Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Great Canadian Writer's Craft Interview: bill bissett

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bill bissett

This spring, students from Malvern Collegiate Institute's Writer's Craft class conducted interviews with Canadian poets as part of a class project. The interviews will posted on The Great Canadian Writer's Craft page on Open Book throughout June and July. In this interview, poet bill bissett speaks with students Anoush and Mackenzie.

Hello bill bissett! How are you? We are Anoush and Mackenzie from Malvern Collegiate Institute. We are both very privileged to have the chance to interview you, and of course we are very excited! We hope you enjoy answering our questions, and we look forward to hearing from you!

You started writing and publishing during the 1960′s a period of nationalism in Canada. In office earlier 60′s was Lester B. Pearson, later, Pierre Trudeau. This is when universal Canadian healthcare was introduced, as well as the new Canadian flag. Do you feel that there is anything Canadian about your work?

Can you explain your style of writing? It is much different to anything I’ve read. You reduce full words to simple sounds that get across the meaning you want, but what’s the use? Do you have specific techniques?

You usually have a good balance of drawings and words in your work, specifically in thers sumthing sew familyar abt life. What effect are you trying to attain by this?

In what fukan theory; a study uv language, what is the thought behind the placement of your words to make shapes or pictures? Is there meaning connected more to each poem specifically or to the book as a whole?

Can you draw this interview? OR How should the reader experience your writing?
Are you satisfied with your progress? What makes your writing a different experience than others?

dere anoush n mackenzie thanks
veree much 4 yr great qwestyuns

i think universal health care was
introdusd in 57 lets chek on that
tho but def with lester pearson on th
world stage working tord th establish
ment with othr leedrs uv th state uv
israel n various pees initativs canada
was thn dewing it was mor a period i wud
say uv intrnashyunal involvment without
being reliant on england or th yunitid
states evn with mulroney th stand
against apartheid yu cud go aneewher
in th world thn n b treetid well
bcoz canada had an amayzing n brillyant
reputaysyun in world affairs now not
sew much
in th late sixtees i did write a pome calld
“th canadian” wch talkd abt a
lot uv how much we had 2 live up 2 n still
improov sew much mor “…we share th
bounty on ths iron horse” th plight
uv native peopuls “TH INDIANS WER
“KILLR WHALE” “love uv life th 49th
parallell” how hard it was n is 2 mature 2
th next steps uv innr n soshul justis n
independens living next door 2 th unitid
states agen not sew much abt
nashyunalism i wud say but
abt sovreigntee a continuing struggul
heer whn bush invadid iraq we wud not
go in th war with him against irag cretian
was xcellent prime ministr we knew it
was th wrong countree 2 in
vade thees politikul decisyuns ar
diffikult as we have great ties as well sew
familial ekonomik cultural with th
yewnitid states

i think nowun can b satisfied with his or
her progress thers alwayze sew much
mor 2 go n we know that yes places n
realms uv life n conscious
ness we have not yet tappd or x
ploord deeply n far enuff

i like 2 write in ovr 7 approaches 2 writing
sound poetree wher th
emphais is on sound chanting non
narrative repitishyuns sew manee

vizual poetree wher th main emphasis or
complementaree emphasis is th shape uv
th pome howevr arrivd at shape
shaping breth being

narrativ storee telling politikul rom
antik lyrikul his her storikul meta
physikul spiritual fuseyun poetree
in wch sum evn manee approaches 2
writing may apeer in th same pome
uv kours thats mor thn 7 now that
iuv writtn 2 novels novel n hun
gree throat i see evn mor approach

peopul dont reelee have 2 write in
squares or rektangul ther nevr
was a have 2 4 that not evn ekonomee
uv space is enuff uv a defens 4 it ther ar
sew manee wayze all wayze all wayze

spelling i reelee like 2 spell as much
as i can how th words sound in
that partikular pome that specifik pome
korrekt sp n or grammar is
not necessaree 4 poetree wch is an
independent art form n has alwaye
sins its insepsyun usd n utilizd sew
manee forms sew manee approaches

