Just got word that Track & Trace is going into a second printing, just six months after the first one. Thanks to all those who've helped make my litel bok the modest success it is!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Another terrific interview, this one with Michael Lista (conducted by Jacob Mooney), whose Bloom I'm really looking forward to reading. Like now.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 6:13 AM
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Very cool. A song by Raccoon Bandit. Lead singer Fraser McCallum grew up down the road from me; I used to babysit him and his siblings. And the farmer in the video is none other than poet John MacKenzie.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 6:49 AM
Hello. I've been assigned to slaughter
your darlings. Don't worry, you won't feel
a thing. I'll gently lead you to water,
then shove your head under.
Slasher cum surgeon, I wield steel
and feed the fat to the hogs.
I drain and pave over your marshes and bogs.
Your story's our bastard daughter.
I'm not bothered that you don't credit me as the father.
It's all part of our barter.
Enough to know that I've cured your disorder.
Most limbs are stronger a foot or two shorter.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 5:06 AM
Monday, March 29, 2010
He accused me of being mentally
lazy. Which wasn't true, not fully,
because what I am is fundamentally
lazy. Which means that my ass
has a taproot and that my ass-
umptions are mired in a morass
of self-regarding half-truths.
Blame it on my uncouth
environs. Blame it on youth
or the views of my parents.
Blame it on my aberrant
behaviour, the apparent
offshoot of corrupt institutions,
a flawed constitution
of country and corps, the dissolution
of my generation's esprit,
an overfond embrace of entropic ennui—
but buddy, don't blame it on me.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 7:35 AM
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The slave revolt in morality begins when ressentiment itself becomes creative and gives birth to values: the ressentiment of natures that are denied the true reaction, that of deeds, and compensate themselves with an imaginary revenge. While every noble morality develops from a triumphant affirmation of itself, slave morality from the outset says No to what is "outside," what is "different," what is "not me"; and this No is its creative deed. This inversion of the value-positing eye-this need to direct one's view outward instead of back to oneself-is of the essence of ressentiment: in order to exist, slave morality always first needs a hostile world; it needs, psychologically speaking, external stimuli in order to act at all--its action is fundamentally reaction.The reverse is the case with the noble mode of valuation: it acts and grows spontaneously, it seeks its opposite only so as to affirm itself more gratefully and triumphantly -- its negative concept "low," "common," "bad" is only a subsequently-invented pale, contrasting image in relation to its positive basic concept -- filled with life and passion through and through -- "we noble ones, we good, beautiful, happy ones!" When the noble mode of valuation blunders and sins against reality, it does so in respect to the sphere with which it is not sufficiently familiar, against a real knowledge of which it has indeed inflexibly guarded itself: in some circumstances it misunderstands the sphere it despises, that of the common man, of the lower orders; on the other hand, one should remember that, even supposing that the affect of contempt, of looking down from a superior height, falsifies the image of that which it despises, it will at any rate still be a much less serious falsification than that perpetrated on its opponent -- in effigy of course -- by the submerged hatred, the vengefulness of the impotent. There is indeed too much carelessness, too much taking lightly, too much looking away and impatience involved in contempt, even too much joyfulness, for it to be able to transform its object into a real caricature and monster.
...While the noble man lives in trust and openness with himself ... the man of ressentiment is neither upright nor naïve nor honest and straightforward with himself. His soul squints: his spirit loves hiding places, secret paths and back doors, everything covert strikes him as his world, his security, his refreshment; he understands how to keep silent, how not to forget, how to wait, how to be provisionally self-deprecating and humble.-On the Genealogy of Morals 1:10
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 3:51 PM
Monday, March 22, 2010
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Thursday, March 18, 2010
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I'm off to Peterborough today, via Montreal. At last, here's the audio from my epic session with the youth of Peterborough last week (couldn't visit them this week as they're off on March break). Like I said before, it was an absolutely incredible day for me, one of my best as a writer.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 2:56 AM
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
At the Kubo Lounge, 413 George Street North, 8:00pm
Admission is Free
With music by Mike Wallace (Muddy Hack) and Jordan Mack (The Birthday Boys)
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 6:05 PM
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Monday, March 15, 2010
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Sunday, March 14, 2010
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Friday, March 12, 2010
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 11:19 AM
David Kosub has posted a very good overview of the poetry publishing scene over at Speaking of Poems.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 10:47 AM
The other night at my Pivot reading, I had a peek at a copy of the new CNQ, which Shane Neilson had brought along. I'm looking forward to sitting down with my copy when I get home. It's a special issue, with several essays on and poems by the inimitable John Smith, one of our country's most unjustly underrated poets. I hope this issue, curated by my fellow PEIslander David Hickey, goes some distance towards correcting that problem. Some content from the mag, including a revised and expanded version of an old essay of mine on Smith, is now up at the CNQ site.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 4:48 AM
I'm in Toronto as I blog, a few hours away from boarding a train to Montreal en route to Halifax. An incandescent little trip it's been. Terrific, well-attended readings in Montreal and Toronto, both of which featured a trio of refreshingly varied writers. But perhaps the best of all was yesterday. On barely 3 hours sleep, I boarded a 6:30 am bus for Peterborough. I was greeted there by two teachers from Peterborough Collegiate Vocational School (a high school), who very thoughtfully provided English muffin egg sandwiched and a tall black coffee. We then went to the school, where I proceeded to read and talk to four different groups of students (7 classes in all, I believe). I have always loved events like this. The audience is challenging, because you can't take their interest in what you're doing for granted. But it's also a delightful audience because they have very few preconceptions of what's what and many of them are very eager to listen and learn and they often have piercing observations and thoughtful questions to make. I wasn't disappointed yesterday. Some very sharp young adults in that place. And, astonishingly, I offloaded 25 books--some to teachers, but most to students. I actually didn't have enough copies of Track & Trace, Unsettled, or Anything but Hank! and will have to mail some when I get home. One more strike against the naysayers who think poetry has no public.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 4:36 AM
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Been busting my ass this weekend to finish a big freelance assignment. And now it's done my reward is: travel and readings! Off on the train to Montreal tomorrow. Really looking forward to the first reading in my old neighbourhood (Mile End) since T&T came out. Then on to Toronto to read at Pivot, which should be awesome, if anywhere near the number of people who say they're coming show up. Then to Peterborough for an epic day of reading and talking to high school students. Then back. Five nights, three cities. Booyah! Not that long after I get back, I'm returning to Peterborough for a reading with my good friends from Littlefishcart Press. More on this to come, my pretties.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 5:37 PM
Saturday, March 6, 2010
You were sometimes slow, George, caught offguard
by my crisp clip as I approached your post
and hit the curb before you could shake out
your slouch and lift your red sign to stop
the traffic's flow. So what? You always had
a quiet word, a smile for my serious
son in his stroller. Though I can't say
I knew you, George--you were one of the many
we all meet fleetingly, albeit daily,
as we hurry on our hustled way, about
whom there is no thing of substance we can say--
it is probable that you were not among
the class this world considers gifted,
that all you did was in the same slow,
ungraceful way, that you made no great
addition to our city's glory.
So what, George? If all you did until the day
your heart caught you offguard and felled you, sure
as would a speeding car, was show up
and do no harm, well sir, that is a lesson
that might give the investment bankers
and plastic surgeons of America
pause, before they step out from the curb.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 5:59 PM
Friday, March 5, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Asking Questions Indoors and Out Anne Compton's first two collections marked the arrival of a major voice in Canadian literature. In this, her third book of poetry, she brings her crafted, narrative lines into focus on the mysterious metaphysical nature of everyday life. Spirit-haunted yet critical, and meticulous in her observations, Compton opens the immediate world by asking it questions, searching for answer to the way in which we live.
Some good news I got a little while ago was made public today. Track & Trace has been shortlisted for the Atlantic Poetry Prize, along with Anne Compton's Asking Questions Indoors and Out and Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaasen's Lean-To. Congratulations to both Anne and Tonja.
My wee book is definitely the dark horse in this race. Not only has Anne won a GG, but both of her previous collections won the Atlantic Prize. And a suite of Tonja's poems, included in this volume, won the CBC Literary Award. As readers of this blog know, I'm a man of many character flaws, but modesty isn't one of them. So believe me when I say I'm a bit surprised to have made this shortlist, given the strong field this year. Besides my fellow nominees, I can think of a slew of collections off the top of my head that deserve the nod at least as much as mine does:
Atlantic Poetry Prize
Fitzhenry and Whiteside
A native of Prince Edward Island, Anne Compton is Writer-in-Residence at UNB Saint John, where she also teaches English literature and creative writing courses and is the director of the Lorenzo Reading Series and the Backtalk Series. She has contributed to critical discussions on 19th-century and early 20th-century aesthetics; 17th-century metaphysical poetry; Canadian literature and Maritime literature. Her poetry is published nationally and internationally, and her reviews appear in Canadian Literature, Fiddlehead, and other journals. She won the Atlantic Poetry Prize in 2003 for Opening the Island and in 2006 forProcessional, which also received the 2005 Governor General's Award for poetry. In 2008 she was honoured by the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in the Literary Arts.
Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen
In her third book of poetry, Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen writes of places made home, navigating between fixed points of origin and the flotsam that encloses, between the longevity of marriage and parenthood, and the temporary of camping trips, renovations and hospital stays. Across the collection, the poet's lyricism finds a lilt and repetition that firmly pegs while leaving one side open to the unlikely and unexpected.
Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and now lives on a hill in Halifax with her husband James and their three boys. Her first collection, Clay Birds, won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Poetry in 1996. Her second collection, Ör, was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award in 2004. Her series "August: An Anniversary Suite" won a CBC Literary Award for poetry in 2005 and was published as a chapbook by Gaspereau Press. She's read in collaboration with Norman Adams on cello and has exhibited her work in the Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax.
Track & Trace
The poems in Zachariah Wells's second collection range from childhood to dimly foreseen events in the future; they idle on all three of Canada's coasts, travel the open road, take walks in the city and pause on the banks of country streams and ponds. Both elegiac and celebratory, Track & Trace considers how we love, how we shape our lives and how we are eroded and drifted by time and circumstance.
Zachariah Wells is also the author of Unsettled, a poetry collection about his experiences in the Canadian Arctic. He is co-author of the children's book Anything But Hank! and editor of Jailbreaks: 99 Canadian Sonnets. Originally from PEI, Wells has travelled and lived all over Canada, working a variety of jobs in the transportation sector. He presently lives in Halifax, where he works as a freelance writer and editor and serves the travelling public aboard Via Rail's Ocean Ltd.
Asking Questions Indoors and Out
Anne Compton's first two collections marked the arrival of a major voice in Canadian literature. In this, her third book of poetry, she brings her crafted, narrative lines into focus on the mysterious metaphysical nature of everyday life. Spirit-haunted yet critical, and meticulous in her observations, Compton opens the immediate world by asking it questions, searching for answer to the way in which we live.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 3:20 PM
Monday, March 1, 2010
I'll be doing readings in Montreal and Toronto next week. Do stop in if you're in the area:
8 p.m. at the Press Club
850 Dundas Street West
Hosted by Carey Toane
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 3:32 PM