billy cancel’s new book of poetry, MOCK TROUGH RASPING CROW arrives with a giant bang! He is our era’s John Donne, doused with the spittle of Mark E. Smith, while he dances to Captain Beefheart. Cancel’s poems are rich & sophisticated, blending the guttural & surreal with a delicacy that knocks me out every time I read him or see him perform. Open this book, read it, & be transformed.
- Todd Colby
“i have to start / everywhere” as only the best poets can have it! I have been a huge fan of billy cancel’s poetry for years & this book is long overdue, but here, finally, to get us right by spirit in the magical sluice through this fucked, harried but beautiful world! Get reading this NOW!
- CA Conrad
In Billy Cancel’s dense phantasmagoric psychoscapes one should always expect the unexpected: “crows fly backward,” the “sky [is] full of / gizmos,” and “lush datafication has / neither been requested nor shall be well / received.” These hard-hitting, high-energy lyrics feature everything from “retro sci-fi aesthetic cobwebs” to a “big-wow-painted-dome-disaster-show.” This is to say that Mock Trough Rasping Crow portrays with startling precision the feel of navigating the continuous onslaught that is our contemporary reality, which would be deliciously absurd if it weren’t so disturbingly dystopian. Cancel aggregates with considerable force an ingenious combination of phrases, lexicons, and speech registers; hot and smoldering, his 20-line poems are like fragments of Parnassus after it has exploded.
- Michael Leong
Frenetic, goat-punk-nimble & friskily absurd, MOCK TROUGH RASPING CROW confirms billy cancel as one of poetry’s most original talents.
This collection is a dazzling & jolting pleasure.
- Jane Ormerod, poet/performer, founding editor of great weather for MEDIA
Reading MOCK TROUGH RASPING CROW I was captivated in much the same way as when I watched billy cancel perform, though the masks & at times flamboyant costumes were missing I was caught up in the language, dark humor, magic & surreal screwball imagery. This is 1 of those rare instances where performance poetry transfer perfectly from page to stage & vice-versa so “don’t let your attention wander” as cancel puts it, MTRC is about “everything at once / or something all the time.” Grab it, crack it open & try, if you dare, to figure it out.
- Steve Dalachinsky