For 52 weeks, bill bissett and Carol Malyon met for brunch and conversation at the Golden Griddle in Toronto.
This sustained conversational encounter between Carol Malyon, who writes within the objective bounds of standard English usage, and bill bissett, one of contemporary writing’s most exotic practitioners, working with the visual forms of language in his own non-hierarchic, phonetic orthography, produces, as if by accident, invariably astonishing social, moral and ethical critical insights. Each of these writers’ particular uses of language?the most radically different in contemporary literature?consistently foregrounds and interrogates the cultural origins of ?common” perceptions that too often remain hidden and undiscovered in the dictionaries we search for ?common” meaning: proof positive that each person’s perception of life’s most fundamental questions and answers is almost never shared, and is always and only ever subject to translation, even among those who ?share” the same language.
Here is what they talked about:
Trouble and the Self
What is Forever
Does Belonging Exist
Luck and Life
We Need Not Hold Our Experiences Against Life
Is There a Script
The Role of Mysteries in People’s Lives
Free Will and Wider Wiring
God &/or the Loved One and Individual Freedom
Mortality and the Jigsaw Puzzle of Replicating a Parent in a Lover
Why ?Shoulds” are No Good
The Chemistry Metaphor
Censorship and Propaganda
Fact or Fiction?Where’s the Line
Do We Invent Everything We Go Through
Is Rationality a Costume
Can We Influence Larger Book Sales
Maybe We All Want to Move to Sweden
Just for Today I’m Confused About Religion
Carol, What Is It
Know Thyself and the Writer’s Delusions
Wondering What about the Stars and Our Friends
Childhood Versus Later On
Real Life?Does it Really Exist
All Those Prayers?Where are They Going, Exactly
Time and Relativity
Each Day We Wake Up and Realize They’ve Given Us Another Day
Everything is Answered
The Questions in Our Lives?the Balance, and What’s Peripheral
Dogs Give Unconditional Love, Why Can’t People
Carol Malyon is the author of four novels, a collection of short fiction and several books of poetry. Her first short story collection, The Edge of the World (1991) was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book of Fiction, and her novel If I Knew I’d Tell You (1995) was short-listed for the SmithBooks / Books in Canada First Novel Award.
bill bissett’s charged readings, which never fail to amaze his audiences, incorporate sound poetry, chanting and singing, the verve of which is only matched by his prolific writing career?over 70 books of bissett’s poetry have been published. Whether paying tribute to his hometown lunaria or exercising his native tongue dissent, bissett continues to dance upon the cutting edge of poetics and performance works.
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.
derek beaulieu is the author 9 books of poetry and conceptual fiction, editor of the acclaimed small presses housepress and No Press and co-editor of Writing Surfaces: the Selected Fiction of John Riddell (2013). He is an instructor at Mount Royal University and the Alberta College of Art + Design. beaulieu's Seen of the Crime: Essays on Conceptual Writing was published in 2011.
Gregory Betts is the Director of Canadian Studies and the Graduate Program Director of Canadian and American Studies at Brock University. He is the author of five books of poetry, and the editor of four books of experimental Canadian writing. His monograph Avant-Garde Canadian Literature: The Early Manifestations is forthcoming from the University of Toronto Press.