Adeena Karasick

bill bissett
Interview
bill.jpg (199522 bytes) untitled painting © 2000 by bill bissett

eezee street nevr cums he sd  thats okay  keep
breething eye sd  thers no prfeksyun heer  ths
is aftr all  erth

feb 28. 2000   toronto

no fighting in maravariaa  zatria neithr wher we childrn combd th orange lites evree morning creating watr  erth such a testing place  4 what letting go uv th cykuls uv ko dpendenseez th empire uv th self nd or sum wun elsus intensyuns on 2 or 4 wun  not home 4 that its hard not 2 think uv paradochez staring in2 th lizard pools looking  deepr inside th vallee uv fire   l'etranger de trop sans tropé   if th grammar uv manee peopuls kulturs  tho not all  based sew much on binaree nosyuns uv behaviour n th transitiv verb konstrukts  n oposish yunal entiteez uv abstrakt nouns  wer diffrent thn they ar  wud peopuls behaviour b diffrent  prhaps mor kindlee loving konnekting or  ar th grammar systems refleksyuns uv th naytures uv th brain  manee x perts agree with or    th beleef in charaktr  in self wud drop away   fall

Adeena Karasick: Many of the covers of yr books bear the signature of your brilliant painting – the incredible almost pointillistic flows of colour, a vertiginous mounting of fiery particles that form themselves into present non-present figure(s) that then dissipate into their context. In some ways i see your writing participating in this kind of veiling, of visible invisibility. I’ve heard you use the term “molekular dissolv” to describe some of this process. How does this differ from how you would describe the more language-focused writing that you do.

bill bissett:  yes  sew xciting  th paintings n th writing both flames uv th same n diffrent fires  same nd diffrent  each  both and  narrativs seem sew opn sew deklar atoree th intensyun n th moovment s  sew allignd  sew entwind sew indis tinguishabul  during peek periods   moments uv our lives  in th writing paintings  whn presens n intensyunalitee can seem joind  joining  they ar also at th same times yerning 2 entr othr modes  all wayze nd ar alred ee inside th multiplisiteez  th hiddnesses  as each event is alredee chang ing uv kours carrees th seeds uv its own demise at th end uv th beginnings ar mor beginning s sum acts ar sew definit  its not always th ekstasee uv joyousness that provides thees mythikul yunyuuns oftn great n tragic pains uv kours gathr n carree ths data irrefutabulee  not opn reelee 2 eye uv th beholdr  yet sew manee aspekts uv events that ar surelee mor prson al change n cum in2 being as they ar alredee disapeering from ther  sew its a lot 2 dew with th strokes  th molekular dissolvs in th paintings as well as in a lot uv th writing  yes   whats sew pure   purê   arint we all uv each othr  dew i want 2 meet sumwun whos pure  see if theyr reelee ther

yes  wch 4 me all wayze implikates th grammar  spellings changing as  nuance implikaysyuns shift  altr  retain its theyr xpressiv being  yes langwage also not statik  diffrent spellings reflekting elusidating different ranges    ovr time it being plural parts uv itselvs resonate mor enchance   partik ularize mor aspekts uv th shiftings   uv kours creating manee aspekting awarenesses espeshulee uv thos realms wch ar not offishulee in  th statements  thru th spelling behaving mor n mor phoentikalee  we can  see demonstraysyuns uv how peopul oftn dont reelee meen what they ar saying n sew on  inklude othr radikalee diffrent opsyuns  sum evn kontra   dicktoree 2 or with th surface meenings   sew that th voisings radiate n within spreding in2 a largr hemispheer thn th binaree duelistik dualistic meenings spheers uv opposits as positid by th offishul uttrances  n xtend  ing sound radianses mor infinitelee  sens giving way 2 mor mewsik  as th  world uv meening turns upon itselvs   sum words fairlee staybul begin 2  see how phonetisizing they can b mor bcuming b c d ee th miming mim  etika comforts n arrange us  untie us  f  g  h  eye  j  k  l  m  n  o  p q  r  s t  u  v  w  x  y  z  not sew konscious th tropay  as parts uv being  speech

