bill bissett spektacular tribute

In November 2006, we presented th spektacular tribute 2 the brilliant bill bissett dansing in a hurricane uv stars, an extravagant multi-media tribute to Canadian icon, bill bissett!

There were 2 events, featuring bill bissett, Christian Bök, Seth-Adrian Harris, Adeena Karasick, Steve McCaffery, Susan Musgrave, Jamie Reid, Linda Rogers and Sheri-D Wilson, performing tribute poems to bissett and excerpts of their own work. There was also a guerilla postering campaign, in which bissett’s famous poem, “inkorrect thots”, was plastered in inkorrect places across Calgary and internationally, and a special bill bissett blog where bissett was able to share his thoughts and dialogue with the general public.

The Main Event

th impossibul tribut 2 th brillyant bill bissett dansing in a hurricane uv stars, a multimedia presentation with Spoken Word Poetry performances, music, slides/video/flash. Spoken Word Artists who have written pieces about (or influenced by) bill bissett read their works to the music of a jazz trio. bill bissett also presented a reading of his work. The entire night was punctuated by projections of bill bissett’s visual poems, videos (of bill bissett and also video tributes), paintings, and book covers animated with flash. And, of course, photos of bill bissett in the various incarnations of his diverse life.

The Reading

The night following The Main Event we had several of the poets read from their own work: Adeena Karasick, Patrick Lane, Steve McCaffery, Linda Rogers.

The Street Event

Agitprop Activities, inkorrect thots n Calgaree hot spots, was a local, national and international two-month poetry campaign, to promote bill bissett and literacy in general.

Vancouver Poet and Activist Jamie Reid conceived the original idea behind this project, and gave us his blessings to proceed and to embellish. In the original project, Reid approached the members of the mailsnail email list and other poets to conduct a national and international poster campaign to promote the ideas in bill bissett’s poem, “inkorrect thots.”  They all printed the poem on 11”x17” posters and posted them in visible, public places in their respective cities.  Please find attached the original e-mail sent by Jamie Reid and check out the blog at Unfortunately, the idea did not reach the mass distribution Reid had envisioned, so this would be an opportunity to bring this xcellent idea to fruition.

In August we sent out 50 posters of inkorrect thots to eleven cities in Canada (Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver), United States (New York City), Europe (Edinburgh,  Paris, Amsterdam), and Africa (Durban), 550 posters in total.  This was a perfect opportunity to utilize the potential created by forming SWAN (Spoken Word Arts Network).  So, we sent the posters out to be hung at visible locations in the various cities, and asked the organizers to take pictures to send back for the Blog.

The Blog: beautiful bill bissett blog

bill bissett arrived one week before The Main Event, to (1) write his daily Blog, (2) go around town with video cameras in search of his poster/poems and (3) finalize the footage for the DVD.  As we trailed him around the city, we asked him questions about his personal history, his history as a Spoken Word Artist in Canada, and the history of the oral tradition.  This footage will be available on the Blog, along with his writings, for the general public to view/read and respond to.  This footage will also be used on the DVD which the society is hoping to develop in cooperation with The Banff Centre for the Arts (Spoken Word Pilot Program) in 2007.  Having bill bissett in Calgary a week before the event will make it possible for him to assist with the final edits of the DVD for The Main Event.

bill bissett

bill bissett is a deeply influential and important figure in the Spoken Word genre. His long career has spanned almost half a century and he has inspired three generations of Spoken Word Artists who have followed in the footsteps he carved, not only in their poetics but also in their perspective of the world. We feel it is very important to closely track and develop a strong historical context for Spoken Word Artists like him so the emerging voices will have an opportunity to learn the roots of their form.