Special Collections

bill bissett

bill bisset
Nobody Owns the Earth

bill bissett Special Collection
Born in Halifax in 1939 and now living in Toronto and Vancouver, bill bissett is a unique figure in the history of Canadian literature and art. Bissett is the author of over 60 books of poetry and the founder of blewointment press, which published the early work of many experimental poets, including Maxine Gadd, Lionel Kearns, D. A. Levy, and bpNichol. He is also a visual artist and was the subject of a 1984 solo exhibition, Fires in th tempul, at the Vancouver Art Gallery curated by Scott Watson. A renegade poet and free-spirited artist who contributed to changing the landscape of Canadian poetry in the 60s and 70s, bissett’s musical and visual approach to language continues to influence poets to this day.

The bill bissett special collection comprises over 100 items, including the following:

  • monographs of bill bissett’s work, including many outstanding examples of concrete poetry
  • issues of blewointment magazine ranging from 1963-73, featuring contributions from bissett and other Canadian poets including Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje
  • miscellaneous serials containing bissett’s work, including a 1984 issue of The Capilano Review with a 33 1/3 rpm vinyl sound recording featuring a piece by bissett
  • blewointment monographs by other poets, including D. A. Levy, Carolyn Zonailo, Cathy Ford, bpNichol and Robert Zend

Many of the items in this collection were produced in limited editions and resemble chapbooks and zines in their use of creative printing techniques, mixed media illustration, and unique art and ephemera inserts. For researchers of bissett’s poetry and artwork, concrete poetry, the history of British Columbia publishing, and small press publishing in Canada, the bill bissett collection is a unique resource.

To find records for the items in this collection, search the Library Catalogue


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