BILLY CANCEL IN CONVERSATION WITH THOMAS FUCALORO
Billy Cancel has recently appeared in The Other Side of Violet (great weather for MEDIA, 2017), Pouch, Boston Review, and Skidrow Penthouse. His books include PSYCHO’CLOCK (Hidden House Press, 2016) and the forthcoming MOCK TROUGH RASPING CROW (BlazeVOX, 2018) . Billy Cancel is half of the noise duo Tidal Channel. He lives in Brooklyn.
Thomas Fucaloro: Your poem, "neigh-on-baltic here in land of twang" almost feels schizophrenic in its approach. Is that deliberate? Is that how you engage all your work?
Billy Cancel: Yes, it's how most of the work seems to go. I call my poems "volatile micro-climates" or "gazing out at the world through a maxed-out photoshop correction tool." There's a load of schizoid internal logic, the establishing & breaking of rhythms, jagged ideas stacked up unstably, that stuff. The poem is part of a sequence Jerkswater-Strobelight Honey-Bizarro-Calamity-Howler which goes there & stays.
TF: "Replace distance with a notion of range," is a powerful line, can you speak upon its genesis? How does it relate to the rest of the poem?
BC: It's the poem's equator line & means a number of things, the 2 alternating perceptions between an individual & their direct relation with space - i.e. something to be contained within or something to overcome. It came about because I get quite annoyed by "general advice" like "if you feel like that / just do the opposite / of what you feel" so I tried to think up an extreme, cool 'n' interesting variation.
TF: You often perform "in costume" now (for lack of a better term). Does that free up your performance? Is it another way in for you?
BC: Certainly is, there's a lot of disparate voices & images flying about my work so it's useful not to have them inadvertently grounded by my "day face." It also knocks things out of joint immediately, the old derangement of the senses & helps create a good space for the poems. Lastly the preparation & planning helps keep me hyped & as an aside I'm a big fan of PBS so I try to keep costumes & props a bit PBS.
TF: I know this is a bit of a loaded question but when you see the state of poetry today, how do you find your place in it?
BC: Loaded for bear! I think the state of poetry itself is good today. My complaints about it probably mirror my complaints in dealing with organizations, collected bodies etc in the wider world so I tend to focus on the positives. I'm grateful to live, write & perform in New York where I tend to intersect a number of scenes & allies & new reinvigorating friends when things are getting lean. What I would think of it if I lived detached from all these nebulous energies in Snake's Navel Idaho or Medical Lake, Washington? Absolutely no idea.
TF: What's next for you?
BC: My collection MOCK TROUGH RASPING CROW is out January 17th on BlazeVOX. Tidal Channel (my noise-poetry project with Thursday Fernworthy of Lauds) shall be releasing a new EP "Cameo Boneyard" & will be doing some shows & looking to tour again. This Summer we also did 2 noise-performances of our piece "Upon A Wooden Horse In Rode Headless Multi-" at Widow Jane Mine, near Kingston which we're looking to develop into an extended work. Otherwise I have some new poems & art work appearing in some journals this Autumn. I'm also looking to seriously develop my performance ideas, draft up some art installation proposals & basically just write.
Billy Cancel's poem "neigh-on-baltic here in land of twang" can be found in The Other Side of Violet (great weather for MEDIA, 2017).
Poetry and prose submissions for great weather for MEDIA anthologies are open October 15 to January 15.