Blue & Many Other Colours

Blue & Many Other Colours - poems by Jane Creighton

An alchemist of close attention, Creighton transmutes frustration and fascination with language's arbitrary structures into a renegade worldview. Cinema, pop hooks, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, nursery rhymes, and overheard malapropisms are blocks in her typesetter's case, each lead and gold at once, elements of infinite rearrangement. Collected in tribute to the late poet and visual artist — whose zeal for performance and unbounded experimentation left many of her poems unpublished — Blue & Many Other Colours now forms a touchstone for those who create without asking for permission or forgiveness, without expectation or resolution, with gleeful and ingenious ferocity.

Jane Creighton (1956-2012) (she) was a Toronto-based poet, visual artist, and typesetter. Her lifelong commitment to poetry, begun in her teens, was informed by a multiplicity of viewpoints and influences and centered on one simple yet powerful practice: the innovative rearrangement of words and phrases to produce idiosyncratic sounds and images. A lover of cinema, music, and art, she seamlessly blended popular culture with erudite wordplay. As early as the 1970s, she began engaging with the Language poets, whose experimental works are often sampled in her poems. Like her peers, Jane rallied against traditional poetic structures and delighted in drawing attention to the visual forms of language.

Spring 2021 · Poetry · Trade paperback · Editor: Andrew James Paterson · Consulting editor: Carol Barbour · Assistant editor: Jacqueline Valencia

Photo by Phyllis Creighton

Praise for Blue & Many Other colours

Once upon a time, thirty floors up, a bird flew into Jane Creighton’s mouth and wove a small perfect nest from L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E bits found in the library of thought: Ron Silliman, Steve McCaffery, Karen Mac Cormack, Alan Davies, Rae Armantrout, Lyn Hejinian, Charles Bernstein, set against nursery rhymes and fairy tales, interwoven with explosive, visionary movements of mind, semiotic threads, winding in Kafka, Marx Brothers, Simone de Beauvoir, Bugs Bunny, Oscar Wilde, Eurydice. A word-nest. A fur-covered cup. An inverted tip of the hat to pop music. A faster-than-light “messalicious” word-jazz-simulacrum-performance. An ecstatic aria, sung to a world where few hearts survive, reminding us that we are what we remember. Later, the bird took flight, left the nest behind.

—Karl Jirgens, publisher/editor of Rampike

...along came a spider & sat down beside her / & said “hey bitch.” Like the multitudinous pop voices Crieghton references throughout, these are “tunes” we know, in heavy rotation. “I went somewhere” and we’re in no hurry to go elsewhere. Ready to fall into glamour’s bra? Purple, prima diva / Snuggle down / paragraphs don’t fix my trouble / facts are an open door / but do we want to go in? Yes, lucky ones, we most certainly do. “I am a feast—Presto, bellissimo!” Welcome to “the museum of Janes.”

—KIRBY, author of What Do You Want To Be Called? and This Is Where I Get Off

With inspiration spanning myriad sources, from Bruce Springsteen and Annie Lennox to Wile E. Coyote and Boris & Natasha, the work of Jane Creighton is both deeply reflective and intrinsically light. Her poems showcase a dizzying talent, capable of weaving pop culture pastiche — coded imagery in film, television, and nursery rhymes; social expectations; and celestial happenings — into a single breath. In short, this book is a treasure of semiotic analysis run wild.

—Andrew Wilmot, author of The Death Scene Artist

In Blue & Many Other Colours, demands for making meaning have graciously vacated and a breezy kind of listening takes their place. This world is composed of little moments of lived experience, whirred together with packets of delightful language into observations perhaps too apt for our moment: "people who live in glass houses shouldn't grow thrones." I'd put it on faith that you'll find in Jane's work your own trove of little pleasures.

—Fan Wu, editor of Mourning Anthology and Himalayan Musk Rambler

In all that is left
the greatest part is that which is missing.

—Karen Mac Cormack, poet and adjunct professor at SUNY Buffalo

In Creighton’s Blue & Many Other Colours, the sky is always the fabled cerulean, “because nothing makes sense,” because it is a blue overpainting of something slightly kaleidoscopic, erotic and fraying. Her poems read as catalogues of surfaces: a delirious state where language feels weighty and tactile, held hostage to the material world. Creighton shows how these narrative ghosts glom on to the psyche and on to things—“fate is just a form of censorship” — and makes it impossible to forget how unconscious fantasy is handed down.

—Tiziana La Melia, author of The Eyelash and The Monochrome and winner of the the RBC Canadian Painting Competition