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On the Cusp of Greatness

by Mark Waddell

'Everyone raised their drinks and shouted *me too*.'

Irreverent, often funny and always surprising, On the Cusp of Greatness is Mark Waddell’s first collection of poetry – filled with lively, spiky writing that seems to have just walked off the stage, accompanied by the author’s own ‘hare-brained’ illustrations.

Sticking two mischievous fingers up to power and the way things are ‘supposed to be’, Mark tackles space travel and sellotape with a motion of his pen, arctic blizzards and suicidal possums with another, whilst generally waving the flag for pleasure and all that is good in the world.

Readers will learn of the redemptive power of flight, why three is the ideal number of Bob Marleys to have in your kitchen, but also why these days, the narrator feels sick ‘just looking at’ a particular type of crisp. This will be the most fun you’ve had with thirty-five pieces of paper in years.

‘Amazing writing. Just mind-blowing.’
RJ Ellory

‘Irreverent and sophisticated humour’
Jeremy Page

‘Cuts to the chase like Bukowski’
Stephen Jones

‘If the world were full of Mark Waddells, it would definitely be a happier place.’
Ariane Sherine, The Huffington Post

‘Mark Waddell is a poet who makes people glad to be alive, while waking them up to their own absurdity.’
– Susannah Herbert, National Poetry Day


More at home in a bar than a library, Mark Waddell is a new breed of comedy-poet-libertine for a modern generation, who often takes to the stage mixing cocktails of music and words. He is also the man behind the street signs that are part of London’s Kentish Town landscape, keeping passers-by intrigued and tickled pink. Non-Kentish Towners can follow the signs on Instagram here.

His collections with Valley Press include On the Cusp of Greatness (2016) and Particles of Wonder (2021). His poems have also appeared in anthologies, including Tell Me the Truth About Life: A National Poetry Day Anthology curated by Cerys Matthews, where he found himself sandwiched between Maya Angelou, Leonard Cohen, Sylvia Plath and William Shakespeare.


Edition: Paperback

Date Published: 2016-04-28

ISBN: 9781908853646

Catalogue Number: VP0081

Number of Pages: 70

Cover design by Jamie McGarry

Cover photograph by the author

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