As anyone still following this sleepy blog knows, my poems are being performed operatically at the Opéra National in Paris next month. I applied to the Canada Council for a travel grant, but learned today that my application, along with composer Erik Ross's, did not meet with success. So, as I did last time something like this happened, I've decided to use Indiegogo to raise funds to cover my expenses. Lots of quid pro quo on the table. Check it out.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Back from a couple of very well-attended and otherwise successful Baseline Press launches in Toronto and London. I was especially impressed by the turnout at the London event; a quite large venue space was packed to capacity. It's a city smaller than Halifax, but I couldn't imagine a similar-sized crowd turning up for an event here. So kudos to Karen Schindler and the other folks at Poetry London, who have clearly done much to cultivate a public for poetry in their city.
Pino Coluccio was on-hand at the Toronto event with his video camera and tripod. He kindly filmed and edited this little vid of my reading:
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 4:10 PM
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
In many ways, book reviewing is the most thankless of literary endeavours, but Arc Poetry Magazine has long been exceptionally good to practitioners of this unpopular dark art. I learned the other day, and it has just been officially announced, that I have won Arc's Critic's Desk Prize for my long review of Bruce Taylor's No End in Strangeness. This is the fourth time I've won the CDP, but the first time I've won it for a long review. Awfully glad to win it for this piece, if only because it gives a wee bit more press for Taylor's truly stupendous book. The review, slightly expanded, is also forthcoming in Career Limiting Moves, the book, which I just finished proofreading about an hour ago. Huzza!
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 2:36 PM
Very pleased to have two poems, "Swarm" and "Squalid," in the new issue of This magazine. Both poems have starlings in them, as it happens, but are otherwise quite different. The poems aren't up yet on the mag's website, but I am assured they are in the physical magazine, which I have yet to behold.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 12:54 PM
I have launches/readings coming up in Toronto, London and Charlottetown. Here be the details.
Toronto, Thursday November 7, 7:30 pm: Baseline Press and Frog Hollow Press launch, Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Ave.
London, ON, Friday November 8, 7:00 pm: Baseline Press launch, Organic Works Bakery, 222 Wellington St.
Charlottetown, Sunday November 17, 7:00 pm: Joint launch of Baffle and Rachel Lebowitz's Cottonopolis, The Big Orange Lunchbox, 77 University Ave.
If you're handy to any of these events, I'd love to see you there.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 5:24 AM
Monday, October 28, 2013
“At least let us not be lulled into such a notion of our entire security, as not to keep watch and ward, even on our best feelings. I have seen gross intolerance shown in support of toleration; sectarian antipathy most obtrusively displayed in the promotion of an undistinguishing comprehension of sects: and acts of cruelty, (I had almost said,) of treachery, committed in furtherance of an object vitally important to the cause of humanity; and all this by men too of naturally kind dispositions and exemplary conduct.”
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 3:18 PM
Sunday, October 20, 2013
The individuality of authors is no more a product of the West, the Enlightenment, or the bourgeoisie than is the individuality of apes, and has no more reason to be hushed up. As readers of others and readers of authors, we have always had an intuitive grasp of individuality that we enjoy and rely on and need to articulate more clearly as part of literary theory, and that we can now trace to the capacity ofr discriminating individuals and intentions evident in many animal species.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 6:14 PM
Much of Theory, since Roland Barthes's 1968 announcement of the "death of the author," has sought--or professed--to downplay the individual, using the rhetorical strategy of referring not to authors but to texts, as if they were self-created or the product only of "systems of cultural production." In fact even if they have nominally challenged the idea of the "single historically defined author," most critics have continued to discuss single historically definable authors in articles and books that they would be indignant not to have attributed to their own single historically defined selves.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 2:01 PM
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Explanations in terms of cultural difference tend to lack many links in their proposed causal chains. "Refletionist" explanations of art, which assume that art immediately reflects its time or place, pre-suppose either that ages have a unitary spirit or that different pursuits within a period are inevitably contesting representations of the age. Film critic David Bordwell notes that top-down explanations in terms of an era repeatedly begin from preconceived notions and are very selective in their presentation of supporting evidence, first in the historical data and then in the artistic works they choose and the details they choose from them. He also observes that scholars who commit themselves "to a search for a single overarching pattern tend not to treat historical actions as shaped by a multitude of factors." Such sweeping explanations turn people into passive conduits of the impulse of the age or participants in an unavoidable common debate, rather than treating individuals as different in susceptibility to influence, according to their capacities, positions, roles, aims, and interests.
--Brian Boyd, On the Origin of Stories
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 6:03 PM
Saturday, October 12, 2013
It's always a nice surprise to receive an acceptance for poems you forgot you sent out. Which happened to me the other day, as I got an email from the poetry editor of The Island Review, a newish and very sharp-looking online magazine, telling me that they wanted to publish two of the poems I sent them last December. (Nowhere near my personal record for elapsed time between submission and acceptance, which belongs to Elysian Fields Quarterly, who wrote me an acceptance message some three years after I sent them a clutch of baseball sonnets.)
TIR is based in Shetland and focuses on island-based and/or -themed writing. The poems they took are from Track & Trace, so nothing new to readers of my work, but I'm guessing that readers of TIR and readers of ZW are cohorts that don't much overlap, so it's nifty that these old poems have found a new home so far from my own shores. I'm also tickled about the publication because TIR's poetry editor is the redoubtable Jen Hadfield, whose work I admire a great deal.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 12:29 AM