Feb 16, 2012
Monsieur Wikipedia informs us that bill bissett was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, attended Dalhousie University (1956) and the University of British Columbia (1963–1965), and dropped out of both because of a desire 'to live as a free agent, writer and painter unencumbered by any academic constraints.' He moved to Vancouver in 1958 and five years later set up blew ointment magazine. He later launched blewointment press, which has published volumes by Cathy Ford, Maxine Gadd, bpNichol, Ken West, Lionel Kearns and D. A. Levy, and many others. bissett is currently based in Vancouver and Toronto.
Known for his 'unique orthography' , 4 incorporating visual elements into his printed poetry, and 4 performing "concrete sound" poetry using sound effects, chanting, and barefoot dancing, he is often associated with the Shamanistic in literature. He also paints, and produces audio recordings. His work 'often involves humour, a sense of wonder and sentimentality, and political commentary.'
In 2006, Harbour Publishing put out radiant danse uv being, a tribute to bissett with contributions from more than 80 writers, including Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Patrick Lane, Steve McCaffery, and P. K. Page; and Carl Peters has just published a book called textual vishyuns: image and text in the work of bill bissett that analyses the poet's work.
I met with bill in Ottawa to talk about all of the above, starting with the blurring of boundaries.