AK: We’ve talked at great length about your “unconventional” grammar, syntax, spelling; how you never use capital letters, nor traditional orthographic elements. Over the years, critics have offered that it is a method of inscribing difference, alterity within a body of “normalized” semiotic / syntactic structures; a de-colonializing gesture…i like to see your continuously modulating spelling as a reminder that language itself is not a static system but an ever-shifting vibrant body of desire, and thereby reinscribing the notion of a “a utopian poetics” to that which must be seen as a process, not as some permanent fixed site or totalizing system. {{to stay “mostlee liquid in th possibul gardn we didn’t reelee create”}}.Over time, does the relevance of this strategy, if i can call it that, change for you?

bb:  yes  kemeny babineau whn i was writr in residens at  UNB wrote n  askd   me abt poetiks lettrs  charaktrs  beleef strukshurs uv storee telling  n sound fuseyun poetree  his asking promptid th  b leev abul  ch ar ak trs 1 n  2  uv kours  direkt speech n its illusyuns also occurs in mattrs uv publik programs   such as publik housing  universal health care n soshul  programs  we dew need 2 dekonstrukt th evasiv rhetorik uv sum leedrs in    ordr 2 see heer wht they ar reelee saying   poetree is publik  n prsonal  n poetree is poetree th lettrs  char ak tra ar leev abul  b leev a bul  b lov abul   prsonal n atrange that meen ing also meen a meen spiritid nastee par xample wher is th background n 4ground thn in anee absolite sens  in writing n  in painting th kontinuous line drawing yes uv kours like evreething langwage is nevr pure a partikul fullee onlee itself t beers is parts uv tracings uv othr partikuls we share cum 2gethr n leev  we ar always leev a bul mono gamee no less diffikult thn th branches impossibiliteez impassabiliteez uv singul or polygamous we all deel details howevr each posishynd with moods  modes uv nihilism  sweet empteeness yern    ings 4 sumthing els  serenitee n devosyun 2 th art ma king laydee uv shalot is can b waiting 4 god dess es  time is veree elegant  n th continuous line drawing includes all space equals all space  evn with th seeming infinitee uv strokes sounds  gestures jestrs jestrday eye was such an eezee gamositee 2  whatevr  ther ar moments n whn sumthing is missing  ium not  kontinu breething    yes also th empire uv meening or akshul delusyun uv powr based sumwher els sum othr kultur with meeningbased on tran sitiv verb konstrukts  n in konsert with othrs with being can b not imperialist also in relaysyunships  puritee is a veree dangrous konstrukt as well  sew also uni versalisms  grammar based   perhaps not brain based  n th akting upon binareee  op posishyunals creates th xklusyunaree practices  sum top scientists say that if th agressiv grammar reflekts th brains thn with th diminishing uv th reptilian fold on th brain we may bcum mor capabul uv pees  howevr ths has not yet happend n cud b a bad rap 4 reptiles   ar they always wanting 2 eet  2 own evreething they  x periens  we may grow out uv   we can need 2 develop mor flexibilitee mooving from genre 2 genre evn as they may evaporate   th spirits talking uv love lyrics what ium kompelld 2 write pointid egalitarian guaranteez needing 2 b in place  or evreethings bullshit  peopul dying on th streets we ar all part uv  our lowring uv taxes on welthee n coporaysyuns creating th cuts on soshul programs have put ther evreething is intrkonnektid  beautifulee n tragikalee n th seeming kontent free sound poetree  entrs mor n mor deeplee in2 th molekular dissolv each prson runs his or her own  konstrukt n not that uv anee othrs  th delusyuns uv th empire  self defind by othrs th beleef in self charaktr wud drop fall away bhind th moovment uv th General Bodee

AK: You’ve had some of the most amazing titles of almost any poet i know, in your, what’s it now 70 books?! Some of my faves being “medicine my mouth’s on fire”, your upcoming “b  leev  abul  ch  ar  ak  trs”, “th wind up tongue”, “inkorrect thots”, and especially your most recent “scars on the seehors” as for me it really brings to mind the sutures, lesions, wounds, or as you might say “scabrous”, “kreesd slit[s]”, disfigurements inherent within your writing. What prompted this one?

bb:  th taktilitee uv th text lokates me  focuses me entrances me  homes me 4 a whil hones me  uplifts  n meditates me  with th diffrent spellings  different taktile   sen saysyuns  inferenses  lifts  screets n xposes th mattr what is  nothing love lettrs 4 a passing comet love lettrs in th and  yes  a konscious trope   always great aftr a fab ulous film  eyez mouth  yes fr sure what yu say in yr next qwestyun th life realism uv that as it happns all th time   th konnekting  n thn th chow bello bella well uv kours ther is ther a portabul howevr al be it klosure   sew oftn in scenes shifting occurs b4 th konnekting  ths is both veree spiritual and zanee th konnekting shifting can b tuff  n fun  xaktlee n not    langwage poetree  sound konkreet visual poetree a wayze around convenshunal n thr4 hopefulee freeing uses uv langwage that evn may help us in our lives th knowledg uv what is konscious  unkonscious is sew changing can strategeez imply intensyunalitee  it may also b a prsons diffrent use uv langwage  not diffrens uv a main streem  but what it is 4 that prson  langwage  taste n clusters

AK: Not only is your work imbued with witty puns, provocative spelling, neologisms, re-assembled or invented words [and i’m thinking here of “tormentine”, “sacrumult”, “lingrsong”], but often you intercalcate your poems with different languages -- in scars on th seehors’s “a trip 2 th moon” you speak of “avant lunaseez th carp ay suave th tango notre vies / s’illumine   a court sequens   not curt sequins”.  What’s up with that? Does this connect somehow to that a language in itself is never pure, that it’s always contaminated with otherness?  Is it a way to resist “repliikating” the language of the empire …

bb:  th qwestyuns n asnwrs all run 2gethr  play nicelee   run skip  discours 2gethr fluid merg in2 each othr  th kontinuing qwestyun  dew th abstrakt nouns based on opposits or mor sukkintlee  propelling opposits 2 th 4 brain  cum from motor celestul aktiviteez uv th brain  soul  or langwage itselvs  nd how we play with it reveer it  actualizes our serching  candelabra uv politikul spiritual fusyun sound vizual  narra tiv  his her storikul   non narrativ  n b4 rime was ther mor or less time is that 2 hypo  thetikul   yes intensyunalitee   is it  nostalgia 4 what nevr was  what we ar told usd 2 happn  hypnosis    un interruptid by going 2 spirit   th silvr ebonee boat ride our dreems  sew hi  th moon sails on in our sky  r evolushyun   last week sum top scientists sd evolushyun is ovr   is ths pessimsm statement uv fakt  wev all wayze bin ths way cant get anee bettr  garrisons  attack  safeteez  un  building  d konstrukt ing  wch is whatevr  n aftr we spent yeers memorizing it now they say we  will nevr find th link

hmmmm  as in  tracks uv moistyur on th barrington th langwage is mor how peopul speek is auto biographikul  thn idealizd lyrikul nosyuns or liesyuns tho including thos  or not offishul sets uv ordring words 4 publik proprness n th desires 4 politikul fairness can b seen 2 occur from our erotik lives as well as b undrstood by them undrmined by them  or not ther  th ship is our life  it sails 4evr  dansing at th raging club  finding th beet   sparkling rimes  no time 2 wundr wher it all goez it goez hunee dont feel bleek  whn i cum home  speek 2 th towring  nite sky ium not alone  speek 2 th dreem   eye carree on   with me  its not onlee in me   its above  below  n all around me   no words 4  bask in th heet  th floating ship

AK: A lot of your work seems to enter issues of trust, unrequited or misdirected love, cruising. Lately i’m reading this as an almost ironic or self-reflexive sense of the textual process — simulacric of relations between reader/writer or the writer and the text or even between the poems or letters themselves. And, as i read these “lettrs modaliteez organizaysyuns uv lettrs thots … of verasitee n tumult”, it’s almost like a love affair going on between them, as they are there so “konnekting ora spilling out uv each othr enrapt …” How important is this, as say a conscious trope?

