Article in The Buzz, May 2005
Islander Zachariah Wells has released his first book of poetry entitled Unsettled (Insomniac Press).
Zachariah describes the inspiration for his poetry: “I first went North in May of 1996 for a summer job as an airline cargo handler to help pay my steadily increasing university tuition. In early 1998, I started writing poetry in a committed manner. In 1999 I graduated and went North full time. Given this coincidence of vocation and avocation, it should come as no surprise that I was writing a lot of poems about the Arctic. In the earliest stages of my apprenticeship, it was a lot of very bad poems, though a couple of pieces originally drafted in 1998 have survived in modified form and are included in Unsettled, the book that resulted from my seven-year on-again-off-again love-hate affair with the territory of Nunavut.
“The book is as much a record of my voyages in poetry as it is of my boreal travels and travails. There are a lot of experiments with form and prosodic technique, a lot of dialogue with past masters and present-day practitioners. To me, this is crucial, as the best poetry usually has two subjects; while a poem is nominally about a person/event/object/perception, it is also fundamentally about the language from which it is built—it is about being poetry. This is what distinguishes it from what the poet Peter Van Toorn calls ‘utility prose.’”
Zachariah Wells is a native of PEI. He has lived in Ottawa and Montreal and worked as an airline freight handler on Baffin and Cornwallis Islands. He currently lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.