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bill bissett (1939-       )

bill bissett was born in Halifax but has been associated with the avant garde literary scene in Vancouver since the early 1960s. As a vocal leader in all things counter-culture throughout the 1970s, bissett defied authority on many fronts. He has the distinction of being sited in both the B.C. Provincial legislature and in the federal parliament for his use of frank, if confrontational, language. In an infamous Paris Review interview shortly before he died, Jack Kerouac was asked who his favourite poet was; he named bissett (although the interviewers, Ted Berrigan et al, got the spelling of his name wrong). Long a purveyor of electrifying performances of his work that incorporate elements of shamanic chant and Jazz scat singing in equal measure, bissett continues to enthrall audiences wherever he performs. bissett began an aggressive small press publishing program in 1964 with the founding of blewointment.

      His publications, with a few exceptions, tend to be temporal lengths cut from the same bolt of cloth at regular intervals. His first substantial collection (and there is some question here about exact dates) was We sleep inside each other all (1966) which was produced in Toronto by bpNichol and Victor Coleman; it was followed by a steady stream of books, pamphlets and ephemera, including, most significantly Fires in the tempul or the jinx ship nd othr trips (1966), Lebanon voices (1967), The gossamer bedpan (1967), Awake in the red desert (1968), Of th land divine service (1968), Lost angel mining company (1969), SundayWork (1969), Liberating skies (1970), Drifting into war (1971), Nobody owns th earth (1972), Poems for Yoshi (1972), Pass th food release the spirit book (1973), Medecine my mouths on fire (1974), living with th vishyun (1974), Sailor (1978), Beyond even faithful legends (1980), Northern birds in color (1981), Seagull on Yonge Street (1983), Canada gees mate for life (1985), Animal uproar (1987), What we have (1989), Hard 2 beleev (1991), &c.