One man’s laugh is another man’s groan. Not everybody likes Ogden Nash (though I do). Not everybody rolls about at Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales (though I do). T S Eliot’s cats never got half the publicity of ‘The Waste Land’ and Ruth Pitter’s case for The Comic Muse has never really been heard.

Anyway, this week the first two HappenStance Po-Lites are nearly ready to hit the streets.

I think Martin Parker’s No Longer Bjored and Graham Austin’s Fuelling Speculation are a delight. Each of these gentlemen has what creative writing courses call a ‘distinctive voice’. I mean, they really do. The forms in which they write may be familiar (though not always) but the voice behind them is unique.

I knew I was going to publish Graham Austin, if he would let me, when I found myself chortling out loud in the conservatory and looking for someeone to read aloud to. When you feel it’s so funny you’ve got to share it, you’re onto a winner. As for Martin Parker, his Sampler has already entertained many readers: here’s some more of him. You simply have to read ‘The joy of pastry’!

Of course you may not agree. Humour is one of the most difficult things in the world to share. When I brought out Unsuitable Companions some years ago, the poem one person picked out as ‘hilarious’ was the one another reader thought totally tasteless.

So I guess you’re going to have to read these to find out. At least there’s something here you could buy someone who is NOT a poet for Christmas. . . .


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