th eye in th lettr th lettr in th image
th image in th pickshur manee lang
wages at theyr beginning wer pik
togaphik in erleer chinees writing 4
xampul th word 4 harvest was a prson
n wheet sew drawings con
tain lettrs reelee n lettrs have draw
ings infinitlee inside them

i want 2 show all that as much as
possibul 2 enhans th reeding x
periens th sound uv it reedrs
encouragd 2 reed allowd 2 partisi
pate n 2 see n feel th taktilitee uv
langwage sew th page th sheet
uv papr has as much showing thru
as possibul

sew as in sum places in what fukan
theree th words akt like a line mooving
thru space as a drawing wud sew
sumtimes theyr th same n meening thrs
way 2 much meening we ar all coverd in
narrativs its a hed shakr shake it off th
shakuls kleerans a
lot uv it wants 2 go yes as in my pome
“meening” in drifting in2 war n othr
places wher realms byond binaree nouns
n meening ar celebratid “paris”
& “stars” in novel n “esther wiliams is
still swimming” n “keep th lite on 4 us
weul b back” in hungree throat n uv
kours “othr times see sew soft in
breething seer inside ” th long also
sound pome from novel

n also konkreet poetree or lettr texting
wher th linear meening can
b kleerlee secondaree or evn not at
all 4 th plesyurs n mystereez uv words
lettrs on lettrs within lettrs on lettrs aftr
all its all abt lettrs yes thanks a lot 4
thees xcellent qwestyuns
lettrs image
on words tel telt r r r les
t baleful eyez
uv th whale all th
we ar in
sumtimes hardning jelee
uv our minds
heers th lettr w an m
upside down a whale
like us oftn

bill bissett born on lunaria sum 400 yeers ago approximatelee
in lunarian time was sent 2 erth on th first chlldrns
shuttul from th at that time troubuld planet landid
in halifax moovd 2 vancouvr at 17 moovd 2 london
ont wher i was part uv luddites altrnativ rock band
thn toronto wher ium poet in residens at workman
arts n recording with pete dako wanting always 2
xploor words n sounds n image in th writing n th
painting how thos ar intrtwind th pickshur image
n th lettr showing paintings at th secret handshake
art galleree toronto

most recent books novel from talonbooks
first novel n out now hungree throat 2nd novel also
from talonbooks n RUSH what fukan theree from
book thug re relees uv poetic theree work

most recent cds ths is erth thees ar peopul
w pete dako n deth interrupts th dansing with
pete dako red deer press luddites 86­91 remix &
nothing will hurt with pete dako

Anoush is from the distant planet Mars but now lives in the Mickey Mouse Club House. She is a descendant of an alien and a human girl and was sent on a mission to find happiness far from home. Daily she sits and waits for information about the rest of her life. Art, design, and the like are what she slips into when left alone to her own devices. At night she dines with Mickey and the crew on broccoli and waffles.

(Read in crazy wizard-like voice please and thank you) There is a rare creature found on planet Earth. The Mackenzie was birthed at the end of an Age during the cycle of Pisces as the Earth began to thaw. She was raised by a wild dogue de bordeaux named Bozworth and was recently taken in by a young couple with two monkey-like sons. The Mackenzie soon had a revaluation that she was actually taken in as a slave! The man and wife would leave her and Bozworth with the two devilish, monkey boys for the evening. As they terrorize her but once their parents got home they would turn into the angels everyone thought that they were…but the Mackenzie knew the truth. She is still living with the couple and the monkey-like children today and you can often find her in her natural habitat, the dark cave on the top of Victoria mountain. The Mackenzie and Bozworth are currently plotting an escape to study within Ryerson on how to bring life to a dark world.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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The Great Canadian Writer's Craft

Each year, students from Malvern Collegiate Institute's Writer’s Craft class interview Canadian poets as part of a class project. The students study Canadian poetry under the collaborative tutelage of teacher John Ouzas and poet a.rawlings. We are delighted to feature the interviews on Open Book.

Go to The Great Canadian Writer's Craft’s Author Page