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Poetry Is Blood

Poetry Is Blood

By Keith Garebian

Combining eloquent lyrics and edgy anti-lyrics, the poems in Poetry is Blood both rehearse and flout conventions of lyric poetry to speak with deep-rooted melancholy about family and tribal history, ancient walls, paintings, monuments, martyred poets, and genocidal madness. These pieces have the wide cross-stylistic reach of elegy yet fearlessly resist any redemptive rhetoric.


Guernica Editions (Essential Poets Series)


80 pages |

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Keith Garebian writes “I cannot forget the Golgotha we trod” and his new book length sequence of poems bears that out. Poetry is Blood is a passionate and riveting journey into Armenian genocide memory and trauma, vision, and fact. Garebian’s poems bear witness across generations, reminding us that poetic imagination makes the past urgent.

Peter Balakian

One by one, the numberless, nameless victims of the Armenian genocide are raised from the dead in Keith Garebian’s Poetry is Blood. Some are liberated triumphantly from systematic “seizures of autumn”; some are raised tenderly yet without false sentiment from “coffins of sunset.” And all are given—as we are given—words to speak with beyond those of “final vocabularies”; words that, a century after this most hideous example of hatred and horror, burn like “live coals on our tongues.”

Douglas Burnet Smith

Garebian is the son of a survivor and, along with his father, carries the scars, scars that find expression and witness in Poetry is Blood. The collection begins with an image that echoes throughout, and the poem sets an emotional tone that reverberates across individual poems.

Kathryn MacDonald


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About the author

Keith Garebian is a widely published, award-winning freelance literary, theatre, and dance critic, biographer, and poet. Among his many awards are the Scarborough Arts Council Poetry Award (2010), the Canadian Authors Association (Niagara Branch) Poetry Award (2009), the Mississauga Arts Award (2000, 2008 and 2013), a Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Award (2006), the Lakeshore Arts/Scarborough Arts Council Award for Poetry (2003), and an Ontario Poetry Society Award for Haiku (2003). He is the author of 7 collections of poetry.