TH Influenza UV Logik

by Bill Bissett,
ISBN: 0889223572

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Brief Reviews
by Judith Fitzgerald

bill bissett is well-known as this country's most successful linguistic innovator (morphologically speaking). In th influenza uv logik (Talonbooks

144 pages, $14.95 paper), he offers readers a view from the depths; and, although his trademark spellography occasionally interferes with a poem's force and momentum, his medium perfectly suits the message conveys (and delivers a decided breath of fresh ear).

Mr. bissett's work-unmistakably his-concerns itself primarily with the presentation of content in its contextual visual form; hence, "second floor elevator A goin up now" provides a graphic illustration of mass leaving motion in ascension and concludes with a cautionary "watch / yr step."

An important book, th influenza uv logik cuts a wide swath through philosophy, the value/validity of history, and political entropy, a state best described as post-corruptive, deftly captured in "ther was an evil prime minister".

In drawings and poems, bissett eloquently develops an argument against the ubiquitous proliferation of "logik" (or reason) at the expense of love (or passion); in so doing, he aligns himself with that heady tradition of several centuries similarly occupied with the location and creation of balance in life and art-from the Greeks through the French to the British-succinctly summarized by Pascal: "Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point."

In so-called postmodern terms, bissett most acutely and obviously echoes the British poet and painter David Jones, best-known as the author of The Anathemata. In 1962, Mr. Jones delivered a BBC address, "Use and Sign", wherein he argued for gratuity (love, art, the sacral) despite the writing on the utterly pragmatic (or reasonable) wall.

bissett puts his own inimitable spin on the increasingly important issue-perhaps the only issue-facing desensitized, demoralized, and technologized occupants of this global village:

whats logik isint it a sickness we create useful 4 certain

things not paramount in helping us b n share n change angels

ar rising in spirit places helping us thru set against a back

drop uv deths torturs imprisonmentz AIDS big religyus rite

wing powr control grabs storee pomes unroyal familias lyrik

intens layering inkreesing povrtee growing undr klass

hierarkikul construkts elektid or not try 2 dislodge shifting

propaganda fryksyuns empires koloneez whos on top.

("bak-cuvr pome")

He manages to disentangle reality from the notion that reality exists, in a series of rhythmically driven texts fuelled by an extraordinary ability to finesse the mundane and the miraculous in compellingly pleasing proportion, most notably in "medicine" and "metropolis", and in "memoreez / uv that / hous", a poem that resolves itself in a flourish of eerily beautiful humility, with the emotional thrust of a guy coming to excruciatingly honest terms with the devastating effects of love (lost).

In sum, this is a sumptuous and satisfying sampling of beautifully crafted work.

Judith Fitzgerald


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