Track & Trace, Zachariah Wells (Biblioasis)

Wells' wintery state of mind

Zachariah Wells (reading this Thursday with Wayne Clifford and Amy Jones, 6pm at The Company House) frequently tunes to the world in winter, searching out its subtleties with heightened sense, a pursuit implied by title, design and illustrations by Seth. The PEI native's rural settings are recognizably Maritime, and the power of the landscape to shape thoughts is often evoked, especially "Field of Floes." Too often, though, he loses sight of the whole poem to focus on a rhyme scheme. It may be a goal of the project, but it buries the other strengths in the writing. For example, in "After the Blizzard," Halifax emerges as place and mindset, where special mettle, especially in winter, is required. The idea is unfortunately undermined by the rhyme, particularly this couplet ending the poem: "When life's a hundred thousand times too short/why do we settle for scrap, shred, crumb, ort?" An ort? Seeking the dictionary, the poem's impact and view fades. An antidote to the scheming, is titled, ironically, "Rhythm." In it, Wells recalls listening to the rhythm of his mother knitting winter wear. Alliterative and rhyming words, not so self-consciously arranged, become the sound of the coming cold. Wells works wonders when he writes like this.

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