inkorrect thots


136 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88922-303-3
DDC C811'.54





Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is an English professor at Laurentian University.


As bissett explains in the title poem of this illustrated volume,
“inkorrect thots” lurk in language, in the spaces among words and
sounds, and “there is no control ovr / what is not being xpressed.”
The book, similar to bissett’s earlier work, is an invitation to get
involved in the free spaces that it creates. These spaces flourish in a
variety of ways: for instance, in the fun bissett has with spelling—a
combination of minimalism, satire on orthography, and a representation
of talk (a meeting with a waitress in “it tuk 80 milyun”: “I sd 2
her as she / brout a filet / uv sole n a ginger / ale ths humiditee / is
fritning.” “Brout,” not “brot”). The spelling contributes to
bissett’s persona of a wonderstruck, often naive person, marveling
either at how good or how bad things can be. The poet also achieves
flexibility with regard to traditional categories and hierarchies as his
writing leans now toward concrete poetry, now toward pure sound. Traces
of bissett’s “readings,” as he calls them, which are also musical
performances and chanting ceremonies, are evident in the poems that
repeat a word or phrase, giving the effect of dissolving one’s usual
sense of logical connection with meanings, and releasing the reader into
a realm differently configured. The line drawings accompanying the
poems, which are poems themselves, also push at the margins of ordinary
perceptions, opening up new ways to see. Often the seeing is seeing
through things, pictured in ways some Native artists do. Complementing
the book’s graphic images is a strong element of autobiographical
detail; some poems start as journal entries, apparently, then evolve
into various liberating motions for the reader.


bissett, bill., “inkorrect thots,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,