bb:  being creeativ with langwage whethr wun is neurologikalee naturalee  a lyrik poet  or a metaphysikul   or narrativ linear  all genres ar intresting n fold out uv n in2 each othr  ar is  from each othr  n ar not mutualee xklusiv  they ar approaches 2 undr standing behaviour  being  with langwage thru diffrent uses uv langwages  b ing creativ is whats interesting  not onlee as in how it is or what it is reseevd  standing  undr  within  inside is it a klosd system   endlesslee opn ing leef  leevs  leef abubul  b leef abul  abul  hmmmmm   touch it   how long duz it stay  aneewher stay   stay heers th appul  n heers th tree   n heers th rivr  can we feel it  running thru all our hearts  how we reelee want lovez n safeteez    can we get bettr  2 reelee let in   acheev  what we want bhave bettr  top scientists arint  sure  evolushyun may b ovr they say  not reelee knowing  whn it startid   iuv seen twice th tunnul 2 th worlds we go 2 from heer  beautiful singing ther  they sd it wasint time 4 me  go back down bill thers mor 4 yu 2 dew  o no i thot  back in2  th erthling bodee  without th flying   n soaring xsept during sleep its not  eezee  n langwage can help us with all ths obviouslee  n th letting go uv meening  surrend ring   2 othr sounds  no genre is itself imperishabul    th auto biographikul parts  in tracks uv moistyur  see kaptin ancestreez   n  th frend ther going 2 spirit place  meditaysyuns on soliditee  feel it yes touch it  sew physikal th soul heer 4 a whil n thn we cry  we know 4 a time  n th langwage soaring with nu groupings uv words sounds ensaysyuns not based on see jack n jill run or binaree opposits   not onlee representaysyunal uses uv th words  othr wayze stretching  othr thots linking til theyrs also not othr  its  theyr  parts uv  how we ar  in th image word  sound making   in ths present time   words bodeez worn by time  surf pounding  n see washing   like th stones we find on th shore reflekting th star fish n jellee fishes in th sky places barrington is a street in halifax    cape  tormentine  th ferree crossing from nouveau brunswick 2 prins edward island in a hundrid or sew  yeers  what names will thos places speek uv  as they wer n still ar magik forests wher gluskap breethd uv th guides gods leeding enerjeez uv th micmak peopul ther th reedr will duz find obviouslee manee othr see going n land loving mystreez uv th secret words spells uv our carreeing saliva   moistyur moistyur    moist yur dreems  yr spells    th inkredibul mystereez uv watr  eye sumtimes 4get what intens yunalitee meens  eens  m  m  tom sighd leening ovr on2 jimmee whats up with that  why is it such a big deel  yeh i know letting in  in  following th guiding whisprs tonaliteez uv th skript pour ing in2 me    rathr thn direkting it  being on top uv it  n sew on th masks uv intensyunalitee   th grammar uv th subjekt acting thru th verb on2 th objekt  th imperialism uv that th delusyuns uv that  th poignansee uv that whn its in self defens  th same terribul issews uv judgmentalisms  hate groups  keep cumming up until we find guaranteed safeteez as much as that can take place  if we evolv  evreewun bcum ming accepting uv evreewun our veree grammar can make it hard 4 peopul 2 step aside from thos dangrous games   n love n help provide well being n safeteez wch laisez faire kapitalism althot it contains sum trewths cannot on its own provide or fulfil  we need mixd philosophikal ideologikul ekonomik societeez    irrefutablee it may b time 4 bizness 2 b qween king but its not a long way evree thing its not bad not wrong  not evreething   what it undrstands is not reelee applikabul 2 evreething els  n it seldom provides 4 its casualiteez  thats not its bizness  sew poetree like manee aktiviteez is totalee free 2 talk abt all these mor thn evr importanses  whethr we can get it n nowun being blamed is hard 2 say  dew i know  my gess is as gud as anee wun elsus tho  n evreewun els is also onlee gessing  nowun knows aneething 4 sure  wch 4 sum peopul makes them kindr  but onlee aftr theyv bin hurt  sumtimes being hurt makes peopul mor destruktiv in theyr behaviour  care 4 what we can  vote 4 improovd soshul taxes  its trew if our langwage wer diffrentlee konstruktid we wud bhave diffrentlee th suspens is  is th langwage  a refleksyun uv how we r konstruktid bizness xchangings  adventures  loves huge konstrukts  portabul self collektiv safeteez  soshul guaranteez all thees uplifting  we moov thru

