I was fortunate enough to meet Martin Parker for the first time at Strokestown this year. As the only two humorous poets to stay for the serious part of the festival, we spent a lot of time in the bar, sorry, in the auditoriums, together and I quickly got to fall in with his deadpan dark humour.
Martin is one of the best exponents of comic verse currently plying his trade in these islands. A true wordsmith, he has an ear for the perfect rhyme and also for the perfectly contrived rhyme, which is a most underrated part of the comic poet's armoury.
His latest volume, No Longer Bjored - see side panel for details - demonstrates this to its fullest. It is brim full of comic masterpieces but the rhyming is to die for - to be ill in / penicillin, pacy / precis, spouse-trap / mousetrap - etc etc.
But the book is more than clever rhyming. There is unexpected pathos in there too and a way of looking at things and events in a completely cut-the-crap way. From the joy of pastry to the Joyce Grenfell-esque Don't Do That, I can sincerely say every page is a joy.
And its only £4!! The perfect stocking filler.