Gazette, Anthony Hassett
Pages: 78 - Color
Paperback: ISBN 978-1-937487-62-1 eBook: ISBN 978-1-937487-61-4
The accordion style pages of Anthony Hassett’s travel albums are hand-drawn, colored, and glazed works of art -- at once visual poems and illustrated critiques: letters of love and condemnation culled from a constant abysmal penitence. Hassett has traveled, lived, written and drawn his poems and images in forty countries, occasionally stopping to exhibit his books in cities like Berlin, Buenos Aires and New York. A Naropa Institute dropout, Hassett has studied with William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, whose refined and incomprehensible insults continue to inspire his own dream to produce his own degree of oblivion, or minor literature, or both. When in the United States, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hassett’s life has been an unceasing and courageous half-century of philosophical inquiry, civil disobedience, defiance of existing socio-political structures, flagrant rebellion, and pursuit of the Real, of which this -- Gazette, his first in a series of forthcoming volumes -- can attest. It is a fine and significant addition to the art of poetry.
Of Anthony Hassett’s multiple incessant genius, he is best known in small quiet circles abroad for his humor, and known domestically for his oft-times caustic critiques in various art magazines. That of the poet, the painter, the cultural and political journalist, the philosopher, can be glimpsed for the first time in this dynamic volume that is at once boldly public and profoundly personal, and that combines Hassett’s powerful poetic voice with his equally powerful renderer’s hand. As an “angel-headed” adolescent, Hassett was among the first disciples of the Beats: the mid-century writers and artists whose work shared themes of spirituality, environmental awareness, and political dissidence. He left Venice Beach at the age of fifteen with his thumb pointing skyward. By the time he reached the classrooms of William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Hassett’s early life was already one of uncompromised nonconformity, intentional obscurity, and above all, radiant poetry. His life continues to embody Marcuse’ “Great Refusal”, and has found him variously in jail cells with infamous political dissidents; in the salons of Nepalese poets and photographers; deported from Morocco; arrested in Athens; in detention by British military in caves beneath the Rock of Gibraltar; at dinner tables with famed writers and filmmakers in Rome, Paris, Istanbul, NY, and LA; and on the sofas of Sandinistas, Chavistas, Panthers, and Weather Underground; at a porn theatre on Christmas Eve in New Jersey; in Copacabana, Bolivia on the Day of the Dead; in riots in Chile; at Marxist-Lacanian conferences in Berlin; in confinement in Frankfurt during the Chernobyl meltdown; in Beijing and Stockholm with Kung-Fu masters; at tango parlors in Buenos Aires; at temples in India; in Tahrir Square with a million Egyptians.
Words And Wanderings With Anthony Hassett
APRIL 3, 2017 – Riot Material
by Dahr Jamail
On Saturday, January 21st, 2017, Tony welcomed me into he and Erin’s warm home. Greeting me at the door with a big hug and smile, Tony, despite his ongoing lengthy battle with cancer, was his usual self: cracking gallows humour jokes about his health, about the newly inaugurated President Trump, the cop-rotten planet, and so much more.
We went out to breakfast, as though it were old times. I’d spent much time in Santa Fe a couple of summers years before, during which one of the highlights was also getting to go share coffee, breakfast, talk, and joking with Tony, and sometimes Erin. After breakfast, Tony took me to his show. I felt honoured and privileged, and carried those feelings alongside sadness, knowing this was in all likelihood the last of his shows I would get to see, and certainly the last I’d get to see with him giving me a personal showing. I savoured every moment, oftentimes standing shoulder to shoulder with him while looking at a particular piece.
While viewing his sublime collection, I began asking him to tell me more about particular pieces. Being acutely aware of the aforementioned, I decided to take out my camera and begin taping his comments, as well as snapping photos of much of his work for my personal album. Here are these now very precious clips of Tony discussing his work: