The Last French-Fried Potato and Other Poems

Emmett Williams

A short but potent collection of poems by Williams, a central player in Fluxus and the Concrete poetry movement and one of the editors of the Great Bear series. The titular work—subtitled “the ultimate poem”and improvised around the eating of french fries—was originally performed with Robert Filliou in 1964. The six poems herein are characterized on the whole by compulsive flows of language, with short, piston-like lines carrying out obsessive serial modulations to create a perpetually unresolved momentum.

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.

5 x 8 inches
16 pages
December 2007

Managing Editor: James Hoff