Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

On Writing (Phonetically), with bill bissett

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bill bissett

rush: what fuckan theory; a study uv language (BookThug) by bill bissett has just been re-issued, 40 years after it was originally published. rush was a book that defined the postmodern era in Canadian poetics, revolutionary when it was first published in 1972. Still essential reading for poetry and linguistics fans, it cemented bill's role as a central figure in innovative writing.

bill speaks with Open Book about re-issuing rush, who Canadians will be reading in 40 years and what is up next for him — all in his signature, deconstructed, phonetic language. See if you can follow along!

Open Book:

Tell us about your book, rush: what fuckan theory; a study uv language.

bill bissett:

its a non didaktik book abt th complexiteez n multi levls uv theree collagist n post modernist is th writr outside n what is th inside is it reelee ther how main is th main streem n th tyrannee uv meening


This book had been out of print for upwards of 40 years. Why was it the right time for a re-issue?


Jay millar book thug greg betts n Derek belieu wanted 2


How do you feel about the labels postmodernist and avante-garde as applied to your work? Do you resist such categorization or find it helpful?


i think thees categoreez altho not absolut matrices ar v helpful evn onlee 2 indikate a shift in nuans n or epistemologial undrstandsings wayze changing 2 see th world in langwage


Tell us about a hypothetical perfect writing day.


meditaysyun small brekfast tai chi I dew 49 moovments yang style have a bath n startin on th email whats goin on with each part uv that n thn begin th writing thats a prfekt day not all dayze ar like that n thn th snail mail out dew sum bizness errands rtn go swimming n start up th writing n sew on xcellent


Who, in your opinion, are the contemporary Canadian poets who we will be reading and critiquing 40 years from now?


40 eers from now evreewun we ar all reeding now plus evreewun 2 cum


What are you working on now?


my nu book ths time not a novel iuv recentlee compleetid 2 novel cyculs novel n hungree throat I thot iud maybe b writing another novel but th book ium working on now is a nu book uv pomes

bill bissett opened Canadian poetry to postmodernism and from there proceeded in every direction all at once. Since his invention of the blewointment press in 1963, bissett has worked diligently to explode all boundaries of author, text and context, radically disrupting static and disciplinary modes of art making. Read, taught, studied and imitated all around the world, he now lives in Toronto, painting and writing somewhere between painting and poetry.

For more information about rush: what fuckan theory; a study uv language please visit the BookThug website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Check out all the On Writing interviews in our archives.

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