Tonight the back cover of the novel on our kitchen table reads, ‘One story written by twenty-six top authors’. What a novel idea. Oh, isn’t English impossible, the same word with two completely different meanings? How would they do that; a chapter each or do they finish each other’s sentences or maybe there is actually twenty-six characters, all writing with their own voice? Don’t ask me, I haven’t even turned the book over to reveal the title; you will have to live in suspense.
Bill Bissett, a Canadian poet writes words as they sound. New Canadians find his writing a good resource to the learning of a new language because of this. My first introduction to his work was Nobody owns th earth, published in 1971 by Coach House Press. Now if spelling words by their sound is called phonetically shoot me.
The Studio Tour weekend went swimmingly although the lake is yet to cold for that.
Here are a few messages left on my magnetic poetry board.
It is always interesting hearing authors read their work, the cadence helps explain the texture of the writing. But Bill Bissett is a revelation. It isn’t so much a reading as a performance piece, concrete poetry, and as lyricist and vocalist for the band the Luddites he really was poetry in motion. The running narrative of his very monotone work was infused with a rhythm that had me dancing. His physical presence, the way his body moved in the reciting of his poems was integral to the appreciation of the whole performance.
I was a young fifteen when I first encountered his poetry. A bunch of us went to Toronto to stay with a friend’s Uncle and his friend. We were so young and they were so kind and the learning curve of alternative life styles steep. A weekend I remember with great fondness. Special oh so special, did I just re-write a song?
So, how did I land up with a book of his poetry? We skated at the Civic Centre Square, it was December after all, and the train so crowded we sat on our suitcases in the isle. But where did I buy that book? I think we actually went to the Coach House Press, which was then a small publishing company that was an old coaching house. So, not quite straw strewn floors but the building was timber, the lighting primitive, the ambiance inspiring.