Great Bear Pamphlet Series: A Filliou Sampler, Robert Filliou, Primary Information, 2007, 12.7 x 20.32 cm, 16 pages, PB
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The centerpiece of this collection of short works by Filliou is “Yes (An Action Poem),” a performance work involving an extended anatomical analysis of the “adult male poet” (originally performed in collaboration with Alison Knowles and Philip Corner). Also included are several short “plays,” a poem for Emmett Williams and Daniel Spoerri, and a performance work entitled “Five Ways to Prepare for a Space Trip,” all dated 1958-1964.

Originally published by Something Else Press between 1965 and 1967, the Great Bear Pamphlet series was envisioned by founding editor Dick Higgins as a “poor man’s keys to the new art,” or a means of exposing the most vital work of the time to a mass-market audience, and vice versa. The series made uncompromisingly radical work maximally accessible, with slim, chapbook-like publications of a mostly uniform, pared down design. Taken together, the pamphlets constitute a firsthand survey of the sixties avant-garde (Higgins, Barbara Moore, and Emmett Williams all had a hand in the editorial process) that is both sweeping and utterly unique, transmitting a still-vibrant signal of expanded possibility in art, music, and poetry. Presented here in a facsimile edition, the Great Bears epitomize the utopian vision of Higgins and Something Else.

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