The rebel Viking hairs that copper-threaded
my Semitic iron spade were first to fade
silver as fuck tomorrow ceded way to fretting
over pension and investments. Berserk
no more in middle age, nihilistic
abnegation whelmed by surging waves
of care for kin and colleagues' welfare,
I laid aside my pen and page, muted
rage and issued antiseptic grievance.
And grieve I did, my father, for you, whose
rogue and sober ways have forged me
even as your blood and the auburn hairs
of the grizzled beard you daily shaved bequeathed
to me the tempered mettle of my steel—
and debility in speaking what I feel.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Friday, May 27, 2016
My book Sum was published over a year ago. It got one review right away, in Quill & Quire, but not much noise about it since. Until today, thanks to reviewer Alison Goodwin in Arc Poetry Magazine. I don't usually comment on my reviews, but this one is uncommonly perceptive. I know how challenging it can be, how much work it takes, to say much of substance in a 500 word piece, having written a lot of them myself, and Goodwin, whose work I don't recall having seen before, really nails it here.
As a writer and editor, I've always felt that if you are conscientious about how you put your book together, it will lead a good reader to make connections and hear rhymes you didn't necessarily know were there to be heard. A lot of my critical work has involved ferreting out such correspondences (the title of my next prose collection will be Correspondences, in fact). There are a lot of intentional echoes and references in Sum and I arranged the poems deliberately to make the most of the book's motifs, to make the book itself a poem. Goodwin has picked out a couple of things I hadn't consciously considered before, which is a real treat.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 10:44 AM
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
I just found out that Sun, Wind & Wood, a 1977 NFB doc about alternative/renewable energy R&D on PEI is online. My father is featured prominently in it, and yours truly even makes a couple of cameos. Ultimately pretty grim, since we're only really starting to see the kind of investment of "social capital" in these technologies that my dad advocated as urgent forty years ago.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 8:20 AM
Sunday, March 20, 2016
It was always a matter of wonder to Vandover that he was able to recall so little of his past life. With the exception of the most recent events he could remember nothing connectedly. What he at first imagined to be the story of his life, on closer inspection turned out to be but a few disconnected incidents that his memory had preserved with the greatest capriciousness, absolutely independent of their importance. One of these incidents might be a great sorrow, a tragedy, a death in his family; and another, recalled with the same vividness, the same accuracy of detail, might be a matter of the least moment....
As he looked back over his life he could recall nothing after this for nearly five years. Even after that lapse of time the only scene he could picture with any degree of clearness was one of the greatest triviality in which he saw himself, a rank thirteen-year-old boy, sitting on a bit of carpet in the back yard of the San Francisco house playing with his guinea-pigs.
In order to get at his life during his teens, Vandover would have been obliged to collect these scattered memory pictures as best he could, rearrange them in some more orderly sequence, piece out what he could imperfectly recall and fill in the many gaps by mere guesswork and conjecture.
-Frank Norris, Vandover and the Brute
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 7:40 PM