AK: One of the things i really admire about your work is the ability to write something that can almost verge on creating a scene {“scenik narratif”}, a moment, or something that seems to make total sense – and then have that almost immediately divert or traject itself into a realm of the totally unexpected. Indeed “th homilee tablo [IS] prettee tatterd”. Can you speak a little about the relation of your textual production / process and how that relates to the notion of making “logeek” or something that can be clearly understood? And though you admirably, though cryptically address it in “4get will eye sd / n th dialektik didn’t” how does this all connect to intentionality?

bb:  innuit peopuls langwages strukturalee diffrent thn romanse n othr langwages   less binaree  less xklusyunaree   qwestyuns abt klimate nd neurolojee  n problematiks uv post industrial post elektronik definishyuns n evaluaysyuns uv produktiviteez yr qwestyuns ar sew brillyant  i dont know abt my answrs at all yu know  what can i say   th abstrakt nouns  opposits  preposisyuns   oftn like wise  up  down  etsetera   tennis match watching  may in themselves create judgmentalisms  individual hate   sew upliftment uv thees set matches  thru de konstruking set erthling grammar korrekt patterns ma terns  mewsik with words   in othr words  ovr time  th relevans uv th approaches  stragedeez  deepns   sacrumult   merging uv kours uv sacrid n tumult  sew manee peopul living by themselvs in self defens  sew manee living with othrs  in self merging  pas de deux  n melting 2 gethr  also sew beautiful    who can yu phone at 4-30   well sumtimes me  if th buzzr is on   n what els  th poetiks is in our skin  inside th creesing filings in our organik flowring brains    howevr  letting go uv th ko dependensees  n entring th endless n varreeing  varied tapestreez uv sounds   th pickshurs in th lettrs  th charaktrs   ear lier  looking like  oceans  wheet  peopul fire  elephants  sages n ages   n   n   n    n   n  n  n  looking in on th festiv b4 time was ther anee rime   charaktrs usd 2 b picktographik  what as now dew we beleev in char aktr  s   th taktilitee uv th text lokates me releesus me  cockr spaniels fill th far end uv th room  smiling n being xcellentlee atentiv he sd   well tom eye sd  lets yu n jimmee n me  take off now   see whats happning at th club   i want 2 see what els i can get in2  ths is long past th erlee stages uv th industrial revolushyun  aftr wch charaktrs wer abstrakt n standardizd in theyr gathring 2 make words whatevr  feel  th crush uv love  dansing at th raging club  finding th beet sparkling rimes   no time 2 wundr wher it all goez  it goez hunee     dont feel bleek whn i cum home   speek 2 th towring nite sky  ium not alone speek 2 th dreem  eye carree on th lost n populatid harbors  blessings in th suddn tides   carree us in2 th soulful sky  ium looking 4 th beginning uv time he sd 2 me  mooving his hand inside my leg  th soulful sky    th ship is our life it sails 4evr    scenes like ths frequentlee happend on zatria my home planet from wch iuv bin away 400 yeers ium told  see th world nowuns brain is prfekt  why all th judging  things reelee wer bettr on zatria  but ths is prette gud now tho my hed mooving btween his legs

AK: “tracks uv moistyur on the barrington” in yr rather substantial incredibly erotic yet highly political text, in scars on th seehors it starts with a rather provocative opening: “sqweemish was yelling agen if ium going 2 end/ up ths weird feeling  n th lightning fingrs sew/ skraping intruding gouging in2 my hed ovel n/ waladee  sir salad caree t wastel out in2 th/ red hedge hog  tormentine west uv th estern/ alliagate esteem was phoning th room at last/ warm n shifting indoors th eye bleetid n scabrous th lid /azura buttons…” i’m interested in the way your fiery political beliefs are often entwined within an often erotically-charged personalized document.  i see this blending as marking much of your certainly recent writing.

