The new issue of the always enjoyable Blackbox Manifold was just launched. It features work by Billy Cancel, Rick Crilly, Josh Ekroy, Michael Farrell, Joanna Grigg, Bernard Henrie, Joan Harvey, David Herd, Beau Hopkins, Drew Milne & John Kinsella (together), Peter Larkin, Robert Mueller, Sandeep Parmar, Peter Riley, Jennifer Scappettone, Kerrin P. Sharpe, Nathan Thompson, Corey Wakeling, Duncan White and Rachel Zolf; accompanied by a fine essay by Sam Ladkin on Frank O’Hara, and a review of John Matthias by Adam Piette.
I’m particularly enjoying the half dozen poems by Billy Cancel. There’s a great sense of relentless energy in his dense, heavily textured, and stress-laden language. Here’s a short piece from the issue:
this is milk hill that was ragged annex
chronological now through apple-scab
mandate hunting then gathering about
dark blue black green miles of slip cover
you guessed those distressed signals didn’t
come from syrup table but from steep
black cliff face tiny blue light climbing
but drinking with thoroughbreds helps me
forget am blue capsule on black red
capsule on grey please excuse the pencil
i have to start everywhere rosewater sloshes
about the iron lung what the hell was your
status level pre-|robbery? am pink capsule
on wood wooden capsule in the king’s head
no one remembers us a shadow leads a figure
around the old phosphate plant busy night for
rescue services am blue capsule on black
red capsule on grey
i have to start
I read with Billy last month in Brooklyn for the launch of the latest issue of Infinity’s Kitchen, “a graphic literary journal of experimental literature and conceptual writing.” I can safely say that Billy certainly does justice to his texts in performance. But if you can’t see him read live, the next best thing is to read him online.
Michael Leong is the author of the poetry books e.s.p., Cutting Time with a Knife, Who Unfolded My Origami Brain?, and Words on Edge. His creative work has been anthologized in THE &NOW AWARDS 2: The Best Innovative Writing, Best American Experimental Writing 2018, and Bettering American Poetry, Volume 3. His co-translation, with Ignacio Infante, of Vicente Huidobro’s long poem Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven is forthcoming from co•im•press in late 2019. His critical monograph Contested Records: The Turn to Documents in Contemporary North American Poetry is forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press in May 2020. He has received grants from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts.