaret' honors every artistic collaborator who has shaped Cabaret's production history and makes good on Garebian's promise to 'capture the collaborative excitement' involved in producing one of the greatest musicals of the twentieth century...His jargon-free analysis of the musical and its various productions make this 'compendious reference' a resource suited to dramaturgs, theatre historians, directors, and musical theatre enthusiasts." (Valerie Joyce, Theatre History Studies, Vol. 34, 2015)











"Sometimes blatant stupidity is a cause for amusement, sometimes for aggravation. Not   many people build a shrine to it and watch it self-immolate, but that is what critic and writer Keith Garebian has done. Taking sure aim at the American Right (an easy target, you may say, but Garebian had done his due diligence in what would please any rigorous academic). Garebian provides us with a panoply of public pronouncements presented as Found Poetry. The results are as hil"arious to contemplate as they are unnerving to read. ..For someone like me, who tries to avoid politics in general and American politics in particular, some of these pieces are so astounding as to make me reconsider the phrase, 'Know thy enemy.'...This book deserves to be one of those handy pocket books that sits besides every cash register in every gift shop." (Jeff Round, unvailed.com)

"Garebian, who won Armenia's William Saroyan Medal in 2013, has his tongue deep in his cheek when he describes these blowhards as 'poets.' They're poets if Britney Spears is Peggy Lee...Whether the reader is Right or Left Wing, Centrist or Independent, 'Accidental Genius' is a gift that keeps giving sharp-edged laughter." (Jirair Tutunjian, www.keghart.com)










"In this collection, Keith Garebian weaves his own poetry with journal entries, letters, and correspondence between artist Georgia O'Keeffe and photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Fueled by this innovative mix, Garebian reignites the fiery love between these two brilliant artists for readers to admire anew." (World Literature Today, March 2016)

"Camera Work has us glimpse Stieglitz thinking: "Say platinum, gum bichromate, carbon, etc./light an economy of mood/shadow its imprint." The love affair is neatly pictured: "In high summer her shanty/studio is glutted with apples.//Their shine fills trees all morning,/burdened bough straining/with the weight of this light/that falls on her nakedness like fever." (George Elliott Clarke, The Chronicle Herald, December 2015)








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This site was last updated 04/03/18