As it very seldom happens that the rage of extemporary criticism inflicts fatal or lasting wounds, I know not that the Laws of benevolence entitle this distress to much sympathy. The diversion of baiting an author has the sanction of all ages and nations, and is more lawful than the sport of teasing other animals, because for the most part he comes voluntarily to the stake, furnished, as he imagines, by the patron powers of literature with resistless weapons and impenetrable armour, with the mail of the boar of Erymanth, and the paws of the lion of Nemea.-Samuel Johnson
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 7:41 AM
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
I'm not a big fan of book-biz year-end best-of lists in general, but there are better ways it can be done. Brian Palmu has listed his favourite books of 2014, but, refreshingly, these are books he read this year, rather than books published this year. He also doesn't stop after he's reached an arbitrary number of "best books." And, pleasingly to this household, he has included my book of essays and Rachel's Cottonopolis.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 5:31 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Welcome to your turnkey cul-de-sac,
where faux Tudors and ersatz cedar-sided
colonials sprawl cheek by jowl, and back
on a hemlock-shaded ravine: your own private
wilderness oasis and buffer against the berm-
baffled traffic beyond. This ticky-tacky
facsimile is the acme of blandeur:
gauche rooflines, cultured stone and off-the-rack
opulencies galore—all the doo-dads
and knick-knacks the status anxiety
of your executive lifestyle demands,
and priced to move fast. This high society
dream could be yours, but it won't last.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 7:38 AM
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Our poems are conversations in every meaningful sense. They are an exchange between ourselves and those parts of ourselves that belong to other people. Intimate whisperings, productive tensions. They challenge and tease us, lead us to say things that we have not thought to say. They gives the courage to have a self and to lose it too, which is surely the most we can ask of any conversation.
We are made up of voice and we are the relations between voices, inside and out. They are our judgement and our redemption, our ipseity and our selflessness, our origin and our promise. Perhaps their revelation is possible in real conversation. It may be, after all, what we live for. As Yeats says, "what do we know but that we face / one another in this place?" I suppose there will always be something ethereal and unreal about conversations as long as I feel as anxious about them as I do. But in every ghostly encounter--the ones we have with friends at Tim Hortons and the ones we listen for when we write--we recognize the voices we love and think: it is good of them to come back the way they do and share a part of themselves with us, good to hear them again. And our hearts warm to a quiet tryst of living voices, ones that, if we are lucky, will choir among themselves long afterward.
--Jeffery Donaldson, "Ghostly Conversations," from Echo Soundings: Essays on Poetry and Poetics
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 5:45 PM
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 1:50 PM
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Over on the Biblioasis blog, Amanda Jernigan has contributed a few words in praise of my book Track & Trace. It's nice to hear anyone appreciate my work, but it means an awful lot coming from Amanda, who is a superb poet in her own right and one the very best readers of poetry I've ever met. Nice also to hear her appreciating Seth's contribution to the book. I still can hardly believe I published a book designed by him. I'm a lucky fella.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 5:52 PM