Shifter’s 13th issue focuses on the importance and impact of this philosopher, who, though unknown, seems to have been one of the most important thinkers of the late 20th and early 21st century. Belissop’s thought has been instrumental in changing the entire terrain of intellectual, artistic and activist practice over the past seven decades of her immense production. Her revolutionary work in activist “interventionism,” and her Marxist, materialist commitment never seemed to conflict with her important contribution to experimental poetry. Her philosophical treatises managed to comfortably accommodate both psychoanalysis and neuro-psychology while simultaneously problematizing both disciplines. Her expertise and influence in so many varied disciplines made her something of an Aristotle of our age. Of course, like Aristotle, she was not right in everything she said, but that she said it made so much of our own work possible.
Belissop was an untimely thinker – indeed a thinker whose true time has not come and perhaps never will. We are using this occasion as an opportunity to reflect on critical practice at the present time. The invention of Belissop (and her inventiveness) gives us the opportunity to explore concepts that have yet to be named or written, to test out ideas, to question the history of critical theory that has swept all fields of practice, to engage in a dialog with someone so capacious, so brilliant, that they could never really exist.
In this issue we present aphorisms, essays, interviews, letters of friendship and admiration, poems and artwork that grow out of the possibilities opened by her analyses. The aim of the issue is simply to continue Belissop’s legacy – to explore the multifaceted themes that her work touches on and helps animate within our own lives.