I haven't been doing a lot of freelance work of late because I'm very busy these days in my role as Chief Shop Steward in Unifor Local 4005. But the other day Carmine Starnino asked me to adapt a Facebook post about my adventures in real estate into a web piece for The Walrus. That piece is now up. I got into the specifics and details (although some were cut for length) because I think these are too often things that are not talked about, things it's almost taboo to talk about--but they're things we should be talking about. Class has become a really sticky wicket. It's very strange to be, as I am, simultaneously an artist, a seasonal grey-collar worker (who has been on EI almost every year since 2003), a labour rights activist, and a landlord. My priorities are often in conflict and are very hard to integrate. I certainly didn't cobble all these things together on purpose; it's symptomatic of how a person needs to hustle these days to get ahead--even if one is born with a lot of advantages.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Monday, August 8, 2016
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Loyal CLM readers may remember a much talked-about reading I was doing in February at the Pivot reading series. I meant to post the podcast when it went up last month, but it slipped my mind till now. Click play to hear Jeff Blackman, Pat Warner and, finally, meself.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 2:06 PM
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Bill, I know you loved driving down to the sea
from that crazy river-abounding town,
as all things that flow—and all things flow
quoth Heraclitus—ineluctably must. So here I be
on this beach doing what I like doing best
(because I too, pressed by the mouths I feed
and wearied by work, have turned from poesy,
which is to say it has abandoned me):
I am stacking one red rock atop another,
taking them as they come, fitting them snug
with no chisel or hammer, giving to each face
a bit of batter, so that one stone supports
the stones it leans upon and settles firm
against the hearting. Which is a stupid
futile stay against entropy, since even
the cliffs at my back are one good storm
from crumbling, but fuck it, Bill, it should
withstand at least one tide, and it served
no sensible function in the first place, now did it?
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 2:21 PM
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
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.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 8:42 AM
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