I'm doing very little freelance work these days because I'm doing a lot more other work than I used to, but one thing I did recently was serve as a reader for CBC's annual poetry contest. It's a complex process, with twelve readers each assessing over 500 entries (I read 515) and submitting a list of their top 12. There is some overlap, as I understand it--i.e., there aren't 6000+ entries, but over 2500--so they must aggregate the lists somehow to come up with their longlist of 30, which is then whittled to a shortlist of 5, before a winner is finally crowned. Three of my picks made the longlist, including my top pick, a poem called "Migrations" by a poet named Mark Wagenaar, who also had another entry make the longlist. I only learned the identity of the author when the list was published, because the judging is completely blind. Wagenaar's name and work wasn't known to me (which shows how little attention I pay to these contests normally, since he won it in 2015) previously, so this was one of the bonuses of doing this work. Wagenaar's poem, I will say, was easily my first choice, so I was disappointed that it didn't make the shortlist. But so it goes with contests.
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 7:43 AM
Sunday, April 1, 2018
I'm honoured to have a poem of mine, "Ego," read by PEI/west coast poet and chef Charlie Sark as part of this cool chain project, "Luna Mouths," in which an east coast poet records a poem by another east coast poet and posts it on the night of the full moon.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 6:11 AM
Sunday, January 28, 2018
quiet and deep, must have it in my soul,
deep in my soul. But let no noise be curbed,
let every restless thing escape control
and find its freedom in its own sweet groove!
Let eagles storm the sky, let the worm creep,
let all things move the way that they must move,
but let me rest awhile and let me sleep!
And do not chide me for my weary eyes,
nor scold because my hands have lost their grip.
Some arrows they have aimed still climb the skies,
some hands shall not for get their comradeship.
I must have sleep and leave the quickened clay
to answer if sleep bring another day!
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 10:43 AM
Thursday, November 9, 2017
This year, Tightrope Books has published, for the 10th anniversary of their Best Canadian Poetry in English series, a selection of 90 poems from the previous nine years. Molly Peacock and Anita Lahey have kindly included my poem "One and One" and excerpts from Rachel's Cottonopolis sequence. We recently got our contributors' copies and there are many other fine works included, no surprise.
This poem of mine has proven to be quite successful, as poems go, which is further proof that there can be no formula for writing "good poetry." As I said when I first posted it on CLM, I'm at a loss to account for where it came from or what, precisely, it might mean. Its cycling syntax and basic diction seem to have broken the Poetry Assessor machine, which scored the "One and One" at 9.4, which, I was told by the person running the Poetry Assessor's Twitter account, is--or was at the time--the highest recorded score for any poem run through the Assessor's software. FWIW, caveat emptor, etc.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 9:44 AM