bill bissett: Essays on His Works


134 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-55071-163-6
DDC C811'.54





Edited by Linda Rogers
Reviewed by Thomas M.F. Gerry

Thomas M.F. Gerry is chair of the English Department at Laurentian
University and the editor of Arachne, Laurentian University’s
bilingual interdisciplinary journal of language and literature.


bill bissett is one of the most thorough boundary-dissolvers since
William Blake or Walt Whitman. As Scott Watson, one of the contributors
to this volume puts it, bissett’s art “asserts that the point of
view of consciousness from which art is made is the soul not the ego.”

bissett truly is a shape-shifter, so the challenges involved in
bringing some scholarly analysis to bear on his paintings, music,
drawings, and writings are enormous. Editor Linda Rogers, who sees the
contributions to this collection metaphorically as a family affair,
attempts “to define a brother for whom brotherhood is the desideratum
behind every brush stroke or utterance.”

Each of the collection’s eight selections, whether an essay, a
personal reminiscence, or an interview, conveys a powerful sense of
bissett and the effects of his works. The book’s so-called scholarly
apparatus—a brief biography and a bibliography—was prepared by
bissett himself. He observes in the biography that “its hard 2
separate biographee from bibliographee,” but he tries. Suffice it to
say that the bibliography does not adhere to the MLA Handbook’s

bill bissett: Essays on His Works is a most useful introduction to this
important Canadian artist—one that succeeds in capturing his energy
and intoxicating sense of freedom and fun.


“bill bissett: Essays on His Works,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024,