bb:  marvaraa  startid as an archelogikul dig  fragements uv a civilizaysyun wher evreething seemd alrite 4 evreewun in it   nowun agrees on wher it was reelee  or how long ago  how it was spelt  its sew hard 4 peopul 2 see outside uv theyr own kultural kontexts letting th pomes speek 4 themselvs uv kours n how great th sound poetree n chanting uv kours 4 lung aktivitee  air n enchantment aktivitee 4 th brain  not always frame ing  th frames themselvs bcumming 4 a time  onlee props 4 a timez sevn is th moon roll th songs in2   3 wun  manee infinitee glistnings breths  arvarra  arvaara am am avra vra verasitee n tumult th gessing games uv th infinit mirage  i was pacing th balustrade  n all th littul peopul with th big voices  n big souls  wer putting up th chess peesus on th infinit bord 4 anothr day  up th knight  up th pawn  n sew on  eye got up  tried singing sum nu  songs i was working on  evree thing remindid me uv him evreething remindid me uv him  n how it was ther in mara variaa  him gone sew not long now  my face coverd in teers   lost from th mirage uv meening

AK: How would you say your forthcoming collection, b leev abul ch ar ak trs differs from scars or say inkorrect thots?

bb:  doktor laura   say  side stepping her possibiliteez 2 talk uv love instead uv kondeming gay peopul langwage evn our binaree problemateek konstrukts can leed us 2 god goddess e s not 2 fundamentalist judging uv othrs as who is closest 2 god or what god likes best  we cant know that    tho uv kours she can b seen 2 have th rite 2 say what  evr she wants howevr dangrous her attacks on gay peopul  as th reform partee in canada changing its name 2 canadian reform allians partee  n her  doktor laura  maybe a bit krankee n nevr had a clos gay frend yet  our roads change n oftn 4 th bettr  thn realizing that spells crap  at its recent large gathring passd a nmbr uv in hous bills that sd onlee th god n state  sanktified yunyuun btween a man n a woman constitutid a familee undr th law thats not law yet  they wud have 2 get in powr n thn strip th legislaysyun uv xisting laws in favor uv gay rites  remembr th pink triangul they ar not in powr yet they have a rite 2 say what they want  but wer they 2 bcum th govrnment theyr posisyuns  as is doktor lauras ar veree detrimental 2 th human rites uv othrs  how sew manee peopul  no mattr th books mooveez  his her storeez   wars dont get us  n think thers sumthing wrong with us  being gay  ths all nevr stops  it reseeds  n returns  back until whn   whn love is mor important thn  aneething    as a specees wer not ther yet uv kours evreewun finds that veree hard 2 dew at  times   thats i  gess why th lerning n un lerning  loving th empteeness as it occurs n th re  plenishing as well  thees states ar always changing in us   re identitee n naming whats biggr thn us can b troubling  nd   blessings    in micmaak langwage  thrs no word 4 deth

a reedr wud reelee need 2 reed th whol book uv  b leev abul char ak trs  2 see feel thru  what he or she thinks it is   lives with it 2 paraphrase a whol book cud ms mistr leed th reedr  fr sure b leev a bul char ak trs  is mor abt  lettrs  n scars on th see hors  also from talonbooks who ar totalee great  is mor abt th brain tho th lettrs ar inside th brain  all ovr it  flow all around n out uv it  n covrs us oftn reveeling onlee mor as they ar peeld off  lettrs   until  thank th goddesses  we get 2 meditate n 4 a whil relax th producksyun uv beleef in whats outside us  n feel th fires n trust n love alredee th life ther  within let go n 2 answr th door  not 2  get stuk in anee wun groov  feel th  endless spirit sing wher ther is not outside n inside  we moov between genres diffrent uses uv langwages with diffrent approaches  we can follow b with thru intuishyun  practise  inspiraysyun  work  swet  lafftr  n loss temporaree also  gains n grateful 4 th  changes whats th qwestyunn agen thanks 4 asking me all thees amayzing qwestyuns

ium reelee grateful 4 thanks a lot  love yu lots

l   l  l  l   o   o    o   p  p  p  p   v   v    v   v     eeeeeee   iii    mmmmm

thers an all cumming in

feb 25.oo  toronto

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